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60 years of the Mustang: Meet the Dark Horse 2024 (April 20th 2024)

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Today, the Futuroscope Arena is sold out. The organizers had told us that the maximum number of visitors had been reached for Saturday. We don’t yet know what the day has in store for us, but one thing’s for sure: we’re in for a real treat! And here’s a spoiler: we’re going to discover the never-before-seen Mustang Dark Horse 2024!

As the hotel breakfast doesn’t open until 8 a.m., we’re in no hurry to get up. I give the car a quick cleaning while the engine warms up, and we’re off in the direction of the Arena. Once again, traffic flows smoothly and we have no trouble getting in and finding a parking space.

As a reminder, a tombola is organized by the Mustang Club de France. The first prize is a 1965 Ford Mustang, about which I wrote an article in Mustang & Shelby magazine n° 41 (January – February – March 2024). I’ll come back to this raffle in detail in the next article. Of course, Aymeric and I intend to take part.

Meet the Ford France team

When we entered the Arena to buy our raffle tickets, we discovered in the middle of the room a Ford Mach-E, the Mustang 65 to be won and… the Mustang GT Dark Horse 2024! All three cars are on display throughout the weekend. The opportunity is just too good: I grab my camera and rush off to take a few shots. I ask around and find out that you can get onto the lawn, which I do immediately. Ford France’s marketing teams are taking photos, and we can’t get closer than ten meters for the moment.

We exchange a few words with the Ford France team (Louis-Carl V. and Céline A.) present for the occasion. In passing, Céline urges us to go and try out the Ford Mach-E. It was booed by a good number of enthusiasts yesterday. However, she tells us that some of them changed their minds after a test drive: the Mach-E is said to have retained the Mustang spirit. I remain sceptical and will go and try it out later (spoiler alert: I’ll do it tomorrow, and give you my impressions in the next article).

The Ford team let us get close to the Dark Horse 2024 Mustang, after pointing out that only one was currently on the road in Europe (this one). The others are on the way…

The Mustang GT Dark Horse 2024

At first glance, the Mustang Dark Horse 2024 stands out for its unmistakable identity, as evidenced by its carefully placed emblems. Available in a range of bold colors, from Oxford White and Shadow Black to Ember Blue (the color of the one presented here) and Racing Red, it embodies the very essence of power and elegance.

A sporty exterior

Its exterior design is marked by distinctive elements such as lower side skirts, a fixed rear spoiler and a quadruple black exhaust tailpipe, all inspired by racing models. Darkened LED headlamps and a dark grille add an aggressive touch to its already imposing appearance, while the 19” ten-spoke aluminum wheels reinforce its sporty character. In addition, the spoiler helps keep the car on the ground, ensuring exceptional stability.

A 5-liter Coyote V8 for the Dark Horse 2024

Under the hood, the Mustang Dark Horse 2024 houses a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine delivering 453 horsepower, mated to a six-speed Tremec manual transmission. A ten-speed automatic transmission is also available as an option, offering a driving experience as fluid as it is dynamic, with a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds. This racing beast also benefits from a number of mechanical enhancements, such as a new camshaft, dual-body intake and reinforced braking system, guaranteeing optimum performance.

Dinamica leather interior

Inside, luxury and comfort blend harmoniously, with perforated Dinamica leather upholstery and suede inserts, offering perfect support even in the tightest of bends. The flat-rimmed leather steering wheel with suede inserts and blue anodized titanium gear knob add a touch of sophistication to the cabin, while optional Recaro seats offer superior support for an even more immersive driving experience. Overall, the Dark Horse 2024 Mustang combines exceptional performance, distinctive design and refined luxury, offering an incomparable driving experience for the most demanding car enthusiasts.

Tickets, store and presentation of Mustang 64 to 73

With the Dark Horse photos done, we’re off to buy our raffle tickets. Alas, we had to be patient, as the queue was long. We finally waited two hours before buying our two tickets.

We are able to attend the presentation given by Patrick Pinte (Mustang Club de France specialist and host throughout the event) on first-generation Ford Mustangs from 1964 to 1973. This is an opportunity to see a number of familiar cars: Cornélia H.’s ’70 coupe and Jean-Pierre V.’s ’65 coupe.

