1998 Ford Mustang

Though it saw little in the way of change, the 1998 Mustang ushered in the end of one generation and the beginning of another. Many fans of the Mustang were sad to see the end of a great generation, but there was anticipation and excitement over what was to come in the future of the Mustang.

Overall, the 1998 base model was the same as in 1996 and 1997, with cloth and leather seats available. Ford did choose to finally remove the dash clock in 1998, however, and though customers noticed the change, few really missed the clock.

As in previous years, the base model featured 15-inch rims, single tip exhaust, and “Mustang” on the rear bumper, along with the same exterior styling. A sport appearance package was offered with a tape strip on each side and polished alloy rims to give it an even sportier look.

The base model was fitted with the same 3.8-liter V6 OHV pushrod motor that had been used in the previous years combined with a T-5 manual transmission or a 4RW70 and the same 7.5-inch solid rear axle with 2.73 gears was used. Shifting was still quite slow in the upgraded transmission, however.

In 1998, the GT retained the same interior as the 1996 and 1997 models, but still had better quality seats than the base model. Despite addition of 16-inch rims, with an option to upgrade to 17-inch, and new fog lights, the exterior was very similar to previous models.

As a bonus, Ford offered a Spring Edition GT in a yellow color with 17-inch rims which looked great when they were introduced, though they are difficult to find in good condition now.

New headers were also added, which raised horsepower from 215 to 225 and provided the power to really push the car. Again, Ford used the 8.8 rear fascia along with the dual exhaust system, as well as the 2.73 gear solid rear axle with the option to upgrade to 3.27. Powered by a 4.6-liter engine, the Mustang GT was offered with a new T-45 manual transmission as well as the new 4RW70 automatic transmission to improve shifting times.

In 1998, the Cobra looked fairly similar to the base and GT models, but with a distinct front bumper, round fog lights, snake side badges and a raised hood. Special rims were also added to help it stand out even more from the base and GT models. The Cobra had 305 horsepower and 315 ft/lbs of torque to work with, and the car was fitted with 13-inch front brakes and 11-inch rear brakes to provide the braking power needed.

Fitted with a 3.8 liter V6 engine that produces 150 horsepower and 215 ft/lbs of torque, the 1998 Mustang was available as a convertible as well. The Mustang GT was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that could push out 225 horsepower and 290 ft/lbs of torque, while the Cobra and Cobra convertible had a 32 valve DOHC V8 capable of 305 horsepower. All Mustangs, with the exception of the Cobra, were coupled with either a five-speed manual or our-speed automatic overdrive transmission.

The Mustang still manages to provide all the power expected of it while remaining affordable, though the base model isn’t quite in the range of the GT and Cobra. Able to provide the power and torque to go from 0-60 in just six seconds, the new modular SOHC V8 also eliminated most of the noise present in the old 5.0-liter.

With the engine reaching 6000 rpm easily, the Borg Warner T-56 five-speed manual transmission only makes it better. The Mustang still retains the same basic 1979 chassis with a MacPherson strut suspension, antilock brakes, and a traction-lock axle to provide a smooth ride.

To contribute to the ease of driving and parking the Mustang, it features a 15 foot long body with a 100 inch wheelbase with sheet metal facades on the front, sides and rear to prevent it from looking short or stubby.

Both the GT and Cobra have fog lights as well as a raised hood to provide a sporty look, and there are both hardtop and convertible variants of the 1998 Mustang. Tinted windows, a passive anti-theft system, and keyless entry are attractive features as well. However, the stock P205/65R-15 tires only carry an H-rating; a step down from the 1997 models with a Z-rating.

Based on a vertically split instrument panel seen in 1964, the interior design of the 1998 Mustang features two individual rounded coves in front of the driver and passenger seats. With well-placed analog controls on the driver’s side and a glove compartment and airbag on the passenger side, the instrument panel is easy to use and doesn’t require the driver to take their eyes off the road. To add to convenience, the console offers two cup holders in addition to an ashtray, and the 1998 interior saw the integration of the dashboard clock into the radio display.

Both the front and the back of the Mustang featured bucket seats and as always, the front of the car offers plenty of room for the driver and passenger to be comfortable. Though the back seat is a little cramped, there is still room for smaller passengers, and it features a fold-down rear seat to allow more things to fit in the trunk as well.

Despite its wide price range, the 1998 Mustang remained very affordable. A good buy for entry-level buyers as well as those looking for a luxury sports car, Mustang prices range from $20,650 to $28,510.

Though it wasn’t changed much from the years before, the 1998 model year still was a truly refined vehicle that buyers respected. Equally at home on the racetrack or running errands to the grocery store, the 1998 Mustang offered customers the perfect balance of style, affordability, and comfort.

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    Posted by on August 15, 2006