What happens when you want to celebrate and pay tribute to the coolest aviation icons in a four-wheeled package? You come up with something like the Ford Mustang GT Apollo Edition.
Grab any young boy on the streets and ask him to name his coolest jobs in the world. Chances are, "fighter pilot” or "astronaut” are going to be right there at the top. Unfortunately, getting into the aerospace industry isn’t easy, which is where the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) comes in, a non-profit organization of aviation enthusiasts whose youth education programmes have provided free introductory flights to more than 1.9 million kids since 1992.
Ford Motor Company, as automotive sponsor of EAA's AirVenture Oshkosh air show, has been doing its part to help inspire children to become the next generation of aviation pioneers: since 2009 the company has been producing one-off Mustangs to be auctioned off at AirVenture Oshkosh - the largest annual aviation event in the world — with proceeds benefiting EAA's youth programmes.
For 2015, Ford’s creation was inspired by the Apollo space programme - one of mankind’s most ambitious undertakings that eventually saw humans walk on the moon. Using a 2015 Mustang GT as a base, Ford's engineering and design teams set to work creating a fitting tribute to the various spacecraft used by NASA over the years.
The exterior of the Mustang GT Apollo Edition features a glossy white and black paint scheme with vertical "USA" decals that hark back to the Saturn V rockets used in the day, as well as a massive carbonfibre front splitter, side skirts and rear wing. Finally, 21-inch Forgiato rims and underbody LEDs that symbolize the heat of atmospheric re-entry complete the look.
To make the Mustang feel a little bit more like a rocketship, the Apollo Edition is fitted with a Ford Racing supercharger and X-pipe with side and rear exhaust outlets which together help churn out an impressive 627bhp and 732Nm, while sports suspension and six-pot Brembo brakes help ensure the car doesn’t take actually flight like a real spaceship.
The theme continues inside the cabin, with exclusive interior details such as performance gauges, a modified instrument cluster, unique sill plates and embroidered elements in the seats, trim panels and floor mats helping to remind the driver of the Apollo Edition's mission.
The auction of this special Mustang will be the pinnacle of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The event annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of EAA youth education programs, which inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators - the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
The Mustang Apollo Edition joins seven previous custom Mustangs previously created for auctions in support of EAA youth education, which have collectively managed to raise almost US$3 million to this date.