The 2019 Mustang Revives The 'California Special'

The 2019 Mustang will be bringing back an oldie, but a goodie, the California Special modification.

The 2019 Mustang Revives The 'California Special'

Ford is bringing back the California Special Mustang for 2019.

In the storied history of the Ford Mustang, the California Special is, well, special. Pretty much as soon as it was released, Mustangs were getting modified by enthusiasts all over the country. One such modification really caught on in California. Based on the 1967 Shelby GT, it had a blacked-out grille, racing stripes, and fog lamps. It had a few other things too, like twist-lock hood fasteners, but those were convenience upgrades for the era that don’t really make sense today.

At the time, California comprised 20 percent of all Mustang sales, so dealers there had a lot of clout. They petitioned Ford to make these modifications a limited edition car, and Ford agreed. Thus, the California Special was born.

Mustang California Special Infographic
via Ford

The California Special has been in and out of the Mustang lineup over the years, but now it seems the Mustang will become special in California once again.

The hallmarks of the California Special return on the 2019 Mustang with its signature blacked-out grille, racing stripes down the side, and fancy fog lamps. In fact, today’s fog lamps are even fancier since they’re made of LEDs.


But in 2019, a few cosmetic upgrades aren’t nearly special enough for California, so the California Special gets some performance upgrades. The 5.0-L V8 version gets rev-matching for its 6-speed manual transmission, making shifts ultra-smooth. The EcoBoost model gets the same performance exhaust system as found on the GT, making the engine noise even louder but also allowing the driver to select “good neighbor” mode to avoid getting arrested for noise complaints on their midnight cruises down the coast.

California Special
via Ford

There’s also a new B&O PLAY 12-speaker audio system with 1000 watts of screaming sound. So long as you’re in the convertible model this shouldn’t necessarily result in immediate deafening, but in the GT Fastback version, it might. User discretion is advised.

All California Specials get a set of unique 5-spoke painted machined wheels, black Miko® suede-trimmed seats, and enough GT/CS badging everywhere to convince anyone they’re actually in California even if they’re in Delaware.

There are even three new color options.

Those looking to become special will be pleased to note that the California Special will be available this summer—the absolute most perfect time.


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