DEARBORN, Mich. - The one-of-a-kind U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition 2014 Ford Mustang GT developed by the design and engineering teams at Ford Motor Company sold for $398,000 at the Gathering of Eagles charity auction Thursday evening. The auction was held during the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 – the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. James Slattery of San Diego, Calif. was the winning bidder.
All proceeds from the car donation and sale benefit the EAA Young Eagles program, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.6 million young people since 1992, helping inspire and motivate the next generation of leaders, aviators and innovators.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition joins five other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the EAA Young Eagles auction in recent years, each generating excitement among aviation and automotive enthusiasts alike. Ford vehicles sold at auction during EAA AirVenture events to date have collectively raised more than $2.5 million to support Young Eagles.
Ford is the exclusive automotive sponsor of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The weeklong event at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. concludes Sunday, Aug. 4.
“The dedication and excellence displayed by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds are qualities we also celebrate at Ford,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “With this year’s beautiful U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang, we’ve captured the recognizable symbols of their stature and paired it with the innovation our Ford design and engineering teams build into all of our products.
“Through this project,” Ford added, “we take great pride in continuing our support for EAA and the Young Eagles organization.”
This unique U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Ford Mustang GT celebrates and commemorates the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
This one-of-a-kind car is VIN 0001. The design of the modified 2014 Mustang GT 5.0-liter glass-roof coupe exudes a creative connection to the Thunderbirds.
The exterior showcases a custom brilliant white paint with red and blue accents, as well as markings and logos, tying it to the Thunderbirds’ F-16 Falcon aircraft. The unique treatment includes wide body modifications and a handcrafted and painted “belly pan” that emulates the F-16 Thunderbird appearance. TS Designs handcrafted the wide body elements, 3dCarbon created a unique matching fascia, Creations n’ Chrome crafted the unique belly pan – plus applied the paint and markings – and Forgiato created custom 22-inch wheels to further differentiate this Mustang from anything else on the road.
Unique interior details of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Ford Mustang GT include a modified navigation screen, instrument cluster and rear seat-delete. The car’s Recaro® seats sport embroidered Thunderbirds elements. Additional features consist of unique sill plates and puddle lamps that project the aircraft silhouette when the doors open.
Ford Racing components boost the performance to an extraordinary level. With the addition of a Ford Racing supercharger, suspension handling pack and Brembo® brakes, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang exudes class, power and performance.
Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak led the design and engineering teams that developed the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang GT.
The Young Eagles auction is part of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The Gathering of Eagles annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of Young Eagles and other EAA programs that inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators – the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
“Ford is a longtime, committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture, bringing value to those who make Oshkosh the pinnacle of their aviation year,” said Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman. “These specialty vehicles reflect the depth of Ford’s commitment and allow EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members in helping us grow the next generation of aviators.”
The unique vehicles produced by Ford in support of EAA Young Eagles include the Mustang AV8R, with cues from the F-22 “Raptor,” which in 2008 helped introduce the glass-roof canopy and delivered a record auction contribution of $500,000. In 2009 Ford’s AV-X10 “Dearborn Doll” Mustang was crafted in honor of World War II aircraft. In 2010 two automotive icons – the late Carroll Shelby, a former U.S. Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, longtime P-51 pilot – collaborated for the first time to create the SR-71 “Blackbird” Mustang inspired by the legendary reconnaissance jet. The “Blue Angels” Mustang in 2011 celebrated 100 years of United States naval aviation, and last year’s “Red Tails” Mustang paid homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, the United States’ first African American military airmen.
For more information on EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, visit http://www.AirVenture.org.
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