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The Ford Mustang is a cultural icon and one of the most recognizable muscle cars in the world. One of the reasons for the pony car’s reputation is its tenure. Ford has been making the Mustang for nearly sixty years. That said, there are a few special Mustangs, like the S197 Shelby GT and Bullitt, you can afford before they ride off into the sunset. 

Buy a Shelby GT before you can’t afford them

Ford has enjoyed a long partnership with Shelby American, and as a result, Mustang fans have had their pick of some muscle car royalty. However, with modern Shelby Mustangs demanding top dollar, you might think that the Shelby ship has sailed. That’s not necessarily true, though. 

Carroll Shelby poses with a Shelby GT-H at an auto show.
Carroll Shelby poses with a Shelby GT-H | Chris Hondros, Getty Images

The S197 generation of Mustang included everything from a hard-charging Shelby GT500 (2013-2014) to some earlier Shelby GTs. Luckily for pony car fanatics, those Shelby GTs aren’t prohibitively expensive, at least not for now. Some low mileage examples sell for $20,000 to $30,000, and given the limited production numbers and connection to Carroll Shelby, they’ll likely appreciate. 

The Ford Mustang Bullitt is a film treasure tribute and all-around cool car

Ford has released three Bullitt film homages in different generations. The first tribute car was a fourth-generation pony car, codenamed SN-95. The SN-95 car was followed by the 2008 and 2009 S197 cars, with closer design language to the original fastback. Both vehicles wore dark highland green and packed a 4.6L V8. Complete with torque thrust wheels and a 0-60 mph time of just 5.0 seconds, the S197 Bullitt isn’t just a decent facsimile; it’s a proper muscle car full stop.  

An S197 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt parks next to a firehouse.
2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt | Ford

More recently, Ford produced an S550 Bullitt car, and with it, some serious performance credentials. While buyers lost the true-to-form retro styling of the S197, they gained a 480 horsepower V8. Furthermore, all Bullitt cars are limited production and will likely rise in value. 

A Terminator is a must-buy before you can’t find or afford them

During the tenure of the SN95 Ford Mustang, the Blue Oval produced a couple of fierce supercharged cars. One such car, the “Terminator,” packed a 390-horsepower supercharged 4.6L V8 engine and subtly revised styling. According to MotorTrend, the Terminator’s closest rival was a Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, with 405 horsepower and a much heftier price tag. Although Terminators won’t come cheap, you can still snag one for around $20,000. 

Saleen S281 Mustangs are performance-focused and collectible

Ford Mustangs like this Saleen S281, are cars you can likely afford and should invest in.
A Saleen S281 | Tim Boyle, Getty Images

Love or hate the dramatic bodies of the Saleen Mustangs, the cars are a sight in a sea of average Mustangs. The vehicles featured aggressive front fascias, vents galore, and sculpted rear sections with revised lighting. Also, like the Terminator, Saleen equipped the Mustangs with supercharged 4.6L V8 engines. Still, you can get yourself a 400-horsepower Saleen S281 for around $30,000. 

Also, much like the Bullitt and Shelby cars, the Saleens are limited production and numbered. Add all that up, and you’ve got a collector’s car. Scroll down to the following article to read more about Ford Mustangs!


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