Showing up today on the Instagram account belonging to Jim Farley, a shadowy teaser image portends some sort of new trim for the Mustang. A few simple adjustments to the photo’s brightness characteristics reveal there could be a GT/CS trim in the pipeline for next year.
Of course, messing with illumination is one of the oldest tricks in the book to wring more information out of a teaser shot, a tack automakers know all too well. Call it the digital equivalent of listening for coded messages in radio broadcasts, and we’re hardly the only ones to do it. It’s decently easy to spot the GT/CS grille badge even without photo chicanery, though the so-called nostrils that bookend the grille do appear to be of an ever-so-slightly different shape than what’s on the present model. We’ll just chalk that up to the typical teaser shot deceptions.
Ford has reprised the California Special numerous times in the past, with this author’s favorite recent effort being the 2007 – 2009 iterations particularly shod with Redfire paint which was only available for one year. Styling is a uniquely subjective thing but that generation’s bodywork, when paired with the GT/CS cues, looked good to these jaundiced eyes. Apparently, the package reused the front and rear fascias from that era’s Shelby GT-H, a trivia notation of which I was not previously aware.
More recently, the California Special package was available to be layered on the GT Premium trim just last year, bringing appearance items like special badges and suede interior appointments plus gear like a front splitter from the Performance Package. Fastbacks also got the rear spoiler from that zoomy group but convertibles were denuded of the same. Future bidders at Barrett-Jackson take note: The California Special Package and Performance Package were available together but opting for both produced wider wheels of a unique style. The more you know.
In the past, checking the option box for a California Special generally added a couple of grand to the MSRP of a Mustang. Given inflation, and the fact that Ford likely knows they can charge a premium for nostalgia, don’t be surprised if that figure is slightly higher this time around.
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