2019 Ford Mustang Brings Back 'California Special'

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Ford is reviving the Mustang GT California Special with a new limited edition design package for the 2019 model year.

When the Ford Mustang was first introduced to the market in 1964, regional dealers created their own designs – one of which came to be called the California Special. The original was inspired by the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupe prototype and featured a blacked-out grille, fog lights, and a side racing stripe that ended ahead of a new rear fender scoop. It also sported a Shelby-inspired spoiler, custom tail lights, and twist-lock hood fasteners. Ford was impressed by the original California Special and decided to produce a limited number of them in 1968.

Now the 2019 Ford Mustang GT is bringing the California Special back with a modern twist. There’s a trademark fading stripe that traces from the 5.0 side badge to the rear fender scoop, along with a signature Ebony Black and Race Red script California Special badge that can be found on the trunk lid. Up front, there’s a blacked-out open grille like the original, while the bumper receives the Mustang Performance Pack 1 splitter. On all four corners are California Special unique five-spoke painted machined wheels.

The interior also gets a few upgrades, with black Miko suede-trimmed seats with embossed GT/CS insignia and contrast red accent stitching. There are also custom embroidered GT/CS floor mats, while California Special script badging appears on the passenger-side dash panel.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Debuts with Sinister Looks and 475-HP V8

The rest of the Ford Mustang lineup also sees a few updates for 2019, starting with the GT model. The American automaker has added rev-matching that helps smooth out shifts by predicting shifts and then quickly matching engine rpm. On downshifts, the engine rpm will instantly kick up to smooth the transition between gears.

The first-ever Bang & Olufsen audio system for the Mustang is also part of the update, featuring a 10-channel amplifier that produces 1,000 watts across a dozen high-performance speakers.

Ford didn’t neglect the EcoBoost model, adding the active valve performance exhaust to the turbocharged model. Like the V8 GT, the quad-tipped exhaust system can be controlled by the drive mode system or via personalized MyMode settings to switch between fully active exhaust mode and quiet start mode, also known as good neighbor mode.

Heading to dealerships this summer, the 2019 Ford Mustang offers more choice to buyers with new vintage-inspired color options including Velocity Blue, Need for Speed Green, and the iconic Bullitt model’s exclusive Dark Highland Green. Look for pricing to be announced closer to its launch.

“No doubt, 2019 is an exciting year for Mustang enthusiasts, especially fans of our California Special and Bullitt models,” said Corey Holter, Ford car group marketing manager. “This year further targets hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who want even more performance from Bullitt, while new technology including rev-matching on manual transmission equipped Mustang GTs and active valve performance exhaust on EcoBoost® models means even more thrills.”

Discuss this story on our Ford Mustang Forum

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

More by Jason Siu

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Nauticalone Nauticalone on Mar 12, 2018

    Would be nice if the Miko suede trimmed interior be offered with Bullitt and GT (non-CS) models too!