What Is the Eagle Squadron Mustang?
The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT was a special one-off Mustang Ford created by Ford Performance in cooperation with Vaughn Gittin Jr. Designed to resemble a World War II Spitfire fighter plane, this Mustang is the latest addition to Ford’s aviation Mustangs.
This Mustang was first debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England. The Goodwood motorsports event includes Formula 1, drifting, hill climbing and in general an exciting variety of motorsports.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. piloted the Eagle Squadron Mustang to the summit of the Goodwood Hill, while accompanied by a veteran of the RAF, whose father was a member of the Eagle Squadron. The Mustang wasn’t there just for the hill climb though; the Eagle Squadron Mustang was sent to commemorate a portion of the Royal Air Force.
2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, and Ford chose to use the opportunity to honor an oft-forgotten branch of the RAF: The Eagle Squadron.
The Eagle Squadron was comprised of American Fighter pilots who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. In terms of representing this unit, the Eagle Squadron Mustang with its RAF inspired design was uniquely suited to the occasion. Quite literally, it represented American heritage wrapped in British vestments. Every aspect of the Mustang has been modified, from its exterior appearance and interior features to the performance upgrades that had been carefully worked on. Needless to say, it was well-received.
Once the special Mustang GT returned to the states, The Eagle Squadron Mustang was auctioned off at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh event. Ford has been participating in this program since 2008, creating a new special edition Mustang themed around aviation history and then auctioning it off at one of the most famous airshows in America. The money raised from these auctions goes to the EAA’s Young Eagles Program, which seeks to inspire more children and young adults to become interested in the field of aviation.
The Eagle Squadron
Before the United States officially joined World War II in 1941, some American pilots flew combat operations by flying with either the Royal Air Force (RAF) or the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). By the time the United States officially entered World War II in 1941, over six thousand Americans had applied for this program. Only 15% of those went on to become pilots.
The Eagle Squadron was so named due to a shoulder patch designed for these pilots that bore the image of an American Eagle. Ultimately, there were three Eagle Squadrons who were responsible for performing strikes, escorting bombers, and flying sweeps over France. Though the reasons each of these pilots had for joining varied, many loved flying and were happy to have the opportunity to fight against Germany.
All three Eagle Squadrons were transferred into the American service after Pearl Harbor when America entered the war. Even when they were transferred into the American service, the members of the Eagle Squadron were allowed to wear their Royal Air Force pilot’s wings with their uniforms. Thanks to their experience with the Royal Air Force, the Eagle Squadron was the first to have missions in Germany and the first over Berlin.
Under the Hood
The history of such an impressive unit meant that Ford needed a particularly impressive Mustang GT to honor them, and this powerhouse doesn’t disappoint. Under the hood, the Eagle Squadron Mustang is equipped with a third-generation 5.0L Coyote V8 engine. This Coyote has been equipped with a Ford Performance supercharger kit which allows it to reach 700 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque. The Coyote is a powerful engine in any form, but thanks to the supercharger this particular version is reaching roughly 240 more horsepower than the stock version. It is, quite frankly, a beast. With a six-speed manual Tremec transmission with Ford Performance short shifter, this vehicle promises to fly.
Some of the other performance details include a lowered stance coupled with a carbon fiber widebody kit that gives the Mustang a low and aggressive look.
The suspension is substantially upgraded. In addition to coming with MagneRide, the Eagle Squadron Mustang also has Gittin’s RTR tactical performance suspension upgrade. This includes an extensive list of suspension upgrades, among them a set of adjustable sway bars that are sure to improve handling.
It makes sense for part of Ford’s aeronautics themed Mustangs to have a truly spectacular set of aero upgrades, and naturally, this Mustang does. From the front chin spoiler to the rear diffuser, this is a Mustang that can take advantage of the same Bernoulli effect that allowed its namesake to take to the sky.
Though this Mustang doesn’t have wings, it does have some pretty impressive wheels to ride on. RTR Aero two-piece forged wheels are accompanied by Nitto NT555 tires.
What Makes it Special
The paint of this Mustang is inspired by WWII Spitfire fighter planes, mirroring their mottled shades of green and grey. A bright blue circle with a red center graces the hood, the insignia of the Royal Air Force during World War II. Though the insignia sometimes has a white circle, this was left off of camouflage planes, and subsequently isn’t present on the camouflaged Mustang.
The front grille features custom lighting, as though the Mustang didn’t stand out enough on its own.
The custom-made leather Recaro seats are embroidered with the Eagle Squadron logo—a black eagle facing towards stalks of wheat clutched in one talon, in its other talon are arrows. This same logo is also found on the Mustang’s roof and on the shifting knob.
The shifting knob is hand engraved from F-35 parts. Finally, it has a hand-engraved badge made from a Spitfire.
Ford’s Aviation series always delivers some truly special details, and this year is no exception. At the auction, the Eagle Squadron Mustang GT was sold for $420,000. This is the second-highest auction price, right behind the original AV8R which sold for $500,000.
Sources: Ford | Top Speed | Royal Air Force