In 2008, the world saw the introduction of a new Mustang. Although the 2010 model was not a full redesign, the car was different enough to attract much attention and fanfare. In addition, 2008 was a year when gas prices soared, the economy declined, and the Mustang experienced its worst sales month ever. But it wasn't all doom and gloom. As we do every year, what follows is a list of the top 10 influential Mustang moments of 2008.
Back in February NBC presented their television Movie Knight Rider which featured a supped up 2008 Shelby GT500KR Mustang as the new KITT. Knight Rider was eventually picked up as a television series on NBC in the Fall of 2008. While ratings were lackluster, there’s no doubt the Mustang stole the show!
In October of 2008 Carroll Shelby’s company, Shelby Automobiles, Inc., announced it would open its first international authorized Shelby mod shop outside of the United States. Canadian owned Sean Hyland Motorsport was authorized to build current generation Shelby Mustangs rides such as the Shelby Super Snake, CS6, CS8, Shelby GT500 40th anniversary, and Terlingua Racing Team packages. This announcement further solidified the fact that the Ford Mustang was increasing in popularity around the world.
Carroll Shelby and Bill Neale celebrated the rebirth of the Terlingua Racing Team in 2008 with an all out bash down in West Texas. The event featured Shelby Cobras, GT350s, GT500s, Shelby GTs, along with many other rides. It started with a 350 mile rally, an open road 12 mile time trial, a competitive driving course on an airstrip, and a 1/2 mile drag race in the Big Bend area. Other activities included a car show, hole-in-one golf competition, Texas “shootout”, chili cook off, and autograph sessions with Mr. Shelby.
To most of us Boyd Coddington was a hot rod guru. Most importantly he was a great guy. One thing's for sure, he was no stranger to cars. Take the eye candy of a Mustang he built back in 2003. In collaboration with ROUSH Performance, The Boyd Coddington/ROUSH California Roadster featured a two-tone paint job with DuPont custom-mix silver over factory Ford black. Unfortunately the automotive world lost Coddington when he passed away on February 27, 2008.
If any Mustang contest dominated the headlines this year it was Ford’s Mustang Stories Contest. Enthusiasts worldwide submitted their Mustang stories for a chance to win a new 2010 Ford Mustang and to see the car revealed in Los Angeles. The winner, Kory Chesher of Kentucky, took the prize. Chesher wrote his story while deployed in Iraq serving in the United States Army.
Drivers from all around hopped into spec FR500S Mustangs this past year, racing their way to fame and fortune. The Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup series was sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires and got underway in May at Road Atlanta. The series wrapped up in September with a Miller Motorsports Park double-header in which 20 year old Andrew Caddell took the prize. The Discovery Channel HD followed the drivers around throughout the season and filmed their journey. The program, WHY WE RACE: THE MUSTANG CHALLENGE aired worldwide in December of 2008.
Steve Saleen left his job as Vice Chairman of Saleen, Inc. last year. Enter SMS Limited, Saleen’s new company. In July SMS revealed a one-of-a-kind 720 Horsepower Anniversary concept Mustang. This had many of us wondering if Steve would mass produce Mustangs with SMS. Well, sure enough in December Steve Saleen announced SMS will create the Signature Series SMS 460 Mustang in 2009. The car will start off with a 475 hp 4.6L V-8 engine, maxing out with a model that outputs close to 650 hp.
November of 2008 marked the worst sales month ever for the Ford Mustang. Down 51 percent from 2007, Ford dealers moved approximately 3,667 Mustangs total. In November of 2007 the company had sold 7,352 units. In the same week as those sales figures were released, Ford, along with Chrysler and GM, pitched Congress on its comprehensive business plan asking for financial help. In late December help finally arrived but Ford declined the government assistance. GM and Chrysler happily accepted.
Ford Racing unveiled their 2008 FR500CJ Mustang at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The first purchased model, which pays homage to the 1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet, rolled off the assembly line in early December.
As the year progressed, spy shots of the 2010 Mustang began to appear almost weekly. Then Ford joined in on the fun by releasing their own spy photos, one a week, until the launch of the car in November. The new car launched at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif. as Mustang enthusiasts and journalists alike looked on with excitement. The event was also televised live on The SPEED Channel and was seen at several closed-circuit viewing parties across the country.