While Ford has very nearly covered the full gamut of great Mustang models of yore with remastered editions for today—and promised to resurrect the vaunted Mach 1 as some kind of electric crossover—the carmaker has found another name to bring back into play for its pony car: the GT California Special.
Also known as the GT/CS, the original iteration debuted in 1968 with the contemporary Shelby GT350’s full-width taillights, sweet stripes, and other minor tweaks, and the name has been used at various other times throughout the Mustang’s history. The 2019 Mustang GT California Special benefits from a familiar treatment, although because today’s Shelby GT350 and regular Mustangs share rear-end styling, the GT/CS lacks unique taillights.
The ’19 California Special—which will be available both as a coupe and as a convertible—also has special split-five-spoke wheels, body-side stripes that fade just before they reach the faux intakes aft of each door, the Mustang Performance package’s front splitter, a blacked-out grille, and GT/CS trunk badging. The interior makeover is subtler, with black microsuede-covered seats wearing embroidered GT/CS logos and contrasting red-colored stitching. For an extra ’60s-tastic touch, Ford added California Special script lettering to the passenger side of the dashboard.
Ford simultaneously announced a few welcome updates to the rest of the Mustang lineup for 2019. Turbocharged, four-cylinder EcoBoost Mustangs are now available with the dual-mode exhaust introduced on the 2018 GT, while every stick-shift GT now has computerized rev-matching functionality for downshifts. Audiophiles—or fans of just plain loudness—can look forward to the B&O Play audio system slowly proliferating through Ford’s lineup; in the ’19 Mustang, the optional setup features 1000 watts of output, a 10-channel amplifier, and 12 speakers. New paint colors including Velocity Blue and Need for Green join the Mustang’s palette, too.