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I recently ventured into high-mileage New Edge Ford Mustang GT territory. The saga continued when I finally threw down for a short-throw shifter. This may come down to personal preference, but a short-throw shifter can make all the difference, especially in an SN95 Mustang. With all your skill involved, you could be the best manual-shift car driver on the planet, but at some point, the mechanics of the car itself may limit you. I am by no stretch of the imagination the best manual-shift car driver, but as soon as I sat in that car, I knew it was time for that stock shifter to go.

My stock SN95 shifter was atrocious

2002 Ford Mustang Bullitt driving on the road
2002 Ford Mustang Bullitt | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Maybe it was the high mileage of the car, but its shifting was abhorrent. Granted, it was my first manual car since my Honda Civic a few years back, so at first, I wasn’t sure if it was me or the car. Now I’m sure. The shifter felt vague and confused like it didn’t know what to do even with me telling it, even with the synchros as tight as a brand new car. Second gear took extra effort, especially. It was dreadful and uncomfortable. I had driven it for about two weeks before I decided enough was enough, and the car was getting a short-throw shifter.

MGW for the win

After scouring the forums for days, the answer was clear. Most SN95 owners recommended one of three brands: Hurst, Steeda, and MGW. It took a while to narrow down, but MGW simply stood out. MGW has instructional videos, the kits come with everything needed, and nothing is mass-produced. All products from MGW are made to order. This may have been the case with all three manufacturers, but the MGW offered the best price to boot. 

SN95 short-throw shifter install took 40 minutes

The install was simple, mainly thanks to the MGW instructional video. Had it not been for my bumbling around for tools like a jockey with Alzheimer’s, it could have taken all of 10 minutes. MGW provided the parts, new bolts, and silicone (which was the trickiest part). All told, this modification cost about $250.

Ever since installing the short-throw shifter, the car has been sublime. It’s far more responsive and promotes deliberate shifting instead of misguided happenstance gear-finding. It feels like shifting actual gears rather than moving a stick around. It’s also quick. I have more time to focus on the road now that I don’t have to spend much time shifting. 

Is the short-throw shifter recommended?

Manual shifter inside of a car
Manual shifter inside of a car | Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

For my purposes, the short-throw shifter was an absolute must-have. It helps with mid-90s Subaru Imprezas as well. Cars like the Honda S2000 really don’t need it, as the shifting in that car is already superb. If you’re trying to decide if whether or not you need one, pay attention the next time you drive. If you don’t find the act of shifting gears pleasurable, then consider the short-throw shifter. This chapter of my Mustang’s life is now over, but a 3.73 final drive gear is in the mail.


Evaluating a 261,000 Mile 2002 Ford Mustang GT