That Bizarre Ford Mustang Prototype Hides a 7.3L V8 and Manual Transmission
Ford put its biggest truck engine in the Mustang for testing purposes.
Earlier this year, the car-o-sphere was whipped into a frenzy by photos of a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 prototype with a truly biblical hood bulge. Some declared that it had to house Ford's new 7.3-liter "Godzilla" truck V8, and they were right—but why Ford built it probably isn't a reason they had on their bingo cards.
Ford Performance allowed YouTuber REVan Evan to reveal the build, confirming that swollen hood hides a 7.3-liter V8. A Ford official explained that the GT350-based prototype had long served as a testbed for a variety of parts and that before being fitted with a 7.3, it had just been sort of sitting around unused. That made it the perfect recipient for a prototype Godzilla crate engine, which pairs well with a Mustang for obvious reasons.
As for what kind of prototype 7.3, it's specifically one programmed to work with a manual transmission, to complement the 7.3-and-automatic pairing already available in a crate. For the manual version, though, Ford has designed a different intake manifold: its throttle body comes out level, as opposed to pointing upward like in the Super Duty. Hiding that was why this prototype had such a huge, strangely shaped hood.
Learning that this is a one-off to test a crate engine and transmission combo will be disappointing to those who had hoped for a 7.3 Mustang from the factory. Keep in mind, though, that the current S550 Mustang is nearing replacement, and that we're barely two weeks from seeing the new S650. It just makes no sense for Ford to invest in such an extreme Mustang this late into the product cycle.
By no means does this preclude there being a 7.3-liter S650, but whether or not there is, it's something you'll be able to build for yourself. Remember, this Mustang exists to test a drivetrain combo that Ford Performance will sell starting this fall or winter, according to the Ford official in the video above. There's no knowing for sure what it'll cost, but Ford promises it'll be "very competitively priced." So, if you were waiting for a chance to have a Godzilla-powered Mustang, the wait is almost over—just know you'll have to put in some effort on your end to make it happen.
Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: firstname.lastname@example.org