When you think about legendary Mustangs, there’s one name that stands above all others — Carroll Shelby. And it’s Shelby’s initial creations which inspired Ford to release the original California Special Mustang back in 1968. Over the iconic model’s history, Ford has periodically brought back the designation, so this summer, fans can look forward to a new Mustang GT California Special.
Mostly, this is an appearance package. But given that the Mustang GT is already packing the potent 5.0-liter V-8 that pumps out 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque? We can’t imagine too many drivers are going to disappointed with the amount of poke on tap. On the exterior, California Special models will be distinguished by matte-black racing stripes, a blacked out grille, a performance front splitter, and model-exclusive five-spoke wheels.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find black seats with contrasting red stitching and more badging, along with a banging, 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system which might actually provide enough juice to overpower the engine. Though for the record? We have no idea why you’d want to do that. Of course, with a model that name drops the Golden State, you’d expect that there’d be a convertible option, and the 2019 Mustang GT California Special doesn’t disappoint.
Now, while Mustang GTs equipped with the ten-speed automatic will blast from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, we’re going to recommend you leave a few tenths on the table, and go for the traditional stick. Because along with the joys that come with rowing your own, there’s now a rev-matching feature which will allow for race-spec downshifts — even if you happen to think that heel-toe is something from a dance textbook. If you love manuals and haven’t driven a car with this feature, we’d highly recommend you give it a shot. It’s just way too much fun, and given the perilous state of the stick, enthusiasts should vote with their dollars.
The 2019 Mustang GT California Special will be at your local AutoNation Ford dealer this summer, so if you’re looking to put one in your garage, you won’t have to wait too long. In the meantime, check out the video and enjoy the photos.