When I first posted this 2015 Mustang 3 last year, you could hear the loud thud of the web-world's collective jaws dropping. And not in a good way! Motivation would come from a direct-injected, super- AND turbocharged three cylinder, light-alloy, maybe even plastic powerplant of the future. Click for it's future goodness. No real 'base' photo for this rendering, although I used pieces of the European Focus and the current Mustang. The rest was just brushed in.
C H O P — The VERY first Mustang, from 1962 was a diminutive mid-engined 4 cylinder sports car. It wasn't until the second generation of Mustang introduced for 1964 1/2 that the front-engined, rwd 4 seat 'Pony Car' was introduced. Now, technically the Mustang I was never produced beyond a prototype or two, but still... it exists and I remember it in the newspapers at the time even though I was barely 5 years old!
So letting my mind wander last year, I decided, and rightly so I truly believe, that eventually, maybe five, maybe 10 years, the V8 rear-wheel drive platform will be dead. Buried along with carburetors, tube radios, tube tires, mohair upholstery, drum brakes and hand-cranked starters. It's just inevitable that electric powered cars will be the mainstream family cars, and small, ultra-lightweight gas or diesel engines will become the sports models. Even then, I don't doubt for a second that a cooking 3 cylinder, with a super-and a turbo-charger will be available as the hot setup. I'm predicting a 1.5 liter direct-injected three cylinder will be able to provide up to 200-250 hp, and will be powering carbon-fiber (or an inexpensive and even stronger substitute yet-to-be-developed polymer) cars weighing no more than 1800-2000 lbs MAX, perhaps even as low as 1250-1500lbs. That would include all relevant safety equipment, and maybe 15 airbags, lol.
In this future mindset, I created what I call the Mustang 3. I'm considering the '62 mid-engined prototype as Mustang I, which indeed it is known as. I'm considering every 4 seat, rwd pony car that followed as the Mustang '2,' not just the Pinto-platformed '74-78 models. My new mid-engined 3 cylinder, as the rightful heir to the sporting Ford family, is the '3,' with that numeral signifying the third 'life' of the Mustang and the high-tech three cylinder powerplant. The small size of the mid-engine I3 engine, would allow 2 small rear buckets seats, in the classic pony car tradition. Performance would be on par with today's V8 GT models, 0-60 in approximately 5.0 seconds or better, and the gas mileage could average 60 mpg with all the electronic assistants that will be available by then.
Of course, all I heard was "THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN" or "V8s FOREVER" or "BLASPHEMY, YOU SUCK" lol. That's exactly how I knew I had it right for the future. My only mistake was calling it a 2015. Maybe 2020 or 2025 would be more realistic considering we can't even plug a hole at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, but it will happen, it absolutely will happen!
Original Mustang I prototype from 1962. My Mustang 3 picks up where this hotness left off!