Donald Frey, co-creator of the Ford Mustang, passes away

The Mustang loses one of its fathers

Donald Frey, a former senior production planning manager at Ford Motor Co., passed away on March 5th, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois from a stroke at the age of 87.

Frey worked with Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca at Ford to develop the Mustang, the iconic pony-car that helped usher in the age of the muscle car.  Frey was in charge of the team in charge of developing an affordable, sporty car during the 1960’s.  Because of Ford’s flop with the Edsel, Frey had trouble getting a standard budget for the project.  With some savvy improvising, he used the platform and instrument panel from the already-established Ford Falcon to create the Mustang.  Using these, he managed to create the program in only 18 months.

When the Ford Mustang debuted in April of 1964, sales expectations were modest.  Managers only expected about 90,000 units in the first year.  Much to everyone’s surprise, the car sold over 400,000 units in its first year alone, helping to make it one of the most popular cars from the 60’s.

Frey later succeeded Iacocca as the head of Ford Division in Ford Motorsports and helped maintain the company’s participation in both NASCAR and Le Mans.  While still at Ford, he also helped develop the first Bronco.

In 1968, Frey left Ford and became the head of General Cable Co.  He later became chairman and CEO at Bell & Howell, where he aided in engineering the first CD-ROM.  He also served a primary role in getting the film industry to release films on tape, thus ushering in the home-entertainment era.

2011 Ford Mustang priced lower than the Camero

2011 Ford Mustang

Ford Motor Co. recently unveiled its plan to sell the 2011 V-6 Mustang for less than its closest competitor, the Chevy Camero.  Set to arrive in dealerships in April, the Mustang will sell for about $1,000 less than the V-6 Camero.  Including shipping, the total cost of the car will be $22,995.

The lower price of the V-6 Mustang is significant, as Ford has also increased several key features of the car.  While earlier iterations of the V-6 Mustang had less than 300 horse power, the 2011 version boasts a 3.7-liter engine that puts out a 305 hp and 280 pounds-feet of torque.  Even more impressive is the fact that the V-6 Mustang still manages 31 mpg in fuel economy, despite the increase in power.  The engine is an all aluminum model and is mated with a brand new six-speed transmission.  The previous model came with a standard five-speed transmission.

The V-6 Camaro features a 3.6-liter engine that puts out 304 hp and manages 29 mpg.  While these numbers are not staggeringly below the 2011 Mustang’s, the automobile industry is all about numbers, and higher power for lower cost is always a powerful selling point.

Also being released at Ford dealers in April is the 2011 5.0-liter V-8 Mustang.  It produces a staggering 412 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque while still managing an impressive 26 mpg.  It starts at just under $31,000, making it one of the most affordable high-powered cars on the market.

Ford releases details on 2011 Shelby GT500 Mustang

Ford 2011 Shelby GT 500

2011 Ford Shelby GT 500

On February 8th, Ford Motor Company released details on the 2011 Shelby GT500 Mustang.  Ford Special Vehicles Team (STV) made several significant changes to the Shelby GT500, showing their determination to improve upon an already impressive car.  For starters, the Shelby GT500 gets 10 horsepower increase, upping the number from 540 to 550.  This power increase comes from the new all-aluminum engine manufactured for the Shelby GT500.  Not only does the new engine boost performance, it also helps the Shelby GT500 shed some weight.  102 pounds are lost by using aluminum instead of cast iron for the engine block.  The power increase plus the weight loss signals that STV are trying to get as much improvement in performance as possible.

Ford released a couple of other important numbers in terms of performance: the Shelby GT500 delivers 23 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in the city.  While these numbers are only a 1 mpg improvement over the 2010 Shelby GT500, they give the car a combined mpg that allows it to avoid the gas guzzler tax ($1000 for the 2010 Shelby GT500).  Ford clearly considered all of the numbers while building the 2011 Shelby GT500, and make no mistake they improved on some big ones.