To say Ford made some questionable design decisions with the S197 Mustang is an understatement. Here are some ‘WTF’-inducing things I’ve found in a month of ownership and repair.

  • The door handle rods are a threaded rod that is CLAMPED in place by a soft plastic fitting which inevitably slips and causes floppy loose external door handles. Re-aligning the pushrod only temporarily fixes the problem.
  • Plastic. Thermostat. Housing.
  • Running hot coolant through the throttle body for “de icing”. All it does it heat up your intake charge. Was removed in 2006 because Ford realized they were idiots
  • Everything about the radiator assembly. Sure! Let’s just TANGLE the lower mounts in A/C hardlines to make getting the radiator in and out as difficult as possible! Oh, also a trans cooler. Put one of those in there with 1/2" of clearance to get a comically small ratcheting wrench in.
  • Exhaust harmonics make the whole car shake at 1600rpm. Ford obviously knew about this because they haphazardly welded a couple pounds of weight onto the MUFFLER in order to “fix” it. It didn’t work.
  • Taking off the axleback requires partially removing the midpipe because the slip fitting faces rearwards, and the exhaust hangars face frontwards, each preventing you from removing the other. Brilliant.
  • Why the hell does the V6 have a one-piece driveshaft and the V8 a two-piece?
  • Stunningly poorly designed brackets for the hydraulics that operate the convertible top. The whole assembly is held together by one bolt with no loctite and only a quarter inch of threads. Failure of this makes the hydraulic cylinder smash into and damage the seatbelt mechanism.
  • Exceptionally poor shaping of some of the door panel pieces. They don’t even come close to fitting snug in their place
  • Coin holder right above a 12v socket. It’s a known issue that change can fall out of the coin holder and land in the socket, which is oriented so that you can’t tell if something is in it without a mirror. Mine had a penny and a dime stuck in it when I got the car.

That’s all I can think of right now. Even after going through it with a fine-toothed comb and putting in a new engine I never had so many “WTF why did they do this?” moments with the Civic. I haven’t worked on the Miata enough to comment.