We hold these truths to be self-evident: the inevitability of a special edition Mustang painted to look like its American fighter equivalent—hell, the inevitability of a special edition Mustang—will always be commercially viable.
In this regard, the 2013 Ford Mustang Red Tails Edition will probably walk away from the auction block a success. Built by Ford, it’s designed to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots in World War II. They flew P-51 Mustangs, hence the connection. And over the course of about two years the “Red Tails” flew 15,533 sorties against German and Italian forces, downing 112 airplanes and paving the way for the invasion of Sicily and escorting bombing raids deep into Germany itself.
Their exploits are well-known at this point. A blockbuster movie produced by George Lucas hammered that point home earlier this year. And likewise, the Mustang’s tie-in with the Airmen themselves is on a superficial level.
Still, the Mustang is playing that for all it’s worth. It’s painted up in a sleek silver, with a red stripe in the rear that covers the spoiler—Red Tails, get it? The doors get stuck with Air Force roundels, and dummy exhaust pipes hang below the front wheels. The original P-51 Mustang was capable of producing 2,218 horsepower from a supercharged Packard 27-liter V-12 engine. This Mustang might not reach that figure, but it does feature a Ford Racing Whipple supercharger for its 5.0-liter V-8. Though you could fit a V-12 in a Mustang; it’s been done before.
A full Ford Racing suspension, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch Forgiato wheels complement the power. The interior gets Recaro seats and requisite badging.
This is Ford’s fifth straight year building a car for charity: the auction benefits the Experimental Aircraft Association and its Young Eagles program, designed to get kids into doing cool stuff with airplanes, including free flying lessons. When it goes up for auction on July 26th at the EAA AirVenture show, it might bring in as much as $400,000–because that’s what last year’s Blue Angels-themed Mustang sold for. That’s a lot of kids with cooler summer vacation stories than you.