2016 Ford Mustang GT Fastback California Special – Review and Test Drive

Carroll Shelby’s ‘Little Red’ Wagon is Back

By Jonathan Spira on 10 November 2016
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Back in the 1960s, California Ford dealers came up with the idea of a limited-edition Mustang based on the GT and Carroll Shelby’s “Little Red” 1967 show car hardtop. The California Special was offered for less than six months and those cars are highly sought after by collectors today. Some 40 years later, Ford began to offer California Special variants of the current Mustang GT models and that tradition continues today, although the current model doesn’t offer a black vinyl roof.

As summer drew to a close, and despite being in New York and not in California, I spent an enjoyable week with a Ruby Red California Special. Selecting the option adds about $2,000 to the cost of a Mustang GT Premium Fastback or Convertible but we consider that sum to be money well spent as the car has a unique look that garners more comments from other drivers and passers-by than we’ve heard in a long time.

The option includes 19” ebony-black painted aluminum wheels, a raised decklid/spoiler, also in black, a faux gas cap between the rear tail lights, black painted mirror caps and hood vents, ebony hood and side stripes, a performance front splitter, and unique upper and lower grilles. The ebony stripes on the hood give the car a more aggressive look as they lead up to the oversized lane-change indicators that harken back to the 1967 Mustang’s hood-vent turn signals although the ‘67 model didn’t use LEDs.

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Inside there is much red contrast stitching, starting with the very comfortable ebony leather sports seats with Miko suede inserts and embossed GT/California Special logos. This theme extends to the carpet floor mats, the leather shift boot, and the console cover. The driver is faced by what Ford calls a “Diamond Plate” aluminum instrument panel

Another current tech bauble that the ’67 model didn’t have is Ford’s refreshed Sync 3 infotainment system, which has a greatly improved user interface, works either by voice command or touch, and is capable of receiving software updates via Wi-Fi.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Mustang GT California Special

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