In the late spring of 1995 I was returning from my freshman year of college. At 19, I’d made good marks and even gotten on the dean’s list my first semester. So, when I returned from New England after that first year I had earned some credibility with dear-old-dad and figured I might be able to convince him to help me squeeze in to the cheapest V-8 muscle car.
Ford, at the time, had just redesigned the body and suspension of the Mustang, sticking the label SN-95 on this new platform. In the preceding decade, the previous Mustang had a low-end body trim for the V-6 (LX) and a nicer one for vehicles equipped with the 302 cid pushrod small-block V8 (GT).
The bigger, nicer, V8 body style was much heavier than that which was designed for the V6 models. But, there was one options package you could get that used the lighter V6 body style, but with the big V-8’s suspension, brakes, drivetrain and powerplant.
It was the vehicle that was sold to the California Highway Patrol as a Police Interceptor.
It was the LX 5.0.
When the fourth generation Mustang was introduced Ford served up the same concept. The V-8 model class was now known as the Mustang GT; for two years its new lightweight cousin was in a class by itself, separate from the LX, GT and SVT Cobra: it was called the Mustang GTS.
And 24 hours after taking it home, I christened it in what was really the only way appropriate – a drive up to San Francisco on US 101.