Despite the Mustang Mach-E clearly receiving the brunt of Ford’s marketing efforts, the manufacturer is still trying to retain customers who prefer the real one original. We’re inclined the believe that a traditional American sports coupe offering 310 horsepower out of the box for under $30,000 is probably reason enough to keep the Mustang on your radar. But Ford has debatably sweetened the pot with a couple of factory appearance packages designed to give the car more character.
For 2022, the Mustang will offer a new Stealth Edition option for well-equipped EcoBoost models and an updated version of the classic California Special for the GT.
The Stealth Edition is effectively an offshoot of the Ice White Edition that’s obviously intended for cocaine dealers and/or people who don’t drink coffee during their morning commute. However the Stealth nixes the white interior and exterior for alternate vehicle colors (Atlas Blue, Carbonized Gray, Dark Matter or Shadow Black) with a smattering of black trim. It also gets some unique dark badging, 19-inch wheels (also in black), a rear spoiler, and borrows the clear taillamps found on Ice White vehicles as the signature aspect.
We thought Altezza tail lights went out of fashion in 2011 and are betting Ford has a parts bin absolutely full of them. Ice White sales commenced at the start of the fall. Our guess is that the automaker now views the clear lenses as leftover Halloween candy that needs to be offloaded before they’re allowed to load up on Christmas goodies.
Meanwhile, the California Special (below) harkens back to the glory days of pony car appearance packages. Introduced in 1968 as a way to thank the Golden State for buying up the most Mustangs, and also help the model compete against the upcoming Camaro, GT/CS cars originally came with factory equipped unique badging, side stripes, fog lights, hood pins, side scoops, rear spoiler decklid, unique gas cap, and taillights nabbed from the 1965 Thunderbird.
Whereas the old package could be affixed to most Mustangs in Ford’s roster, the current California Special has been limited to the GT coupe and convertible. Vehicles come with the iconic GT/CS badging, obligatory stripes, a black grille, and rear fender scoop. Coupes will likewise come with a factory spoiler, while convertibles will have their spoilers deleted. On the inside, ‘Stangs will have black Miko (faux) suede-trimmed door inserts and seats embossed with the applicable logos in red. The theme carries over to the floor mats and the instrumental panel finished in “carbon hex aluminum” with California Special script badge on the passenger side.
The GT/CS cars also feature unique five-spoke 19-inch painted wheels and a signature strut tower brace to help you show off the 5.0-liter V8 (460 hp/420 lb-ft) to the neighbors. While there may also be some performance advantages associated with the brace, Ford actually recommends buying the GT Performance Package that’s compatible with the California Special if you’re a serious driver.
As a California Special-first, the GT Performance Package is now available, enabling greater handling and driving dynamics for the most capable California Special ever.
The GT Performance Package adds an array of performance and handling features including Brembo six-piston front brake calipers, unique chassis tuning with heavy-duty front springs, larger tubular rear sway bar, overall lower ride height, K-brace, strut tower brace, front subframe V-brace, TORSEN limited-slip differential, unique stability control and electric power steering tuning. Staggered 19×9-inch front and 19×9.5-inch rear wheels with Pirelli summer tires further the handling grip.
The performance suite can set you back by about $6,000 right now. But Ford hasn’t issued a price for the 2022 model-year Mustangs, nor did it elaborate how much difference the appearance packages would make to the final MSRP. Whether that’s designed to give dealerships another opportunity for markups or simply because the economic solution has made pricing next to impossible, we couldn’t say. But appearance packs tend to ballpark between a grand or two and are rarely worth the money unless you’re hunting for a future collectible or totally sprung on the accouterments.
[Images: Ford Motor Co.]
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