OSHKOSH – The engineering and design teams at Ford Motor Co. led the development of the one-off 2015 F-35 Lightning II Edition Ford Mustang, which will be donated by Ford and sold at the the Gathering of Eagles charity event Thursday at AirVenture.
All proceeds from the sale of the car will benefit the EAA Young Eagles program, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.8 million young people since 1992, helping inspire and motivate the next generation of leaders, aviators and innovators.
“The idea to model one of our specialty builds after the F-35 was four years in the making, under discussion even as we created the SR-71 Blackbird Mustang for auction in 2010. Just as the F35 was designed with unprecedented capabilities and versatility in mind, we felt it would be a natural fit to pair with the all-new 2015 Mustang,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford Board of Directors. “Lockheed Martin supported our requests on both vehicle builds and is bringing their F-35 Lightning II Cockpit Demonstration System, plus several test pilots, to the Ford Hangar. Visitors to the Ford Hangar are sure to be wowed by both the beauty of the F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang and the opportunity to get the fighter jet experience first hand.”
The 2015 F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang draws design cues from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the new joint forces strike fighter. The aircraft is the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter jet, providing unmatched capabilities to the military forces of the United States and its allies.
This one-of-a-kind sports car will be one of the first 2015 Ford Mustangs to be sold. Ford design manager Melvin Betancourt and Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak led the design and engineering teams that developed the car.
The exterior will showcase a customized glossy and matte titanium paint scheme with distinctive accents inspired by the blue and yellow lightning tail livery applied to the early production examples of the F-35. The bubble canopy of the stealthy F-35 features a distinctive gold tint designed to help minimize its radar signature – an appearance that is replicated on the windows of this Mustang.
The springs of the Mustang GT performance pack have been replaced with Eibach units for a lower ride height and the exhaust system gets larger, ceramic-coated outlets. This Mustang rolls on a set of Forgiato-created custom 21-inch wheels to further differentiate it from anything else on the road, according to Ford officials. Additional elements include a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser and rocker moldings, unique mirror skull caps and a vertically-enhanced rear spoiler.
Exclusive interior details include a modified instrument cluster, Recaro seats, custom audio system and floor mats embroidered with F-35 Lightning II elements and unique sill plates.
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 has been a committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture for 15 years, bringing incredible value to those who make Oshkosh the highlight of their aviation year,” said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. “With its seventh Mustang donation, Ford continues to excite with its specialty vehicles, which reflects the depth of Ford’s commitment and allows EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members in helping us grow the next generation of aviators.”
The F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang joins six other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the EAA Young Eagles auction. Ford vehicles donated at EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised more than $2.5 million to support the EAA Young Eagles.