It's time to celebrate! The Ford Mustang turns 40 next year. On April 17, 1964, the first Mustang rolled onto the streets. Performance and style were its hallmarks and folks loved its long hood, short rear deck, and low profile.
Anticipating next year?s milestone, every 2004 Mustang will have 40th Anniversary badges on the front fenders. They also get special exterior and interior upgrades. Wind noise has been reduced on 2004 models through the use of improved sealing, and both the V6 and V8 engines benefit from some minor refinements.
After all these years, the Mustang still represents affordable performance and style. A base coupe, for example, retails for just $17,720 and cash incentives can knock a big chunk off of that. Mustang convertibles are popular and attractively priced.
Mustang GT models are a hoot to drive with their 260-horsepower V8 engines. The Mustang offers good grip when cornering hard, and you can really feel what the car is doing. Just don't expect sophisticated ride and handling. The Mach 1 returns for 2004, boasting a 310-horsepower twin-cam V8, a sports suspension, and a shaker hood designed to remind us of the famous 1969 fastback. Production of the 2004 Mach 1 will be limited, however.
An all-new 2005 Ford Mustang is expected to go on sale in mid-2004.
The 2004 Mustang design picks up styling cues from the 1964-66 original, but executes them in today's rounder, more organic idiom. The rear fender air intake, for example, has sharp corners and pronounced lines; but the rocker panels curve out, and the fenders have pronounced front and rear wheel well arches. The front end features wraparound complex reflector headlamps with integrated side marker lamps, combined with a square-edged honeycomb grille and a chrome pony. Tricolor front fender badges recall the good old days, as does the prominent but non-functional hood scoop. In back, it's 1965 with vertical, three-element taillamps.
GT models get unique hood and side-scoop treatments, along with fog lights and a rear spoiler.
Mach 1 is easy to spot with special trim that starts with its shaker hood scoop. Attached directly to the top of the engine, the black scoop rears its head through a squarish hole in the Mach 1 hood. (Hood scoops on GT models sit on top of the hood.) A bold low-gloss black stripe runs up the center of the powerdome hood to accentuate the scoop. Stomp on the throttle and you can see it move, or shake, slightly as the engine twists against the motor mounts. In theory, the scoop is designed to channel fresh air into the intake for increased breathing and, therefore, increased power.
The 40th Anniversary Package, a no-cost option for 2004 Mustangs, is distinguished by Arizona Beige Metallic performance stripes on the hood, lower rocker panels and deck lid. Arizona Beige Metallic accents upgraded wheels (16-inch for the V-6 and 17-inch Bullitt wheels for the GT). The 40th Anniversary models are available in an exclusive Crimson Red exterior, as well as Black and Oxford White, with body-colored, fold-in side mirrors.
The Mustang cockpit is a little quieter for 2004. New expandable foam seals designed to reduce wind noise are used around the body, particularly the outside door handles and belt moldings on both doors.
Convertibles and coupes offer about the same amount of room in the front seats. Either way, it's a cozy interior. There's enough seat-track length to accommodate tall drivers and just enough elbowroom to keep from feeling cramped. The Mustang offers good, reclining bucket seats with plenty of travel. The seats are fairly full, yet supportive, a good compromise, and you don't slide around. Seatbelts are attached to the seat frames so they move with the seats. Running horses embossed on the upper portions of the optional leather bucket seats recall the deluxe pony interior of the mid-1960s.
The 40th Anniversary Package upgrades the interior with four-way head restraints, a painted center console surround, and brushed aluminum door lock knobs, shift boot trim ring and pedals. The package includes unique floor mats with an embroidered 40th Anniversary logo and a matching badge on the center console.
The Mach 1 tachometer and speedometer use a tall condensed typeface and more hash marks that make it harder to read than the gauges in the GT models. The instrument panel, center console and headliner are color-keyed. To turn on the headlights, pull out an old-fashioned knob on the left. The center console includes cup holders.
SVT Cobra models offer front bucket seats with Nudo leather trim and suede inserts. The driver's seat features six-way power with power-adjustable thigh and side bolsters, and power lumbar support. Clearly, these seats are made for serious, fast driving. Switches are on the right-front corner of the seat. The SVT instrument cluster has been redesigned to include a boost gauge. The gauges feature titanium-colored faces and electroluminescent lighting. The Cobra's gearshift knob is leather-wrapped, with a brushed-aluminum insert on the top, inscribed with the six-speed pattern. Metal-trimmed pedals and dead pedal are standard.
