S550 Platform Could Be the Next Fox Body, but Not How You’d Think

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Carroll Shelby Tribute

According to a recent article from Automobile, Ford may still be build the sixth-gen Mustang through 2029.

The S550 is a fantastic car by just about every metric. And don’t get us wrong; we aren’t excited to see it go anytime soon. But the car arrived in showrooms back in 2014. And despite the (brilliant, in our opinion) 2018 refresh, six model years is getting up there for any modern car. But according to an explosive new report from Automobile, the current-gen Mustang could be around for a while longer. Like, 10 years longer.

The report, written by Todd Lassa has sources inside Ford ballparking the S650 Mustang debut at 2026 at the earliest and 2029 at the latest. If the S550 holds out until ’29, it would match the 14 model-year run of the current longest-serving ‘Stang, the iconic Fox Body.

1987 Ford Mustang

History Repeating Itself? 

The third-generation Mustang entered production in late ’78 as a 1979 model, weathered the tumultuous ’80s and served admirably until 1993. Like the current S550, it was offered with a compelling four-cylinder option (though the modern EcoBoost four is a marvel compared to the ’80s-era Lima unit), went through several updates to help it age gracefully, and could be easily modified to become a terror on the street, track, or strip. But while cars from the late ’70s to the early ’90s were on a slow progressive timeline, who knows what the automotive landscape will look like at the cusp of the 2030s.

Here’s what we know for sure: The S650 will be built on Ford’s new rear-wheel drive CD6 architecture, which debuts later this year on the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. If there’s any upside to the S650 delay, it’s that any and all CD6 gremlins should be long-resolved by the time the Mustang gets built on one.

As for the S550, don’t expect it to stay exactly the same for the next decade. A source tells Lassa that the current D2C platform will be significantly reworked and the ‘Stang will receive all new sheet metal sometime around 2022. That’s when we’re likely to get the “Mustang-inspired” electric SUV and hybrid model that ford has been teasing for the past few years. To us, this move reminds us of the SN-95 Mustang: New sheetmetal over a heavily revised Fox platform, and still versatile as ever.

So what will the S650 look like? It’s still very murky, but it will likely be a departure from the ponycar as we know it. From the report:

“According to sources familiar with the strategy, but not connected to Ford, the CD6 Mustang replacement has been delayed by several years. When it arrives, it will be larger than the current car, closer to the Dodge Challenger in overall size if not girth.”

Says Lassa: “Sources say that while the CD6 platform is designed to be highly flexible, there are certain components that can’t be scaled down as far as the current Mustang.” In short, the S650 could be more of a grand touring Mustang than a little ponycar. What’s more, it seems to lend credence to the rumors of an possible four-door ‘Stang. We certainly hope that this isn’t the case.

2019 Ford Mustang

We won’t pass judgment on the S650 until we have some hard details. But from this far out, there’s a lot to unpack and speculate on. In the meantime, it looks like we’ll have the brilliant S550 for a while longer. And if that isn’t good news, we don’t know what is.

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James Derek Sapienza has worked as a writer and editor in the world of automotive journalism since 2015.

He has a BS in History at SUNY Brockport, with a focus on American popular culture. A fan of the classics with a special interest in German cars, he is a proud owner of a 1991 W124 Mercedes. He is a frequent contributor to Mustang Forums, MBWorld, 5Series, Rennlist, and more.

James can be reached at [email protected]

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