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Ford's Bullitt Mustang : Return of a Legend
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New "Bullitt" Mustang: Ponying up to its legendary promise would have done "Steve, baby" proud

Power. Punch. Performance.What is there that the new four-seater Bullitt Mustang doesn't have?

There's that sultry, throbbing voice of the dual exhaust capable of transporting a wannabe Bullitt owner instantly back to the flick chase that blazed as a dark green streak acrossmovie screens everywhere. Yes, green.

Call it deep, British, jungle, rich. Take your pick. But it's the ONLY color that can rightfully splash across the surface of this reincarnation as it prowls the hills of San Francisco or Seattle or -- you think? -- the storied dunes of the Sahara. There's that solid and familiar "no substitutions" rear-drive performance that somehow go tlost on so many pallid pretenders.

Then there's just the thrill of slipping inside the hauntingly retro interior with its understated instrument cluster and  leather-trimmed performance bucket seats, while cradling the brushed aluminum shifter ball under the palm of the hand to send the tach blazing up tored line territory in a mental chase to a victorious finish. Wow!

Call it cold shower time from a retrospect of memory that could set just about any male (or female) heart weaned on gasoline and exhaust fumes pounding in anticipation of cranking this young beast to life. It is, according to one enthusiastic worshipper, "Instant recall, with the smell, the sounds,the sights of '68."The perspective from a no-nonsense automotive publisher says it all: "It goes without saying the Bullitt is the most exciting car that I drove this year. Period. I had to sit in the carand wait for a flood of memories to subside before I could take off."

That was comparable to the assessment of every male from six to 60 within shouting range of a test drive: "That's a great car you have. I want one, but they were all sold out."

Whatever the view, it's a sign that Ford Motor Co., for its sometimes silly mistakes and futuristic wanderings, has the sense at times to let its designers and engineers burn the midnight oil without interruption, and breed into life a classic that is guaranteed to stand up for decades as a signal that they really got it right.

Widening the Boundaries

This is a vehicle capable, on contact, of shaping one into a lifelong hot car enthusiast. All the great original touches capable of creating a cult-status love of high performance autosare hauntingly present. But wait. There are more. The whole idea behind Bullitt is performance, based on a 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 powerplantthat churns out 265 horsepower at 5000 rpm. Torque (305 lb. Ft. at 4000) has been optimized for a broader torque curve than the standard GT, giving it more guts from low through high rpms. Credit the modified engine's improved airflow for adding that oomph. Ford engineers point proudly to its handling, which it calls "crisp road manners." Crisp indeed. It is agile but gutsy as it cuts around tight corners, then blows away on astraightaway.

Improving a Perfect Memory | Next


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