18 March 2016

Mustang lexicon you should know

Like other groups that share a passion, Mustang enthusiasts have their own vocabulary. Here’s a small sample of the lexicon you may hear from other owners.

  • Boss: The Boss 302 was introduced in 1969 to homologate the 302 cid Hi-Po engine for SCCA Trans-Am racing. The nameplate was revived in 2012.

  • Boss 9: The Boss 429, or as enthusiasts say, “the Boss 9” was introduced in 1969 to homologate the 429-cid canted-valve engine for NASCAR racing.

  • Cleveland V-8: In production in 1970-74, this 351-ci powerhouse was a high-performance engine in Ford’s stable. Its canted-valve cylinder heads were favored by performance enthusiasts.

  • Cobra Jet: The Cobra Jet was a high-performance 428-cid Mustang engine introduced for 1968. Championed by car dealer Bob Tasca, it helped make Mustang competitive with other pony cars of the era.

  • Detroit Locker: An automatic locking differential that delivers torque equally to both rear wheels in straight-line driving. It unlocks in turns. Note: Not to be confused with the foul-smelling cabinets in the area where the Detroit Lions dress for games.

  • GT: Historically, it meant Gran Turismo in Italian or Grand Touring in English, although in Mustang-speak it’s a high-performance model designation that simply means good times. Retired in 1969, it reappeared in 1982.

  • K-Code: Ordering a 1965-67 Mustang with a K-code 289-cid engine got you a 271-horsepower pony.  To make sure everyone knew, you also got a “High Performance 289” badge on the fender.

  • Mach 1: Another Mustang high-performance designation that signaled high velocities, it was a step above the GT and available from 1969 to 1978.

  • Pony: 1. Yet another synonym for Mustang. 2. Pony cars are a class of sporty mid-sized cars inspired by the original Mustang. Camaro is a pony car, but it’s not a pony. A Shetland is a pony, but it’s not a car

  • Shelby: 1. Shelby Mustangs are ultra high performance variants of the model, built by Carroll Shelby in 1965-68 and by Ford in later years. The first version produced 306 horsepower with a hopped up version of the K-Code 289-cid V-8. The 1966 version wasn’t branded Mustang; it was simply the Shelby GT 350. The 2016 Shelby GT generates 627 horsepower. Warning: Don’t get confused by the brand of chili marketed under the same name.

  • SVO: The Mustang SVO was produced in limited numbers in 1984-86. Its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder developed 205 horsepower in its most potent form. Suspension mods made it an entertaining drive. Trivia alert: It’s also the code for Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International airport.

  • T-5: The code name for the original Mustang development project. It was also the badge for the horse with no name — the German version of the Ford Mustang. (And it’s one version of a five-speed manual transmission.)

  • T-56: Six-speed manual transmission originally manufactured by BorgWarner, now by Tremec.

  • Toploader: The toploader was a Ford manual transmission that was introduced in 1964 and in use until 1973.

  • Windsor V-8: Introduced in 1961, this moderate-performance V-8 engine was used in midsize and compact Ford cars until 1996. It had conventional inline-valve cylinder heads.

5 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Darren Goodlin Mascoutah IL March 21, 2016 at 08:36
    Drag Pack - Name given to an option package in 1969-70 Mustang when either a 428 CJ engine was ordered with a 3.91(V) or 4.30 (W) rear axle ratio (Code). The drag pack option came with the 428 Super Cobra Jet Engine, staggered rear shocks, engine oil cooler mounted behind the front grill on the driver's side and a few other specialty performance items.
  • 2
    bob mayo proctorville ohio April 4, 2016 at 17:22
    R CODE LETTER IN THE VIN OF THE 68 COBRA JET DESIGNATING RAM AIR
  • 3
    Brian Smith Wilmington, DE April 4, 2016 at 12:35
    "Pony" is also the nickname for the deluxe interior package that included things like a wood-grained steering wheel, some other wood-grained trim, different interior door handles and an upholstery package that was sometimes two-toned and had impressions of a running horse in the back seat.
  • 4
    Dean Colwell MI April 4, 2016 at 12:45
    Forgot the "S" Code the first year of the big block. 390s first appeared in '67 before the Boss and Cobra.
  • 5
    Walter Sullivan Carson City, NV April 17, 2016 at 17:45
    Bullitt- A 1968 Mustang GT with a 390 cu.in. engine 4 speed transmission and other improvements in Highland green. Steve McQueen, as a San Francisco detective, used this Mustang as his car in one of the cinema's most exciting car chases. Ford also built Mustang Bullitt's in 2001 and 2008.

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