The car sold for around $200,000 and will benefit the EAA Young Eagles program, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.8 million young people since 1992, helping inspire and motivate the next generation of leaders, aviators and innovators.
The engineering and design teams at Ford Motor Co. led the development of the Mustang and Mangum Automotive Designs (MAD) Industries led the customization. The unique Mustang draws design cues from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the new joint forces strike fighter.
“The idea to model one of our specialty builds after the F-35 was four years in the making, under discussion even as we created the SR-71 Blackbird Mustang for auction in 2010. Just as the F35 was designed with unprecedented capabilities and versatility in mind, we felt it would be a natural fit to pair with the all-new 2015 Mustang,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford Board of Directors. “Visitors to the Ford Hangar are sure to be wowed by both the beauty of the F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang and the opportunity to get the fighter jet experience first hand.”
This one-of-a-kind muscle car is one of the first 2015 Ford Mustangs to be sold. Ford produced the concept rendering, but it was MAD Industries, which specializes in show vehicles, that brought the car into existence. Being the first to customize a car line is an honor, but it also provides unique challenges.
To start, MAD got the car nine weeks later than expected, so when its arrival spurred a frenzy of activity.
“When we got the car there was no interior and we had all the trim and pieces and all the materials selected prior, so my immediate reaction was to reach out to all my long-time partners,” said Chris Mangum, president of MAD Industries. “We reached out to all out great partners, because we can’t do this without them and said, ‘We’re gonna get an F15 Mustang that’s going to be done in a short period of time and we need to pull out all the stops because no one has had their hands on the car.'”
“We didn’t hesitate to jump at helping,” said Angie Leonetti, marketing and customer relations managerfor Madico Window Films. “We offered to provide the film for the vehicle to be added to the vehicle’s windows and we offered to pay for the labor to have that installed.
“Overall, our part might have been a small one in the grand scheme of all the modifications made to the vehicle, but we certainly believe in projects like this and we love to have our film incorporated in these very unique vehicles that get built and from the corporate ‘giving’ point of view.”
The car was disassembled to ship to various sponsors for customization, but special care was needed during the process.
“We couldn’t break anything,” Mangum of MAD Industries said. “This was a challenge, because until Ford ramps up production and has these delivered to dealers they don’t have any inventory for parts which is pretty crazy. So, when we took the glass out of the car, because there was a color change, they told us, ‘Listen, if you break any glass we’re not going to have another part.'”
The exterior is a customized glossy and matte titanium paint scheme with distinctive accents inspired by the blue and yellow lightning tail decal applied to the early production examples of the F-35. Ford is now considering the base paint color as an option for the main line of vehicles, according to Mangum. The bubble canopy of the stealthy F-35 features a distinctive gold tint designed to help minimize its radar signature-an appearance that is replicated on the windows of this Mustang.
The springs of the Mustang GT performance pack have been replaced with Eibach units for a lower ride height and the exhaust system gets larger, ceramic-coated outlets. This Mustang rolls on a set of custom 21-inch wheels by Forgiato to further differentiate it from anything else on the road. Rigid Industries LED Lighting was chosen for the underglow with eight A-Series, six in-car Dome Lights, and the front grille being the legacy E-Series LED Lights. Additional elements include a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser and rocker moldings, unique mirror skull caps and a vertically-enhanced rear spoiler.
Interior details include a modified instrument cluster, Recaro seats, custom audio system and floor mats embroidered with F-35 Lightning II elements and unique sill plates.
The contributing sponsors for the car include:
AUNDE Corp., Eibach Springs, 3dCarbon Fiber, BASF Automotive Refinish, FORD Racing, Gibson Performance Exhaust, PIRELLI Tires, Forgiato Wheels, Rigid Industries LED Lighting, sPOD Power Distribution & Switching Components, MGP Caliper Covers, LGE-Paint, Madico Window Films, PIAA Corp., APR Performance, FOCAL, The Source AV, Raceskinz, ODYSSEY Battery, Specialized Ceramic & Powder Coating.