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This is how Mustangs get mixed up with Thunderbirds

In the Ford Lexicon Mustangs and Thunderbirds are two different automotive animals, with spirits and attributes all their own, but when a specially designed Ford Mustang GT is built for the US Air Force Thunderbirds, we are mixing not only names but also modes of transportation.
Posted: July 1, 2013 - 8:12PM
Author: Don Bain

That’s because this particular Mustang GT is VIN 0001 in model year 2014, with paint, striping, markings and decals to match the Falcon F-16s flown by the Thunderbirds multiple jet aerial demonstration team.

This is something Ford does annually to boost and support Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program. The one of a kind vehicle will be auctioned during the Gathering of Eagles charity event on Aug. 1 during the world premiere celebration of aviation, Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, to be held July 29 to August 4, at the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh WI.

“The dedication and excellence displayed by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds are qualities we also celebrate at Ford,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “With this year’s beautiful U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang, we’ve captured the recognizable symbols of their stature and paired it with the innovation our Ford design and engineering teams build into all of our products.

The US Air Force Thunderbirds are celebrating their 60th Anniversary this year and the Mustang GT’s glass canopy-style roof emulates the clear cockpit enclosure of the Falcon F-16.

Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak led the design and engineering teams responsible for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang GT.

The special edition has gorgeous body modifications plus a handcrafted and painted belly pan that channels the F-16 Thunderbird.

TS Designs handcrafted the body elements, Creations n’ Chrome crafted the belly pan and applied markings and paint. Forgiato created custom 22-inch wheels to make this Mustang unlike anything else on the road.

Inside the car, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Ford Mustang GT features a modified navigation screen, instrument cluster and rear seat-delete (is that a fold-down or ejector)? Recaro seats sport stitched Thunderbirds details. There are also unique sill plates and puddle lamps that project a silhouette of the F-16 when the doors open.

Thanks to Ford Racing, the special edition will have a racing supercharger, suspension handling pack and Brembo brakes, causing the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang to exude an excess of class, power and performance.

Since 2008 Ford has raised $2 million to benefit the Young Eagles Program with special edition vehicles. They have included the Mustang AV8R (2008), Ford’s AV-X10 Dearborn Doll Mustang (2009), the SR-71 Blackbird Mustang collaboration between Carroll Shelby and P-51 pilot Jack Roush (2010), the Blue Angels Mustang commemorating Naval aviation (2011) and last year’s Red Tails tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Through this project,” Ford added, “we take great pride in continuing our support for EAA and the Young Eagles organization.”