Wild West Cars – Ponies and Bullitts

Ford Mustangs are growing on me.  Used to think they were overrated, underpowered and clumsy, and I never really got over how far they had fallen by the 1979 Mustang II. I drove one to the prom.  It was a bad night all around. But the 2005 retro Mustang nostalgically took me back to my childhood and 10 years later the sixth generation 2015 Mustang, with a modern independent rear suspension and 435hp really caught my eye with its sleek looks and high performance.  Mustangs at CarMax are plentiful – as I write there are 444 on the lots nationwide, and almost half of those are V8’s (and I only count V8’s as real Mustangs).  All Mustangs with V8’s are GT’s (well, except Bullitts).  The cheapest is $13,599 and 107,000 miles and the most expensive 2017 Shelby GT350 with 1,000 miles will set you back $59,998.  These are not unicorns.

But these Mustangs are.  Let’s take a quick walk around the stable with these two relatively normal Mustang unicorns. At the bottom end we have a 2006 Mustang GT convertible, with only 40,000 miles and a price tag of $15,998.   Cute car, 300hp, and a five second 0-60 run.  I drove one recently and was surprised that with “only” 300hp it roared and scooted well.  I thought it was going to be a dog but found it satisfactory, despite the solid axle I thought was made of wood.  Pretty sure you can score another five years, 60,000-85,000 mile MaxCare warranty for a few thousand and be out the door for under $20k.  You’ll almost be able to get vintage tags and still be under the MaxCare warranty!

And to show that not all my unicorns are old, at the top end we have a 2015 435hp beast with only 15,000 miles at $26,998.   This one is still under factory warranty and so the MaxCare plan will be less.    With a 0-60 of 4.4 seconds this stirs my soul.   These Mustang GT’s sold for $35-45,000 just two years ago, so $27k seems like a good deal but not the $100,000 discount I look for in my German cars.   But the 2015’s and up have an extensive array of technology and amenity upgrades that surprised me.    For the same price as a 2015 Mustang GT you can buy a five to seven-year older Corvette, with better performance, more panache, but dated interior.  It’s a real tough call.  Check out this review:

Car and Driver Review – 2015 Mustang GT

Because there are so many Mustang GT’s young and old it’s tough to consider them unicorns at all.  You don’t really have to work to corral them.  The real unicorns are these; Shelby GT500’s and Bullitts.  The Shelby’s are of Carroll Shelby fame, the racer and high performance modifier of Fords (we will ignore the crappy Dodges) since 1962.   And if you think I spelled Bullitt wrong, I already know you won’t want one.  But stick with me.

There are currently six Mustang Shelby GT500’s, originally sold from 2007-2009 for about $40,000 and up, with 475-500hp.  The 0-60 times are about the same as the 2015 GT, but with far more brute force and in-your-face race car accouterments.   The kicker is there are quadruplets here (all like the 16,000 mile example in red) selling for about $32,000 and only 7-25,000 miles for ten-year old cars!  All available with (say it with me) five-year warranties for another 100,000 miles!
Pair of Shelby GT500

If $32,000 is too much, I’ve thrown in a 2008 car with about 46,000 miles for under $29,000.  There’s a 2009 just like it.

Here’s the Car and Driver review from 2007:

Car and Driver Review 2007 Shelby GT500




As a note of caution, don’t be confused by the run-of-the-mill Ford Shelby GT.  I was.  It’s different and lesser than a Shelby GT350 or GT500.  I thought I had scored an all around deal of low miles, low-cost, high performance, and exclusivity when I found this 2007 Ford Shelby GT for $25,000 and 27,000 miles.  But when I went looking for reviews and performance data I found it’s considered a slightly tarted up GT – only 19hp more for far more cost.  Bummer.

Car and Driver Review 2007 Shelby GT

Instead, a real car enthusiast and unicorn hunter would be proud to own one of these; 2008-2009 Mustang Bullitts, recreations of the famous 1968 Mustang driven by Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) in the movie Bullitt.   Look up the movie and you’ll want one.

First Pair of Bullits

Ford didn’t just go stealthy, they added horsepower, changed gear ratios, and even tuned the exhaust to replicate the ’68 car.  Manual transmission only, in green or black, with cool “Bullitt” insignia where the GT goes on the rear valance and the steering wheel.  And CarMax seems to be scarfing up every one they can find.  I watched one with only 4,000 miles on and one with 16,000 miles, both just over $20,000, go in a few days and before I started documenting unicorns.

Bullitt review here: Car and Driver Review 2008 Bullitt

Second Pair Bullitt

But I was able to record these four, only three of which are available today.  But sometimes they go away only to return again.   Bullitts are very high on my list of “placeholder” cars, one I may buy and drive just for a fun year while awaiting my deeply discounted 911.