The back seat is small, with only enough room for small objects or kids. Convertibles have even less hip and shoulder room than coupes, but about the same headroom and legroom.
The trunk is small with an even smaller opening. Coupes hold just under 11 cubic feet worth of cargo, while convertibles hold just 7.7 cubic feet. A split fold-down rear seat is standard and handy for hauling cargo.
Driving the Ford Mustang confirms it is a throwback to another era. A Mustang GT has more than enough power to break the rear wheels loose. The firm suspension transmitted freeway undulations, and there is some side-to-side jouncing on rough surfaces, but this car makes us feel happy.
The engine sounds so good, so deep and thunderous, it might be the most enjoyable thing about the car. With the Camaro/Firebird gone, they just don't make them like this any more. With a lot of high-performance cars, you have to be going fast to feel the joy, but with the Mustang, even 2000 rpm is fun. Such a broad range of enjoyment adds to the already high value of the car.
The GT's V8 feels and sounds very satisfying as you accelerate through first and second gear, upshifting at a modest 4000 rpm. In fifth gear, 2000 rpm is 75 mph, and the engine doesn't loaf at that speed, it rumbles. No engine we can think of sounds and feels like it's doing more at such low rpm. Not working hard, just doing more. This is particularly noticeable in the convertible, with the top down.
The torque provides steady, smooth acceleration, and the throttle response to blips is wonderful, with an easy heel-and-toe pedal position. The only small problem was throttle control at 5 mph in parking lots with the manual transmission, as it tended to snatch.
The manual gearbox gets very high marks. Because the top speed in second gear is 70 mph, most corners are second or third gear, so you find yourself downshifting a lot. You can drop hard into second, with a beautiful racy blip, and it's great stuff, smooth and solid, inspiring confidence. The GT's leather gearshift knob has the perfect shape for a firm grip.
In corners, the Mustang likes to be muscled, but it doesn't have to be. It's brutish, but still goes where you point it without a struggle. The brakes don't fade when driving on winding roads at an aggressive pace and using them frequently. The optional Bosch traction control system works at all speeds: Whenever wheelspin is detected, the system retards ignition timing, cuts fuel flow, and activates the brakes at one or both drive wheels, in that order. The driver can turn the system off with a console switch.
The Mustang suspension was retuned for 2003 for improved ride quality.
The current Ford Mustang is a hammer of a car, a throwback to another time. Its interior is dated. Stand on the gas and the GT's powerful V8 can spin the rear wheels. The firm suspension and handling make for a fast, racy ride. But it's not sophisticated. This is part of the charm and we love it. Driving a Mustang can put a smile on your face. We particularly enjoy the convertibles.
An all-new 2005 Ford Mustang is expected in mid-2004. Until then, the 2004 Mustang remains a value in performance and style.
Build and price your dream Ford Mustang in just a few easy steps.
|Build & Price|
2014 Ford Mustang$68,775 | 11 mi
2013 Ford Mustang$21,763 | 34,781 mi
2013 Ford Mustang$21,963 | 34,683 mi
2013 FORD MUSTANG$22,368 | 34,449 mi
2013 Ford Mustang$29,433 | 9,675 mi
2013 Ford Mustang$46,800 | 3,268 mi
2011 Ford Mustang$17,983 | 30,417 mi
2010 Ford Mustang$15,995 | 108,839 mi
2010 Ford Mustang$15,999 | 35,522 mi
2010 FORD MUSTANG$18,777 | 45,014 mi
2008 FORD MUSTANG$11,975 | 92,228 mi
2007 Ford Mustang$10,988 | 73,225 mi
2007 Ford Mustang$33,951 | 29,661 mi
2007 Ford Mustang$34,963 | 3,107 mi
2007 Ford Mustang$37,963 | 2,815 mi
2006 Ford Mustang$9,995 | no mileage
2006 Ford Mustang$14,995 | 73,681 mi
2006 Ford Mustang$15,991 | 73,131 mi
2006 FORD MUSTANG$18,487 | 76,478 mi
2005 Ford Mustang$6,999 | 135,076 mi
2003 Ford Mustang$7,990 | 108,206 mi
2002 Ford Mustang$4,981 | 164,191 mi
2001 Ford Mustang$6,988 | 93,615 mi
2001 FORD MUSTANG$9,961 | 53,335 mi
1998 Ford Mustang$12,789 | 64,750 mi
1994 Ford Mustang$6,985 | 171,578 mi
1994 Ford Mustang$19,999 | 24,016 mi
1993 Ford Mustang$15,990 | 57,319 mi