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The emblem of a blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is shown in close-up.

The Rebellion of a Dark Horse: How Ford’s Newest Mustang Proves the Pony Car Lives On

Henry Ford thought outside the box, refusing to accept the status quo. Despite several failed automobile companies, Ford persevered and finally succeeded with the Ford Motor Company and the Model T. Even then, he argued he didn’t invent the automobile but was the first to put the right components together and make cars affordable for the masses. At $850 for a new Model T, Ford gave drivers something no one else had yet to offer, expanding our horizons in the process.

The Model T’s success didn’t hinder Ford’s ingenuity, with the automaker constantly looking for ways to improve the design, reduce its price, and attract more buyers. Nothing was off the table (except for a Model T in anything other than black), with Ford once challenging his son, Henry Alexander Jr., to drive a Model T to the summit of the Scottish Highlands in the British Isles. With his allowance at stake, Henry Jr. accomplished the feat, returning to the Ford dealership in Edinburgh and forever sealing the brand’s fate on British soil. As Ford wraps up production on the 2023 Ford Mustang, let’s discuss what the 2024 model has to offer.

The Mustang and modern marvels like the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse embody the automaker’s ingenuity and willingness to think outside the box like Henry Ford. The Mustang, which debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair, was developed on a shoestring budget to attract young drivers to the brand. While it accomplished that feat, it also marked the birth of the pony car. Today, the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse expands that legacy as a pony car, but it also embodies Ford’s ongoing efforts to defy convention. In an industry on an all-electric trajectory, the Dark Horse roars to life as the most potent track-ready sports car with a 5.0L V8 under the hood. Henry Ford would undoubtedly be pleased.

A blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has a 2023 Ford Mustang for sale.

Who Said Gas-Powered Pony Cars Are Dead?

Car enthusiasts balk at the idea of electric vehicles because it’s hard to imagine a sports car without the iconic rumble of a gas-powered engine or the thrill of harnessing its power as you manually shift gears, engaging the clutch and perfectly timing the move from fourth to fifth gear or down to third. Electric vehicles are notoriously quiet, so quiet that automakers must create synthetic sounds that mimic an engine for safety reasons. Some are attempting to mimic the rumble of a pony car, but enthusiasts argue it isn’t the same. It almost borders on sacrilegious.

The industry’s transition into an all-electric future has caused quite a stir, especially after Dodge announced the end of its gas-powered Charger and Challenger in 2023. The Last Call models mark the end of a chapter, with many arguing that Dodge sealed its fate by halting production to work on all-electric alternatives. It also led many to question the future of models like the Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette. The big question is, “Will everyone follow Dodge’s lead?”

Henry Ford finally found his footing in the industry when he went against the grain by making automobiles affordable. The Ford Motor Company continues that tradition with the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, proving that gas-powered pony cars aren’t dead. Dodge can stop production, but Ford continues to give us what we want. In doing so, the American automotive pioneer also calms our nerves and eases our worries about the future of the pony car. For many, that feeling is priceless.

Why Have Only One When You Can Have Six?

The 2024 Mustang Dark Horse speaks volumes about the Ford Motor Company. It showcases Ford’s keen awareness of and commitment to its customer base. This awareness is ingrained in the company, with Henry Ford recognizing the high cost of the early automobile and designing the Model T to ensure it was affordable and accessible to drivers across America. With the Dark Horse, Ford waves a flag that says, “We see you. We hear you. We have an answer.”

The answer is the Dark Horse and its five siblings, all track-ready with a penchant for speed and a rebellious streak. Why stop at one when you can have six powerhouses that prove your point and take the world’s breath away with their incredible capability? The street-legal Dark Horse is Ford’s first answer, rolling off the production line with a uniquely tuned chassis, MagneRide shocks, Brembo brakes, a Torsen rear differential, Pirelli P ZERO tires, and a host of performance components. It’s also powered by the legendary 5.0L Coyote V8 engine, which Ford pairs with a six-speed Tremec manual transmission to give you complete control over the Dark Horse’s power.

The Mustang family grows exponentially with the Dark Horse S, Dark Horse R, Mustang GT3, Mustang GT4, and additional Mustang models destined for the NASCAR Cup, Australian Supercars series, and NHRA Factory X racing. The Dark Horse S strips the street-legal Dark Horse and readies it for the track, adding an FIA-certified safety cage, safety nets, a racing steering wheel with quick disconnect, electrical disconnects, a fire suppression system, upgraded brakes, and a racing seat with safety belts. The Dark Horse R includes these features but boasts a higher-strength build because of its strategic seam welding. It also rolls off the production floor with Ford Performance Parts wheels. Finally, Ford wraps up the new Mustang family with the GT3 IMSA race car, which will feature the 5.4L Coyote-based V8 and the Mustang GT4.

A blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is shown from the rear at an angle.

The View From the Top

An integral part of the new Mustang lineup, from the street-legal Dark Horse to its track-ready counterparts, is Ford’s ongoing efforts to prove the pony car isn’t destined to the same fate as its rivals. Instead, Ford has spent the last three years pouring every ounce of ingenuity into the pony car, taking components from the beloved Shelby, fine tuning the Coyote V8 engine, and developing cutting-edge features. Moreover, Ford is giving everyone access to this ingenuity, remaining true to its heritage by making this level of performance more accessible. As Ford puts it, “When you introduce a new series like the Dark Horse, you want it to be at the top.”

There’s no question the Dark Horse sits at the top of the pony car lineup, refusing to go the way of its rivals. But, more importantly, Ford isn’t dangling the proverbial carrot to appease us by extending the Mustang’s life for a few years with the Dark Horse. Instead, the automaker outlines its trajectory and intention to maintain the Mustang legacy. The distinction is critical, especially in an industry with all eyes on electric power.

The Mustang has continuously made history on the world stage since the 1960s, upsetting rivals by offering exceptional power and capability. With the Dark Horse and its siblings, Ford gives us the means to not only drive a piece of history but make history behind the wheel. By giving everyday Americans an opportunity to get in the driver’s seat and experience the ingenuity that’s defined the Ford lineup since the 1900s, Ford isn’t simply defying convention and rebelling against an all-electric future. Instead, Ford is living up to its heritage, serving as a prime example of Henry Ford’s vision and lifelong commitment to offering drivers what they want without compromise.

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