2009 Ford Glass Roof Mustang – No not Fastback… ‘Glassback’1
The first Mustangs rolled off the assembly line and into American hearts and driveways mid-way-through 1964. Introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair in April with a price tag of $2300 Ford sold more than 417,000 in its first year. Needless to say, it was a success right off the bat. It was the right package at the right price and it was on it’s way to becoming an American icon.
Since then, nearly 9 million Mustangs have been sold and today the Mustang has remained one of Ford’s bright spots in their lineup. With retro styling and variants like the Bullitt, Warrior in Pink, Shelby GT500 and GT500KR (not to mention the rumored Boss or Mach 1 on the way) the Mustang remains very popular. With these ‘halo’ variants and long history and heritage the image and Mustang name still resonate with the young and old alike.
The older technology (it’s live rear axle and long lived 4.6L V8) doesn’t concern its owners and even frustrates the competition (e.g. those working on the Camaro and Challenger). But it means the Mustang is inexpensive to build and Ford can keep the prices low (so low in fact Chrysler is said to have given up on building a base V6 version of the Challenger). In the next couple years we can expect the Mustang to drag some red herrings across the Camaro and Challenger stable. One red herring is on display at the 2008 Detroit auto show, the 2009 Mustang ‘Glassback’.
Selling Sunshine at Half the Price
Taking the classic fastback look of the Mustang coupe and adding a glass roof brings both natural light or open-air benefits to the lineup. The glass roof stretches from the A to B pillar and really opens up the interior.
Ford is committed to keeping Mustang news fresh every year and decided to expand its option list in 2009 for both their V-6 and GT Mustangs. No longer is just a hardtop or convertible your only option. No longer will sun worshipers have to compromise their hairdo or climate controlled environment. In the summer of 2009 a glass roof alternative will be made available at $1995 without compromising the coupe’s versatility, headroom or exterior aesthetics. That’s half the price of the jump from coupe to convertible and half the fuss over your girlfriend’s hair…
Straight From Ford
Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, Global Product Development said, “As the automotive landscape becomes increasingly competitive, features such as a panoramic glass roof will help differentiate our products from the competition.” And he’s right. This will help direct some attention towards the Mustang while the Camaro and Challenger debut (at least until the Mustang gets it’s facelift in 2010).
Safety and Sun Damage
When thinking about ‘Targa’ tops or glass roofs I automatically think about some of the negatives; interior deterioration, squeaks, leaks, skin cancer and accidents. Interior deterioration, squeaks and leaks because I keep my vehicles a very long-time, skin cancer because don’t have much melanin in my skin and accidents because I really needed to find some way to talk about safety glass.
Ford has done their homework, performed a battery of tests, and put to bed most of my preconceived negative notions about their Mustang having this glass roof option. As for my interior deterioration, ‘squeaks’ and rattles phobia the specially formulated glass roof is made of tinted privacy glass with a layer of vinyl. The tint helps to protect the interior from fading or cracking by reducing light transmittance and infrared rays. The vinyl layer reduces NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) while improving acoustics and interior quietness. The glass roof also has a built in manual roller blind to further control exposure on sunny days.
Regarding leaks Ford has already run the production-level prototypes through rigorous water, air, and durability tests. The glass itself is constructed out of safety glass, which shatters just like most automotive glass; it shatters without sharp or jagged edges.
Although I’m not sure how many Glassback Mustangs Ford wants to sell or will sell, they seem optimistic, claiming production of large sunroofs is on the rise; increasing nearly 200% in North America since 2003 (notice there were no volume numbers). Regardless, it does offer what tends to be a premium option from premium brands to prospective buyers in a fun, much more attainable package, the Mustang. Not to mention it helps to bring more attention to the Mustang and that also means attention may be drawn away from the Camaro and Challenger.
The Mustang sold 134,626 units in 2007 (according to Automotive News).