The 1996 Mustang

Changes in the engine compartment of the 1996 Mustang were a turning point, which proved to be positive, yet for many at the time, appeared like they might be a step backwards.


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Ford's new modular engine, first appeared in the 1991 Lincoln Town Car and were designed to be smooth free revving overhead cam engines in cylinder designations up to a V10 for the truck market.

Pony car performance enthusiasts didn't know what to do. If all you wanted was a factory performance 1996 Mustang, the 4.6 liter V8 was still fitting the bill, with its same as last year 215 horse power.

The SVT Cobra crowd did even better. Its new 4.6 liter aluminum
DOHC (dual over head cam) engine put out 305 horse power,which was 5 hp more than the previous year's Cobra R.

The real problem was with the hot rodders. The tried and true 5.0 liter V8 had plenty of cheap performance parts available to easily kick up performance.

On the other hand, the new modular V8 was a clean sheet of paper and a vacuum filled the space where the performance parts should have been. But as they say "nature abhors a vacuum" and aftermarket performance parts for the 1996 Mustang didn't take long to materialize.

Whether this was the reason, or customers just had enough of Ford's limited yearly changes, sales slumped by 50,000 cars to just over 135,000,

Exterior Changes

Body wise, there were few changes to the 96 pony car. A retro honeycomb grille was added and the rear tail lights were re oriented to the original vertical.

The only other significant change was that of one particular paint package available on 1,999 of the SVT Cobras called Mystic.

This was a paint that color shifted at different angles in the light. It was produced using Chroma Flair pigment which mimics the way light works on soap bubbles, producing a spectrum of reflected color.

This was a color combination you just couldn't miss, which also started showing up on other cars, as paint manufacturers got on board with this cool show car look.

Interior Changes

The interior for the 1996 mustang remained virtually unchanged, which wasn't really a bad thing, as it was still a fresh looking design.

Engine and Power Train

A total of three engine combinations were available for 1996. The base engine was the same 3.8 liter V6, with its output upped by 5 horsepower to 150.

The GT featured the 4.6 liter sohc V8 rated at 215 horse power, which was the same number posted by the previous year's 5.0 liter V8.

The hot rod motor, which was only available in the SVT Mustang Cobra was an aluminum DOHC V8 with 305 horse power at the flick of the gas pedal.

Transmission choices were the 5 speed manual T5OD and the 5 speed manual T45OD, plus a 4 speed automatic.

Performance in the quarter mile was just a tick off 13 seconds. Pretty quick company for a factory stock car!

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