WE all love a spot of California Dreaming and those good vibrations have just arrived in the UK courtesy of Ford.
The style of west coast America has crossed the Atlantic in the shape of the Ford Mustang California Special.
Embodying the free-spirited ethos of the 1968 original, the new California Special comes exclusively in convertible body style with a folding soft-top for classic looks and open-air thrills.
A special-edition design package with unique badging, 19-inch alloy wheels and special ‘colour shift’ California Special decals delivers the sunshine style while Ford’s 450PS 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine provides the wallop.
We’re talking acceleration from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds via Ford’s six-speed manual transmission (4.5 seconds using the 10-speed auto gearbox) featuring rev-matching technology for seamless gearchanges and an even sportier character.
Inside, the California Special is designed for the fun of the open road – whatever the weather – so standard comfort kit includes heated and cooled front seats.
There is also a 12-inch customisable instrument cluster plus advanced SYNC 3 connectivity that enables drivers to call up road trip tunes or find directions to the nearest beach using just their voice.
When the now iconic Ford Mustang first hit the streets in 1964, owners’ clubs sprang up across America, with many regional dealers creating their own personalised designs.
And one of them – inspired by the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupe prototype – came to be called the California Special.
That original version featured a blacked-out grille, fog lights and a side racing stripes that ended ahead of new rear side air scoops, as well as a Shelby-inspired spoiler. Ford put a limited number of California Special cars into production for 1968.
The newest interpretation reflects the original with a honeycomb front grille finished in Ebony Black and featuring a GT/CS badge in Race Red, as well as lower side stripes finished in black, red and grey.
The stripes run from the front to rear wings and feature a hidden California Special script that is almost invisible in low light conditions but becomes much more prominent in stronger sunlight.
Like the original, aerodynamic enhancements hint at V8 performance, with a larger front splitter and optional rear side air scoops while at the rear, a California Special faux filler cap sits above quad tailpipes.
Unique five-spoke alloy wheels add to the exclusivity and front 19 x 9-inch and rear 19 x 9.5-inch wheels are finished in Carbonised Grey.
Nine exterior colours include signature Grabber Blue and Cyber Orange, contrasting with the black roof that folds to transform the coupe profile into a convertible in eight seconds.
Ford’s SYNC 3 communication and entertainment system enables drivers to control their connected smartphones, audio, navigation, and climate functions with voice commands and a central 8-inch touchscreen. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.