The engineering and design teams at Ford Motor Co. have produced a unique U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition 2014 Ford Mustang GT, which will be donated by Ford to be sold at the Gathering of Eagles charity event on Thursday, Aug. 1, during the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh 2013.
All proceeds from the car donation and sale will benefit the EAA Young Eagles program, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.6 million young people since 1992.
Ford is the exclusive automotive sponsor of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, held July 29 through Aug. 4 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis.
“The dedication and excellence displayed by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds are qualities we also celebrate at Ford,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “With this year’s beautiful U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang, we’ve captured the recognizable symbols of their stature and paired it with the innovation our Ford design and engineering teams build into all of our products. Through this project, we take great pride in continuing our support for EAA and the Young Eagles organization.”
The Mustang GT celebrates the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the fastest, multi-jet flight demonstration team in the world. Thunderbirds fly the F-16 Falcon, known for its glossy red, white and blue paint scheme.
This one-of-a-kind car is VIN 0001. The modified 2014 Mustang GT 5.0-liter glass-roof coupe is a one-of-a-kind car, with VIN 0001.
The exterior showcases a custom brilliant white paint with red and blue accents, as well as markings and logos, tying it to the Thunderbirds’ F-16 Falcon aircraft. The treatment includes wide body modifications and a handcrafted and painted “belly pan” that emulates the F-16 Thunderbird appearance. TS Designs handcrafted the front and rear wide body elements, Creations n’ Chrome crafted the unique belly pan – plus applied the paint and markings – and Forgiato created custom 22-inch wheels to further differentiate this Mustang from anything else on the road.
Interior details include a modified navigation screen, instrument cluster and rear seat-delete. The car’s Recaro seats include embroidered Thunderbirds elements. Additional features include unique sill plates and puddle lamps that project the aircraft silhouette when the doors open.
Ford Racing components will boost the performance, including a Ford Racing supercharger, suspension handling pack and Bremb brakes.
Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak led the design and engineering teams that developed the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang GT.
The Young Eagles auction is part of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The Gathering of Eagles annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of Young Eagles and other EAA programs that inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators – the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
“Ford is a longtime, committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture, bringing value to those who make Oshkosh the pinnacle of their aviation year,” said Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman. “These specialty vehicles reflect the depth of Ford’s commitment and allow EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members in helping us grow the next generation of aviators.”
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition joins five other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the EAA Young Eagles auction in recent years. Ford vehicles sold at auction during past EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised nearly $1.9 million to support Young Eagles.
The unique vehicles produced by Ford in support of EAA Young Eagles include the Mustang AV8R, with cues from the F-22 “Raptor,” which in 2008 helped introduce the glass-roof canopy and delivered a record auction contribution of $500,000. In 2009 Ford’s AV-X10 “Dearborn Doll” Mustang was crafted in honor of World War II aircraft. In 2010 two automotive icons – the late Carroll Shelby, a former U.S. Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, longtime P-51 pilot – collaborated for the first time to create the SR-71 “Blackbird” Mustang inspired by the legendary reconnaissance jet. The “Blue Angels” Mustang in 2011 celebrated 100 years of United States naval aviation, and last year’s “Red Tails” Mustang paid homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, the squadron of P-51 Mustang pilots who were the United States’ first African American military airmen.
To participate in the auction, candidates must prequalify by contacting the EAA development office at 800-236-1025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.