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Ford’s first attempt at tapping movie-car nostalgia cost Mustang buyers an extra $3695, which bought a lowered suspension, Mustang Cobra front brakes, and a Ford Racing intake.
That the single-overhead-cam “Modular” 4.6-liter V-8 only delivered five more ponies than in the GT was both disappointing and proof of Ford’s chronic inability to make its fateful 1991 switch to overhead cams seem worth the fuss. Vindication did not come until 2011 with the new Coyote 5.0, but back then, only SVT Cobras had four-valve heads. Thus, Steve McQueen wannabes got by with 265 horsepower—but in a cool car that honored the movie and its star long before today’s pop-culture pile-on.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared as part of the 25 Greatest Mustangs cover story in the July/August issue of Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. You can find the other entries here.]