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California dreaming in 2019 Ford Mustang convertible

Appearance package for GT pays tribute to original California Special

Joe Duarte
Published: March 13, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: April 30, 2018, 5:54 PM

2019 Ford Mustang GT California Special

More than 50 years after the introduction of the original pony car, Ford is resurrecting the California Special for the 2019 Mustang.

2019 Ford Mustang GT California Special script badge

The California Special was born out of the desire of original Mustang owners’ desires to bond with like-minded peers, when the car first hit the streets in 1954. Many regional dealers created their own customized versions of the new pony car, and in 1967, the California Special was crafted from the Shelby GT notchback coupe concept of 1967 and first produced in 1968.

That version featured a blacked-out grille, fog lamps and a racing stripe that stretched from the headlights to the fender scoop behind the door. It also had a rear spoiler, custom taillamps and twist-lock hood fasteners.

1968 Ford Mustang California Special (Credit: Wikiedia Commons/sv1ambo)

It soon joined the ranks of Mustang special editions such as Shelby, Boss and Mach 1. The GT/CS edition was recreated in 2007, 2011 and with modified graphics for 2016.

The new California Special convertible is marked with the trademark fading side stripe (from the 5.0 badge located behind the front wheel to the rear fender scoop) visually connecting the unique 5-spoke painted machined wheels. The front end features the blacked-out grille and Mustang Performance Pack 1 splitter, and the trunk lid is adorned with a signature Ebony Black and Race Red script badge.

2019 Ford Mustang GT California Special interior

The interior features red-stitched black Miko suede-trimmed seats embossed with GT/CS insignia, GT/CS embroidered floor mats, and the California Special script badging on the passenger side of the instrument panel.

“This signature design takes its cues from the original California Special, while enhancing the personality of today’s Mustang,” said Mark Conforzi, Ford designer. “Few things are more satisfying than dropping the top on a California Special and taking a drive down the majestic Pacific Coast Highway.”

2019 Ford Mustang GT California Special

The California Special will be available when the 2019 Mustang goes on sale in summer 2018.