FORD HAS announced it is building a one-off version of its all-new Mustang that takes inspiration from the troubled F-35 fighter jet.
Designers of the special Mustang reportedly took inspiration, both in looks and in name, from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth combat jet. Previous special edition Mustangs have had aeronautical influences such as the SR-71 Blackbird, the jets flown by the Blue Angels ‒ America’s equivalent of the Red Arrows ‒ and the “Red Tails” flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in the Second World War.
Early images show the Mustang F-35 emblazoned with striking blue and yellow graphics on top of a glossy and matt titanium paint job, mimicking the flash design from the F-35C development plane. The look is completed with a carbon-fibre front splitter and rear wing, yellow tinted windows, yellow upholstery and Recaro seats. Hopefully, the F35’s eject button is not included.
Some have questioned the wisdom of the tribute, though. The radar-evading F-35 jet, due to be used on the UK’s new aircraft carriers and the most expensive defence project in US history with a price tag of $400bn (£234bn) project, has been beset with problems including cost overruns and repeated delays.
The most high profile and costliest issue was a massive failure of the Pratt & Whitney engine at a Florida air base on June 23, after which the F-35 was grounded while investigations take place. Limited flights have recommenced but today the Pentagon announced that the F-35 would not be appearing at the Farnborough Air Show as originally intended, until the US Department of Defense gives it the all-clear from a safety point of view.
Some good will come from Ford’s Mustang F-35, however, as it is to be auctioned off at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Airventure event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 31 to help raise funds for aviation education for young people.
The new Mustang, in standard right-hand drive specification, will be available in the UK from next year at prices expected to start at £30,000. Ford claims it will be engineered to suit British tastes with a new fuel-efficient, 300bhp 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo engine capable of “meeting the performance and fuel efficiency requirements of European car buyers”.