Here are a few general buying tips to keep in mind when looking to buy a S197 Mustang from/in the UK.
- Good cars can be bought from import dealers, through second hand dealers, privately advertised or imported yourself from the US.
- All S197 Mustangs will need a completed SVA test to be driven on UK roads. This gets the car to meet UK road traffic law were applicable and in the main involves lighting conversions. More info on this VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC can be found here and here. Older (2005) cars are seen as a double edges sword in many respects SVA wise. They will be the some of the first to have had the conversion done and therefore they may have issue as conversions companies (importers/dealers/individuals) would still have been learning the best way to do it. On the other hand the fact that it has gone this long with no issues can also mean it has been done well. Biggest learning is, investigate the specific car as to who did the SVA conversion and when, and if in doubt, post up on http://www.s197.co.uk and ask!
- All S197s are LHD unless they have been aftermarket converted as Ford do not sell RHD Mustangs. Conversion can cost between £2k and £9k and can be done to a high standard with the only real issue currently being a weird looking near side wing mirror due to the angle of the glass having to be bigger than the housing. You tend not to get the money back on these conversions when selling and 95%+ of S197s in the UK are LHD.
- Engines are currently 4.6 V8 GTand 4.0 V6 in 5 Speed Manual or Auto box (which by all accounts is pretty good).
2005 - 2009:
A V8 (300 bhp) will get you around 20 - 30 mpg depending on how it is driven and does 0-60 in around 5 secs
A V6 (210 bhp) wil get around 28 - 33 mpg and hits 60 in 6.9 secs
In 2010 the Mustang received a tweaked interior and exterior. Engines remained roughly the same.
In 2011 the Mustang comes with a new V6 (305 bhp) and a 5.0l V8 (412bhp). Models range from $22,145 for the V6, $29,645 for the V8 GT, $32,845 for the GT premium (my pick for the UK) and $48,645 for the Shelby GT500
It sits 188 inches long by 74 inches wide. By comparison a BMW 5 series is 190 inches long by 73 inches wide.
- You can download the 2011 Mustang range & specs here
- The current cars available are shown here with their US$ prices (minus sales taxes and other costs)
- Tax and insurance on these two cars seem fairly similar as they are hard to classify insurance group wise and their tax is also hard to calculate to UK/European standards due to the yanks not knowing what a g/km of co2 is. As a basic rule, my tax is £205 (2010 12 months) and insurance is identical to a VW Golf GTi. Most mainstream insurance companies will not insure a Mustang, by there are quite a few that will, MCE, Adrian Flux to name a few.
- Ford dealers in the UK can do routine servicing on the Mustang (but may choose not to) as many parts are standard Ford but most routine maintainance is do-able by yourself. There are many independent garages that will do all works on the S197, check this site for more info. You will have no warranty from Ford on any S197 in the UK, your warranty (if any) will come from the dealer you have bought it through so be clear of this before buying. It's worth noting that many warranties from dealers are worthless (they are actually nothing to do with the dealer and you will deal with a third party insurance/warranty company in the event of a claim) so don't let your purchase be swayed by whether it has or has not got one. Many dealers (especially second hand) will bump up prices citing a warranty that is in practice worthless.
In essence the servicing schedule is oil (5/20 is listed but most owners use 5/30 which is commonly available) and filters every 5000 miles which you can probably handle yourself. The oil filter is a Mondeo V6 unit and is available from you local ford. Other service matter can be handled by a garage. This makes the car cheap to maintain when compared to any other car available with similar performance
- Get the vehicle HPI checked and try to contact previous owners via their address on the V5 document. They may well have been enthusiasts of the car in the past and be happy to tell you its past.
- When test driving a manual car you will experience a relatively noisy drivetrain & gears. This is normal for this car and, I like to think, adds to its character Other things to keep in mind are that you need to press the clutch pedal to the floor before starting the car else it will not turn over. The clutch is heavy but very usable and once you're up and running and get used to the size it's a very drivable car, even around town - it just takes a little confidence. There are ISO fixings for child car seats in the rear and the space in the rear is good - it can seat 4 adults in comfort, but doesn't boast 5 series leg room.
The traction control is as responsive as Oliver Reed was to the closing time bell in the pub so when driving in the wet you will spin the back wheels up if your driving gets spirited. You should drive as if there was no traction control present as it is not up to European car standards. Don't get caught out.
-Audio wise, the standard car comes with a decent speaker setup and a AM/FM radio and a CD player. But it is very unusual for the car to be sold without an audio upgrade, known as a 'Shaker' system. There are 2 available, a Shaker 500 and a Shaker 1000 system (which is a $1000+ upgrade in the states and therefore rare). The shaker 500 system boasts a 500 watt amp and a 6 disc in dash changer with MP3 compatibility. The Shaker 1000 system add to this a sub woofer in the boot and a 1000 watt amp. Also the speakers in the car are upgraded to 'Audiophile' branded speakers. Needless to say, either system gives a great sound and capacity, what with the MP3 storage. The unit can be a bit picky though so burn speed and CD quality can effect whether it spits a disc back at you citing 'bad disc' or not. Please note the MP3 CD system it uses needs to be only 1 folder deep from the root directory of the CD else it will muddle up your songs. This system is much like the Sony PSP system where you need to create a directory in the root and call it the Band name and Album name, then place your MP3's into it. The radio will only tune to odd numbers of decimal place on the FM band e.g. 99.1, 99.3, 99.5 etc. This is a US quirk but does give problems in the UK with reception. Best plan is to listen to your MP3's! It also lacks TA/RDS/AF etc that are standard on most Euro cars.
Good luck and if you have a question, ask!
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