Despite the wait, the MCF volunteers are hard at work. They all strive to be efficient and to keep smiling despite the hustle and bustle. As for the boutique, it’s already quite empty. The 60th birthday souvenir jacket I was looking for, and a parka that had caught my eye in the window while I was waiting my turn, are sold out. What a shame.

The Mustang & Shelby Magazine team assembled

Outside, I spot Guillaume Vesnat, a lifelong Mustang enthusiast and editorial writer for Mustang & Shelby Magazine, of which I’m a contributor. We chat for a while about the magazine, cars and watches (a topic I intend to explore further on the blog).

Finally, we’re both going about our business when I hear my first name. Guillaume beckons me to join him: Kiki D.Bois, contributor since the magazine’s inception, is also present. It’s a good opportunity to divide up the activities for the next few issues and catch up. Kiki had produced the article and photos about my Mustang II at Classic Days in 2017.

A Bud, a coupé and a cabriolet ’68

While I was chatting with Guillaume, Aymeric had tried to reach me, without success. A text message was waiting for me, however: the owner of a ’68 coupe had invited him for a beer, and I might be interested. And so it was! When I join them, I too get a Bud and we start chatting.

Guillaume acquired his ’68 Nightmist Blue V8 coupe when he was barely twenty, in 2007. Since then, he’s restored it entirely himself, and the result is stunning. One of his friends, a young father, owns the 68 V8 Gulfstream Aqua convertible in whose trunk the beers were stored. He explains to me the circumstances of his purchase and the plans he has for his magnificent Mustang.

Mustang n°180

Time passes and we continue our tour of the parking lot, where Mustangs seem as numerous as grains of sand on a beach. At 3.30pm, we join Pierre Boulesteix and his Mustang n°180 at the finish line.

Mustang n°180, an automotive legend, took part in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally with Raphaël Géminiani and Jacques Anquetil behind the windscreen. In 2019, Pierre is creating a replica in their honor. This year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, Pierre set off from Charade and crossed prestigious circuits, sleeping five nights in his car, to finish at the Futuroscope. Despite 5,000 km in 5 days and no major breakdowns, this epic journey underlined the Mustang’s reliability. Pierre, welcomed on stage by Xavier Vrigny, has a message for enthusiasts: drive your classic cars!

Introducing the Mustang II

Positioned on the floor, I take several photos. Then I listen to the start of the presentation of Mustangs from 1974 to 2004. I’m particularly keen to see the start with the Mustang IIs. I’m lucky enough to see on stage Amélie S. whom I met in 2016 at Classic Days (she’s here with her new 1975 Tangerine Orange V6 coupe) as well as Antonin S. whom I’ve been following for several months on Instagram (he came with his 1974 Medium Bright Blue V6 export coupe).

Among the Mustang IIs on display was that of Jean-Claude Duprée, former president of the MCF, as well as a replica of the Monroe Handler Mustang II and a magnificent red hatchback in its original condition.

Discussion with Pierre, a true enthusiast

Outside, I meet Pierre, whom I’m interviewing for an upcoming article. Engrossed in a passionate discussion, he’s in the middle of an interview when I join him. He explains his project and his motivations to the various people around him. I manage to exchange a few words with him. Another person joins us: the truck driver whose anecdote he told a few minutes earlier on stage.

La vie de château… in a 68 coupé

Then I get back in touch with Guillaume, whom I met this morning. Aymeric and I climb into the coupé 68 and drive out of the parking lot. The objective is simple: to get a few shots of the car. We come across some potentially interesting fields, but in the end it’s a castle that catches our eye. As we pulled up in front, we noticed that the gate was closed.

Guillaume gets out of the car and rings the bell. The noise of the engine drowns out the conversation, and he can’t quite hear what’s being said, but the gates open. We enter. There’s no one inside, just a magnificent mansion, plenty of room and a beautiful sun on the wane. We take a number of photos before setting off again. Guillaume takes the time to thank the owner over the intercom, the Mustang being parked a little further away this time.

Insufficient food and a rock concert!

It’s the end of the day and we’re desperate for something to eat. Aymeric and I head for a nearby hotel restaurant. Unfortunately, it’s fully booked. We find another one further on. Once there, the menu looks really interesting and there’s a small place left. Perfect. Unfortunately, when the dishes are served, it’s a bit disappointing. The quantities are not up to scratch.

We head back to the Arena, where we catch the end of the AC/DC French Tribute “Five Rosies” concert. It’s great, it feels good and we head back to the hotel…