Is Ford testing a new Mustang variant using the chassis upgrades given to the upcoming GT500, but using a smaller four- or six-cylinder engine, for something akin to a resurrected SVO Mustang? A new prototype caught testing on the streets of Dearborn, Michigan, is intriguing.
Looks Like a GT500, But Is Something Missing?
The prototype is outfitted with nearly all of the traits seen on a number of Mustang GT500 prototypes, including the bulging hood, more aggressive front fascia, the hood-mounted air-intake and the venting just aft of the front wheelwell. What this latest prototype is missing is the GT500's distinctive quad-exhaust setup. It has the exhaust in largely the same place as on the GT500, but this latest prototype has two of the exhaust outlets capped-off for some unknown reason.
Has Your Voice Changed?
The audio evidence deepens the mystery, as our video clip of this new Mustang prototype reveals what appears to be a different engine and exhaust note accompanying this test car. The engine noise lacks the deep resonance and throaty burble typical of the Mustang's V8 in general, and the GT500, in particular. Are two capped exhaust tips enough to account for different sounds made by this prototype? It's impossible to say for certain, and it is plausible that the exhaust may have been capped down to two outlets for some sort of emissions testing, or some other engineering reason. Still, could the move down to two operational exhaust tips signal an alternative, downsized engine?
Partially Neutered GT500 or New SVO?
It's admittedly speculation, but what if we are looking at a new high-performance Mustang prototype using many of the same chassis upgrades to be found on the coming GT500 model, but configured with a new, highly tuned four-cylinder or V6 engine. New, smaller-displacement, turbocharged engines can now generate significant power, and a lighter-weight engine could likely result in sharper handling. It's a compelling notion to ponder a resurrected, turbocharged Mustang SVO, representing a comparatively precise scalpel considered alongside a Mustang GT500—which is more akin to a gloriously blunt hammer.
Photo credit: KGP Photography