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.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: Risk and reward at the 2016 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet
Your daily pit stop for automotive news.

Sign up to receive our Daily Driver newsletter

Subject to Hagerty's Privacy Policy and Terms of Conditions

Thanks for signing up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *