We're all well aware of the fact that cultures differ from country to country. They usually include customs and traditions, but ever since the introduction of the automobile, that, too, has become an essential part of what we define as a culture. The Europeans are famous for creating all sorts of supercars and luxury vehicles, but then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have the Americans who have perfect the art of the muscle car.
The whole idea behind muscle cars was not to go super fast or put a really nice lap around the track. These were all about raw power, and there's just something about that that makes muscle cars super exciting. You have your Camaro and the Dodge Challenger, but there really isn't a more iconic muscle car out there than the Ford Mustang. It started out in 1964, and since then, Ford has been able to sell millions of these, which is proof of just how famous these cars really are. With such a rich history, there have been numerous iterations of the Mustang which is why here, we've put together a list of 19 of the nicest-looking and best-performing Mustangs that have been created over the years.
19 2008 Mustang Bullitt
Mustangs have a rich history when it comes to being featured in Hollywood films. Perhaps, that's one of the reasons why they’ve become such an icon in the world of muscle and performance cars.
The nickname "Bullitt" for this particular Mustang wasn’t picked out by Ford. No, instead it was named after the movie Bullitt starring Steve McQueen.
During the events of the film, McQueen can be seen driving a Mustang GT Fastback, a car that many have dreamed of having one day. In commemoration of the movie, Ford decided to release a one-of-a-kind Mustang in 2008 featuring the same paint scheme as the one in the movie. Since then, it's become a collector’s item, and they usually go for a lot of money, but there's no denying the fact that it’s one of the nicest-looking Mustangs around.
18 1970 Grabber Blue
During the time back in 1970, Grabber Blue was a very popular color scheme with car enthusiasts, especially the Mustang owners. The Grabber wasn’t a particular model for the Mustang; instead, it was a complete styling package.
The most notable thing about the Grabber Blue Mustang models was that they featured a very sleek and reflective stripe on the side of the car.
There wasn’t much that the car would need in terms of styling after that. Now, this definitely might not be for you if you hate the color blue, but there's no denying the fact that a 1970 Boss 302 or a Mach 1 will definitely turn heads if driven around with this color scheme. Also, they’re super rare nowadays, which says a lot about how famous the Grabber package was.
17 Sprint 200 Special
The year 1966 marked quite a few milestones for Ford and, more specifically, the Mustang. It was only two years since the car was first introduced to the market that Ford managed to sell a whopping one million Mustangs during that time period, an impressive feat if you ask us.
To commemorate this landmark, Ford released a Mustang Sprint 200 Special model.
The "200" here referred to the 200 cubic-inch straight-six put into the car. At that time, the V6 version of the Mustang was the only one that was selling under the $2,500 mark, making it quite affordable for a lot of people, which is why the majority of Ford’s effort was being put into pushing the V6 model.
16 1966 High Country Special
The Sprint 200 Special wasn’t the only special-edition Mustang that came out in 1966. No, in fact, it wasn’t even the first one. Before it was the 1966 Mustang High Country Special.
Now, this car was special (no pun intended) for two big reasons. One, it was the first Mustang to be introduced as a special edition which paved the way for the release of future special edition Mustangs, providing customers with a plethora of customization options and two, it was the first Mustang to be released as a regional special. Yes, you read that right. The 1966 High Country Special could be bought only in Colorado, and it wasn't available in any other state. This has also made it highly collectible and rare over the years.
15 1987 ASC McLaren
The ASC McLaren is a rare piece of Ford’s history from the 1980s. Back then, the dealers would advertise it as a ‘Ford Mustang McLaren,’ and this really would gain the attention of people because... why not?
For the longest time, McLaren has been famous for creating one of most amazing performance cars in the world, and not only that; they’ve proved their mettle in the world of Formula racing. This is why the entire idea of creating a Mustang with ASC’s McLaren tag was enticing for the Ford execs. The thing that makes the ASC McLaren really great is that instead of a top that would flap around in the wind, it would be neatly tucked under a hardcover, making it work just like the Mercedes SL at that time.
14 1969 Grande
The 1969 Mustang is an all-time favorite. It's still the dream car for a lot of people, including us as well. One of the reasons for this was that it was a newer generation of the Mustang, and boy... did it look stunning.
The body was heftier, making it look even more masculine than it already was, and it obviously weighed more as well. Even crazier is the fact that the 1969 was the first model to feature quad headlamps. Still, at the end of the day, the Mustang was a muscle car, and luxury really wasn’t its strong suit. The folks over at Ford realized this and decided that there was definitely a niche for luxury muscle cars, and thus, the Grande was born. It featured a much softer ride, and the interior was lined up with a wood trim, exuding a sense of finesse and luxury.
13 1971 Shelby Europa
While the Mustang quickly gained popularity in the United States, the same couldn’t be said for Europe. The Europeans certainly took their time in getting warmed up to the idea of a muscle car. For them, these vehicles were brash, loud, and couldn’t really corner that well when compared to a European performance vehicle.
It wasn’t until 1970 that a Belgian Mustang owner and fanatic, Claude Dubois, reached out to Carroll Shelby with the intent of licensing the car for sale inside Europe. What ended up being created as a result was the Shelby Europa, and only 14 of these were ever created, with nine of them being sold in Scandinavia. The Shelby Europa definitely looked cool and, because of its limited numbers, became an incredibly rare car.
12 Unique Performance GT500E Eleanor
As we've already mentioned in one of our previous posts, Hollywood has always had a special relationship with the Mustang—which brings us to the Eleanor, the beautiful Mustang featured in the movie, Gone In 60 Seconds.
Soon after, in 2002, Shelby set out on the task to recreate this beauty from the movie. The license for it was given out to Unique Performance, a company that didn’t really have a great track record of reliability. Still, they managed to pull this one off quite perfectly—one might say that even though there were still problems with many people still not receiving their car even to this day despite it costing more than $100,000. Though Unique Performance was eventually shut down, their GT500E would remain as one of the best-looking Mustangs out there.
11 Shelby Terlingua
Ask any true Mustang enthusiast, and they'll tell you to stay away from that V6 engine. After all, the true essence of a muscle car is in that roaring V8, the rumble of which people can tell from a mile away.
Still, this doesn’t mean that the V6 is a slouch by any means. Well, the stock V6 might not be as impressive as a V8, but the Shelby Terlingua is no joke. The car wears its V6 badge with pride. This engine produces a whopping 375 horsepower with the help of a turbocharger, and that’s not all. It's also been outfitted with a race-prepped suspension developed with help from Ford Racing, which means that performance on the track is also top notch. Instead of the regular Mustang pony, the Shelby Terlingua features the image of an evil rabbit that's been aptly named "Lucifer."
10 2011 SMS 302
Saleen Performance Vehicles are known all over the world for creating some of the craziest and insane performance vehicles of all time. Steve Saleen was at the core of this great company at one point, but since then, he's left to start off a new company called "SMS."
Despite Saleen’s departure from the former company, he still carries the passion for creating some really high-end Mustangs. Because of this, he came up with the tuned 302, which turned out to be a beast in its own right. If you wanted to buy the model without a supercharger, you’d get access to 440 horsepower, which is quite a lot, but if you somehow still weren’t satisfied, then you could always get the supercharged one, which could produce a mind-boggling 535 horsepower. Talk about raw strength...
9 2011 California Special
The 1966 High Country Special Mustang paved way for region-specific vehicles which would usually always be available in one state. Since then, California has had its fair share of region-special Mustangs over the years, but if we had to choose one, then it would definitely be the 2011 California Special.
It came with a 5.0-liter engine under the hood, but the real treat was on the inside of the car.
The interior featured a sleek carbon finish on the door handles, while the dashboard and the seats were given the royal leather treatment. It was all about luxury on the inside and exotic looks on the outside. The Grabber Blue package was also available for those who wanted to go along with a more '80s-styled theme.
8 2004 40th-Anniversary Mustang
The year 2004 marked the 40th anniversary of the iconic American muscle car. This would also be the year when Ford would produce its 300 millionth Mustang, which was quite a feat in itself.
Lots of special options for those who were looking to buy a Mustang were introduced during this time. For starters, an $895 option would get you a specialized 40th-Anniversary badging and floor mats, but that wasn’t all. A new Crimson Red color scheme was also introduced, and only 4,558 of these models were ever produced. The 2004 models also marked the end of the Mustang design at the time since a new generation was introduced in 2005. A select number of the 40th Anniversary vehicles were also offered in a Screaming Yellow color scheme, which is why they’re rare nowadays.
