Not only did 1994 mark the 30th anniversary of the Ford Mustang; it also ushered in the fourth generation of the car. The ’94 Mustang was built on a new SN-95 Platform. Of the vehicle’s 1,850 parts, Ford reported that 1,330 had changed. The new Mustang looked different, and it drove differently as well. Structurally, it was engineered to be stiffer. Ford offered two engine options, the 3.8L V-6 engine and the 5.0L V-8 engine. Later in the year Ford released the redesigned SVT Mustang Cobra, which sported a 5.0L V-8 engine capable of generating 240 hp. The vehicle was featured as the official Indianapolis 500 pace car for the third time in history. Coupe and convertible models continued to be available options, while the hatchback body style was dropped from the Mustang lineup.
This was the last year Ford used the 5.0L V-8 in the Mustang. In future models, Ford incorporated a 4.6L engine. In 1995, Ford released a stripped down version of the GT Mustang, named the GTS. It featured all the performance parts of the GT without the flashy styling accessories such as fog lights, leather seating, and power doors and windows.
For the first time in history, Mustang GTs and Cobras were equipped with a 4.6L modular V-8 engine instead of the long used 5.0L V-8. The Cobra version featured a 4.6L dual-overhead cam (DOHC) aluminum V-8, which produced approximately 305 hp. The GTS Mustang remained in the lineup, although the model name changed from GTS to 248A.
In 1997, Ford's Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) became a standard feature on all Mustangs. The system was designed to protect against drive away theft through the use of an electronically coded ignition key.
Although there were very few changes to the Mustang in 1998, the GT version received a power upgrade as the 4.6L V-8 engine increased to 225 hp. Ford also offered a ‘Sports’ package in ’98, featuring black racing stripes. This was the last year for the round-body Mustang. Although the SN-95 Platform would continue to be used, the overall body style of the Mustang would change the following year.
Many people mistake the 1999 model lineup as the launch of a new generation Mustang. Although the body style changed significantly, the Mustang was still based on the SN-95 Platform. The redesigned "New Edge" Mustang, which coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Mustang, featured sharp design lines and an aggressive stance in addition to a new grille, hood, and lamps. Both engines received power upgrades. The 3.8L V-6 increased in horsepower to 190 hp, while the 4.6L DOHC V-8 was capable of producing 320 hp.
In 2000, Ford released the third version of the SVT Mustang Cobra R. In all, only 300 units were produced. This street legal Mustang featured a 385 hp, 5.4L DOHC V-8 engine. It was also the first Mustang to ever feature a six-speed manual transmission.
Ford released the special-edition Mustang Bullitt GT in 2001. The car was based on the 1968 Mustang GT-390 driven by Steve McQueen in the movie "Bullitt". In all, an estimated 6,500 units were produced. Enthusiasts placed their orders for this vehicle long before they became available to dealerships. Those who waited until the model-year launch had a difficult time locating the Bullitt GT. The vehicle was only offered in Dark Highland Green. It featured a lowered suspension, a brushed-aluminum gas cap, and a "Bullitt" badge on the rear panel.
There was no doubting it; the rising popularity of SUVs had resulted in fewer sales of American sports cars. In 2002, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird both ended production of their sports cars. The Ford Mustang was the sole survivor.
The Mustang Mach 1 returned to the Mustang lineup in 2003. It featured a ram-air “Shaker” hood scoop and a V-8 engine capable of producing 305 hp.
Meanwhile, Ford released a SVT Mustang Cobra that featured an Eaton supercharger for its 4.6L V-8 engine. Horsepower was upped to 390, which resulted in the fastest production Mustang at that time. Many enthusiasts note that Ford’s Cobra horsepower figure is inaccurate. It’s been widely reported that many stock Cobras were capable of outputting between 410 and 420 hp.
In 2004, Ford produced its 300 millionth car – a 2004 Mustang GT convertible 40th Anniversary edition. In honor of this milestone, the company offered an Anniversary package which was available on all V-6 and GT models. The package featured a Crimson Red exterior with Arizona Beige Metallic racing stripes on the hood.
Unfortunately, this was the last year the Mustang was produced at Ford’s Dearborn Assembly Plant. It was reported that 6.7 million of the 8.3 million total Mustangs ever produced, at the time, were produced at Dearborn Assembly.