Dearborn — Mustang owners are cruising Woodward Avenue all week, but at Ford’s Dearborn Proving Grounds Friday morning, a lucky few got to flog the hooves off Ford’s latest prize stallion, the 2015 Mustang GT.
“It is awesome. I’m gonna get one,” said a thrilled Myron Lemecha of Dearborn as he emerged from the passenger seat of a silver 2015 after a lap alongside Ford test driver Mike Delzio. “It’s much better than my 2013 GT500. It feels like all four wheels are planted on the ground.”
’Stang owners could be forgiven if it felt like they were two-wheelin’ at times as Delzio and other staff jockeys flung a fleet of Mustangs — including 2013 302s and GT500s — around Ford’s undulating test course. From ess turns to fast sweepers to brake-frying hairpins, the course is meant to test the limits of Ford products.
“Oh, myyyyyy. My stomach was up in my throat,” Jim Sproat of Kingsville, Ont., said with a smile. “(The drivers) really show you what you can do in those cars.”
Sproat, the owner of a 1968 Mustang 302 V8 and a 2012 Mustang V6, joined 99 fellow disciples who were first to answer an open call from Ford last spring.
Like a Dearborn Oz, Ford’s Proving Grounds are hidden away behind the high, wavy brick walls of Greenfield Village. But every year at cruise time, the sprawling facility opens its gates to Mustang faithful. They pay a charity fee, which benefits multiple sclerosis victims, in return for a day at Ford’s playground.
Mixing with previous generation ponies, the much-awaited new Mustang looked right at home. Indeed, it stood out for its sleek, uncluttered fascia, even as its high-shouldered stance is unmistakably ’Stang.
To a man (and woman), every owner I spoke with was impressed. Swimming towards you, the new Mustang’s Aston grille says guppy, but the eyes say shark.
Stomp the pedal, and the V8 bares its teeth. On the track, the chassis is still more pony than sports car — loose, testy, prone to fishtail under power.
But the car’s independent rear suspension is in evidence, and the test drivers I rode with say the car requires much less steering management to go fast than previous Mustangs.
“It’s much more planted,” Delzio said in the midst of a power slide through a left-hander.
After a long day in Dearborn, Mustang owners return to Mustang Alley, at 9 Mile and Woodward, exhausted, abuzz, and dreaming of a new pony for Christmas.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.