If you’re new to the Mustang realm, you may have heard the terms “S197” or “SN95” in passing and wondered what they mean when it comes to the Ford Mustang. These are nicknames assigned to the platform by Ford before they’re released. You can think of this as “code” when Ford is in the process of research and development for the up and coming body style.
Once the new body style is released, the “code name” or “nickname” sticks with that body style. From that point forward, many enthusiasts and people in the automotive industry refer to cars within that body style by the codename. These nicknames really didn’t become well known amongst the public until the Fox Body platform and are still widely used today.
In addition to body styles, many other engineering developments end up with codenames that just stick for whatever reason. The Coyote engine was one, and so was the Terminator Cobra. Sometimes, a nickname really does just end up being apt.
Fox Body: 1979-1993 Mustangs
1979 was the birth of the Fox Body Mustang platform. Though the Fox Body Mustang has started to show its age, it's still widely used today for drag racing and even road course events. Due to its lightweight design, the Fox Mustang has the ability to be nimble around the turns with the right suspension modifications and extremely quick in a straight line due to its attractive power-to-weight ratio.
Fox Body Mustangs are approaching the realm of "classics" and there are just as many people interested in restoring them as there are in doing aggressive modifications, like a Coyote engine swap.
SN95: 1994-2004 Mustangs
Beginning in 1994, Ford Motor Company introduced a new body style, the SN95 Mustang. Though technically the SN95 is still built on a "fox" platform, there's no doubt that this was a whole new generation of Mustang. The SN95 was less boxy than the Fox Body. Running until 1998, the SN95 Mustang received a refresh, nicknamed the New Edge, which lasted until 2004.
S197: 2005-2014 Mustangs
With the birth of the Mustang retro-styling in 2005, the S197 Mustang was born. Featuring a refresh in 2010, this body style lasted until 2014. The birth of the 5.0L Modular “Coyote” Engine was also an iconic moment in Mustang history with over 400 horsepower from the factory on a GT beginning in 2011.
S550: 2015-2020 Mustangs
The newest body style is the S550 Mustang. Introduced in 2015, this new body style for the Mustang had many firsts from standard independent rear suspension for all models along with offerings not only in the USA, but Europe, China, and Australia as well! These Euro-Spec Mustangs are also quite different than their US counterparts.