Classic cars are the subject of many tales of misadventure and performance. Go to any cruise night and you will hear all about how “my brother had one of those 67 Mustangs and would run circles around any new car, heck we had that sucker up mach 3.5 on at least 3 occasions.” This is how legends are created. Sure, the classic 67 Mustang was a great car in its day, but by modern standards, it just can’t compete.
Or can it?
We wanted to see just how much difference in agility the new Mustangs have over the old. The deal was set up- pit a 2014 Mustang GT against a 1967 Mustang GTA in a technical agility course. The course consists of a 3 cone slalom set 40 feet apart, into an s-curve, to a 160-foot straightaway, a tight U-turn, through another slalom (same specs), through the S-curve, and back into the first slalom to the start/stop line. This is not a high-speed course, rather a tightly weaved agility run that works out both the steering and suspension, along with the driver’s arms.
2014 Mustang GT – 5.0 Coyote with a 6-speed manual. The active steering selection was set to performance. This really made a difference in the test, as the performance setting tightened up the steering, giving us more feedback in the wheel.
1967 Mustang GTA- 351W with a C4 automatic. Suspension is modified with the “Shelby drop”, performance shocks, and a Steeroids manual rack and pinion system from Speed Direct.
The results were 31.09 seconds for the 2014 GT, while the 67 GTA managed a 39.16-second lap. Watching the video you can see that what slows the 67 down is the heavy steering. The rack and pinion makes steering the Mustang significantly better than the original circulating ball gearbox, but the lack of power assist took so much concentration, sawing the wheel lock to lock through the tight slalom, that it was just too difficult to run the course as fast as the 2014. The manual steering set up was just too much work, a power conversion (which is available through Speed Direct), would have like shaved several seconds off the overall lap times, making the GTA much more competitive and fun to drive. The other drawback of the 67 was the suspension. The body roll of the soft suspension made it more difficult to push the car through the course at a higher speed. Driving the 2014 GT through course was more fun than work. With minimal steering effort, the GT made the rounds of the course at a higher rate of speed and with more accuracy. The 1967 Mustang hit multiple cones, while the 2014 only hit one.
Sometimes cars from “the good old days” are just that- old. Modern technology will beat it almost every single time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get better. With a power assist conversion, the 1967 would have been more competitive, add in a tuned suspension, and the GTA may well have tied the 2014 in agility.Our third vehicle was a 1964 Falcon wagon with the original recirculating ball steering, so that we would have a baseline to compare the rack and pinion conversion in the GTA. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the Falcon couldn’t make it (it had snowed 6 inches that morning on half the town, the other side got nothing). We are confident that the Falcon would have been turning 50+ second laps if not longer. We will revisit this test in the near future with more vehicles. Until then, check out the video of the 2014 GT versus 1967 GTA.