7 2008 Stinger Edition
If you were a fan of the special-edition Mustangs, then 2008 would’ve definitely been the year for you. This was the time around which many of these editions were announced, and it wasn’t only a color scheme that you would get with one of them. Instead, each edition also featured a special exhaust or wheels, such as in the case of the Stinger edition.
Both the wheels and the front grille were designed Billet-style, and aluminum panels were added all around the car. The interior was also pretty premium, featuring ostrich leather, something that's used in only some of the most expensive luxury cars on the planet. Both the seats and the internal styling proved that a luxury muscle car wasn’t that ridiculous of an idea.
6 2003 Centennial Edition
While 2004 was the year when Ford had marked the 40th anniversary of the Mustang, the automobile manufacturer’s own production for their first vehicles had been going on for much longer. In 2003, Ford had officially been around for a hundred years.
This meant that the company decided to release Centennial editions for most of the vehicles in its lineup. This obviously also included the Mustang. The Centennial edition of this classic muscle car was adorned with badges representing the 100th anniversary, but not only that; it also featured a sleek Verona-grain leather interior and was only available in an extremely cool-looking black. A 4.6-liter V8 was placed under the hood, and the car was outfitted with specially built 17-inch alloy rims.
5 2009 Saleen Dark Horse
Whenever Saleen undertakes a project and especially when it's that of a Mustang, they never disappoint. By this point in time, they definitely have their success formula all figured out, and they know exactly what it is that they need to do to make a Mustang go fast.
For the 2009 Dark Horse, one of the most impressive engines by Saleen at the time, which was a 620-horsepower V8, was put under the hood.
Handling wasn’t compromised either. Combine that with the excellent Dark Horse styling on the outside, and you have the perfect Mustang package. No wonder it ended up costing a whopping $89,000 since Saleen put in a lot of effort into making sure that this Mustang would stand out in a crowd.
4 1968 Shelby GT500 Police Interceptor
The really cool part about a car becoming a police vehicle is that it gets to add the "Interceptor" tag as part of its name. One could argue that driving a police interceptor would definitely be one of the coolest things that you could do since you’d get to drive fast and turn on those flashy lights, but there really isn’t any point to this if you’re driving a Crown Vic.
This is where the Shelby GT500 Police Interceptor comes in. It's way ahead on the cool-factor scale than anything the Crown Vic could possibly offer. Not only that; it also has the performance to back up those looks, and it's definitely a car that you don't want to see in your rearview mirror.
3 2006 Shelby GT-H
This 2006 Shelby GT was a Hertz-specific model. Back in 1966, you could walk into a Hertz location and rent yourself a beautiful Shelby GT350H, all at the cost of $17 a day, which might’ve been a bit expensive back in the day, but you were renting a powerful Mustang, for crying out loud.
Ford and Shelby decided to launch a sequel to this by debuting a new GT350H at the New York auto show in April of 2006. All of these vehicles came with the classic GT-H black color along with the gold-stripe styling on the vehicle. The GT badges were also replaced with the Hertz badge, and it was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 325 horsepower, which would be more than enough for your weekend speed thrill.
2 2015 Shelby Super Snake
There are fast Mustangs, there are really fast Mustangs, and then, there are those that are absolutely brutal when it comes to speed. The Shelby Super Snake is a name that instills both fear and thrill into the heart of anyone who dares to sit behind the wheel.
The 2015 Super Snake produces—wait for it—a mind-blowing 800 horsepower.
We’d suggest giving yourself a minute to let that sink in. It also looks really nice, but even more crazy is the fact that it's packed to the brim with everything that you’d need to make yourself go faster. It's not a case of more speed but bad handling. No, this is the exact opposite. Shelby has gone the extra length to ensure that there's no compromise on the handling bit since 800 horsepower is no joke. This is probably why it also costs $90,000.
1 1965 Mustang Fastback
You couldn’t really find a more iconic Mustang out there. The 1965 Fastback is one the reasons why Mustangs are the way that they are today, an icon for the American muscle car, which is now revered throughout the world.
Back in 1965, the Fastback was launched with a powerful engine, but it really wouldn’t have mattered if the car didn’t look fast, and that's one thing that the Fastback pulled off extremely well. Just look at that picture above—it's just aesthetically so pleasing. This is also one of the reasons why it's enjoyed a presence in popular media throughout the years. For us, we’d definitely put a black 1965 Mustang Fastback as hands down one of the best-looking Mustangs out there.