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Go ahead, wave a flag / Ford Mustang GT convertible

Detroit's share of the U.S. market is at a historic low and no one knows how far it can drop. Where do American manufacturers go from here? Two homegrown hits point the way. Smart, expressive styling with heart and heritage may prove to be the automakers' salvation. As an industry analyst puts it: "Delight or die."

March 02, 2005|DAN NEIL

Complaints? As enamored as I am with the outside, I don't think the Mustang interior wears very well. While it's the very model of retro specificity -- with the deep-dish gauges inside chrome bezels and textured aluminum all over the dash -- the plastic and rubbery bits look and feel pretty cheap. Maybe not a problem in a $20,000 Mustang, but in the $30,000 convertible, it all feels like a lost opportunity for a premium experience.

Small stuff. This is a terrific car, worthy of the beer blessings of Mustang club enthusiasts from L.A. to Latrobe (please don't drink and drive). The Mustang convertible means that, for now, and in at least one part of gloomy Detroit, the sun is shining.



2005 Mustang GT convertible

Price, as tested: $34,080

Powertrain: 4.6-liter, overhead-cam V8, with variable valve timing; five-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 300 at 5,750 rpm

Torque: 320 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm

Curb weight: 3,500 (est.)

0-60: 5.5 seconds (est.)

EPA fuel economy: 17 miles per gallon city, 25 highway

Wheelbase: 107 inches

Overall length: 188 inches

Final thoughts: See Biscuit

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