A distinct U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition 2014 Ford Mustang GT has been built by engineers and designers at Ford Motor Co. The special edition will be donated by the carmaker for auction at the Gathering of Eagles charity event on Aug. 1, 2013 during the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh 2013.
Proceeds from the car donation and sale will go to the EAA Young Eagles program, which has provided free introductory flights to over 1.6 million young individuals since 1992. Ford is the exclusive automotive sponsor of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, which will be held on July 29, 2013 through Aug. 4, 2013 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Ford Mustang GT -- VIN 0001 -- marks the 60th year of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, which is considered as the fastest, multi-jet flight demonstration team in the world, flying the red-white-blue F-16 Falcon. Ford modified a 2014 Mustang GT 5.0-liter glass-roof coupe to create a design that links it to much-known Thunderbirds.
The exterior of the special edition will feature a custom white paint with red and blue accents. It will also feature markings and logos that connects it F-16 Falcon Thunderbird. Designers implemented wide body modifications and handcrafted and painted a “belly pan” to emulate the looks of the aircraft. TS Designs handcrafted the front and rear wide body elements while Creations n’ Chrome crafted the unique belly pan and applied the paint and markings.
Forgiato, on the other hand, created custom 22-inch wheels to make the special edition Mustang distinct from other cars. Inside, special edition Mustang features modified navigation screen, instrument cluster and rear seat-delete. It also boasts of Recaro seats that features embroidered Thunderbirds elements. Distinct sill plates and puddle lamps could project the aircraft silhouette when Mustang’s doors are left open.
Leading the design and engineering teams for the development of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang GT are Melvin Betancourt (Ford Design Manager) and Dave Pericak (Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer).
The Young Eagles auction is part of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala, which is an annual event that attracts more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts. The Gathering of Eagles is held in support of Young Eagles and other EAA programs that help inspire young individuals to become the aviation pioneers of tomorrow, pursuing careers as aviators, engineers, astronauts and scientists.
EAA Chairman Jack Pelton remarked that Ford has been a committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture. He added that the specialty vehicles from Ford don’t only reflect the depth of the carmaker’s commitment but they also enable EAA to support its valuable programs and dedicated members.
The US Air Force Thunderbirds Edition is the sixth of the one-off special Mustangs from Ford, as designed and engineered for the EAA Young Eagles auction. Each of these special Mustangs has spurred great excitement among aviation and automotive fans alike. For the EAA AirVenture events, sales of Ford vehicles have reached nearly $1.9 million, all of which are for supporting Young Eagles.