Flying High Again
Ford builds a one-off 2015 Mustang to benefit young pilots
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company and EAA AirVenture
Today in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Experimental Aircraft Associationâ€™s annual AirVenture begins. For the seventh year running, Ford has been heavily involved in the event, and each of those years the company has constructed a unique Mustang, which the auction off to the benefit of EAAâ€™s Young Eagles program. So far the Mustangs auctioned at the event have earned over $2.5 million for the program.
â€œFord has helped EAA build unmatched pathways for young people to discover the world of flight through its support of the Gathering of Eagles, our youth programs, and AirVenture,â€ Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board, said. â€œWith its seventh Mustang donation, Ford continues to excite with its specialty vehicles, which reflects the depth of Fordâ€™s commitment to EAA, its members, and the future of flight.â€
The vehicles are auctioned off at the eventâ€™s Gathering of Eagles charity event, which will be held this Thursday. In prior years, Ford has sold Mustangs built in the theme of historic aircraft, like the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds, and the SR-71 Blackbirds. This year the themed Mustang is extra special because it is based on one of the first 2015 Mustangs built for sale. Its theme is theÂ F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.
â€œThe F-35 Lightning aircraft demonstrates unprecedented versatility and delivers state-of-the-art air superiority with its speed, agility, power, and advanced technology. These are all attributes shared by the iconic Ford Mustang,â€ Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors, said. â€œAs Ford Motor Company celebrates 50 years of the Mustang, it is our honor to draw inspiration from the F-35 to support the next generation of pilots in the EAA Young Eagles program.â€
Spearheading the creation of this one-off Mustang were Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak.
They obviously embraced the look of the F-35 with the BASF paint scheme and livery. However, they also worked with a number of aftermarket manufacturers to complete the aeronautical theme.
The F-35 Mustang rides on massive, 21-inch Forgiato wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber. A set of Eibach springs sets the stance, while MGP Caliper Covers accent the brakes. A Raceskinz Carbon Fiber front splitter give it that racy look, and a Gibson exhaust with ceramic-coated tips give the F-35 Edition some personality.
Those who want to get in on the auction can pre-qualify by calling (800) 236-1025 or sending an email to [email protected]. However, you better be ready to spend, as last year’s T-Bird-themed â€™Stang brought in $400,000 for the Young Eagles. (UPDATE: The F-35 Lightning II Edition sold for $200,000.)
If you do win, be sure to post about it here on SVTP. Weâ€™d love to see you and your new ride.