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Monday, June 27, 2016

Maisto 1:18 1999 Ford Mustang GT coupe and 35th Anniversary Coupe



It's not often to see diecast manufacturer's make multiple models out of the same tool, but when the opportunity arises you'll be amazed (or disappointed) on the amount of variants that can come from one tool.  Maisto is no stranger to this theory as they have made countless variations out of a single tool, though nowadays the variations are kept to a minimum of different wheels, color, or trim packages.  What you'll see in these next three reviews are three different versions of the 1999-2004 Ford Mustang body style and how they are proving to be popular with collectors now than when they were initially introduced 15 years ago.  Let's start off with the 1999 GT.



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The Mustang was redesigned for 1999 to match the so-called New Edge styling that was branded across global Ford model lines in an attempt to cut down on the jelly bean styling that plagued much of the Ford models in 1999.  The new look gave edgier lines to the softer ones on the previous-generation model, while at the same time the interior carries over with the twin-pod design and overall layout.  In 1996 the 5.0L pushrod V8 was replaced with the 4.6L SOHC V6 that was introduced in the Ford Crown Victoria sedan.  It produces 260 hp. and 302 Ib-ft of torque through a 5-speed manual transmission in GT form; the 3.8 V6 carries over in the base Mustang models with bodywork that looks rather plasticky compared to the GT models.  The platform is still based on the Fox body that dates back to 1979 and this would be the last generation to wear it until an all-new model appears in 2005.  One distinguished feature about the 1994-2004 Mustang's is how the coupe's roof perfectly fits over the convertible section that requires no retooling of the bodywork from coupe to convertible; even Ford offered a removable hardtop for the convertible in 1994.  What you'll see across many diecast versions of this generation is the coupe's roof is part of the windshield of the convertible tool with the roof section painted to blend in.



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Maisto offered both coupe and convertible GT bodystyles in 1:18 and 1:24 scales, and while the 1:24 uses the aformentioned plastic roof with painted sections the 1:18 uses an actual separate metal roof casting that blends in nicely, yet you can still see the differences where the two ends meet.  1999 models were early; in fact, the yellow one you see here was obtained in October 1998 just as the actual models arrived in showrooms at the same time.  My first Hot Wheels car for the new year found just before New Year's Day?  The 1999 First Editions 1999 Ford Mustang GT coupe.  The front has edgy headlights with chrome reflectors, center grille with prancing pony, and lower bumper with foglights.  What you'll find interesting (and see more of later on) is that the front bumper is a separate metal piece, predicting the future of this casting.  One of the turn-offs on this bodystyle is the non-functioning scoops on the hood and sides that really do nothing.  The sides show off flared fenders, black exterior mirrors, 5-spoke wheels with chrome rotors that lack brake calipers and nice 35th badges on the front fenders.



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The rear has more gimmick with decklid spoiler, edgier three-slot taillights, GT and Ford badges, 99 Mustang plate, and separate lower bumper with Mustang stamped in the center, lower plastic section, and dual exhaust tips.  Not the best-looking Mustang generation but at least it looks good in GT form.  For a limited time in 1999 (and resurfaced again in 2004) is the 35th anniversary package.  This package only comes in white, silver, red, and black, and it features black accents on the revised domed hood scoop, larger side scoops that would be used on the Cobra models, revised rear spoiler, blacked-out valence panel in the back, and black-lipped headlight frames that again will be used in the Cobra models.  While the 5-spoke wheels are the same as the GT, they also add black inserts in the spokes that were not inserted on this Maisto 1:18 example.  2,318 coupes and 2,310 convertibles were made in 1999 with this trim package.  Both cars offer an opening trunk that show off, well, not much.



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Both cars feature a 4-person seating arrangement with an interior that carries over from the previous-generation.  The front seats feature flat buckets with the prancing pony logo and as you can tell on the yellow GT the seatbacks can easily bend back to the point where they do not stand back up straight.  The twin-pod dashboard is nicely done with Mustang cursive font on the passenger-side airbag pod, 5-speed angled shifter, radio and HVAC controls, 4-spoke steering wheel, black-faced gauges on white background, and detailed door panels.  The yellow GT looks rather bland with the all-black appearance, while the 35th adds more pizzaz with silver trim on the door panels, seats, prancing horse on the steering wheel, detailed gauges, and the shift knob, the latter another feature to arrive in upcoming Cobra models.  Both models have opening hood with hood props next to the brake resovoir to show the 4.6 V8 motor.  While the outer edges of the bay seem flat, the engine block is a 3D piece and the throttle body nicely hovers over the intake.  Both cars share the same chassis with strut front and live axle rear with working coil springs on all four and a dual exhaust system with chrome pipes.  Upcoming Cobra models would share a few unique differences.  Lastly I've driven V6 and V8 Mustang's of this generation before and a 2005 model and one thing's for sure the V8 is the bomb with the fantastic engine sound and looks better than the V6 on the outside, but the hood is long and the rear section very short as you sit further back; compared to the 2005 model where you sit in the middle.



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Maisto has made plenty of variations of this model, including convertibles, in many recolors.  Oh, and the 1:24 coupe is not a GT but the 1999 Cobra with revised front bumper, Cobra on the rear bumper, and independent rear suspension.  However, problems with the Cobra's power output did shake things up for this generation's run of Cobra models, but that was not enough to stop the output of the next two Mustang's.



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