One-of-a-kind Apollo-themed Ford Mustang headed for airshow auction

Ford has created a one-of-a-kind Mustang modeled after NASA's Saturn V Apollo rocket, to be auctioned in late July.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
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The Saturn V-inspired Apollo Edition Mustang. Ford

The groundbreaking Apollo program that first sent humans on a return journey to the moon has been and gone. The last Apollo spacecraft was retired in 1972. No one will ever again fly in an Apollo module.

But you could still relive a bit of space history on the roads, if you're lucky.

For a live auction at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Gathering of Eagles gala event on July 23 -- part of the annual AirVenture aviation convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin -- car manufacturer Ford has created a one-of-a-kind 2015 Mustang, inspired by the rockets of the Apollo program.

In particular, the car draws design cues from the Saturn V rocket that was used to ferry 24 humans into space and to the moon between 1968 and 1972. It was the most powerful rocket ever built and the only rocket built to this day that is capable of transporting humans beyond low-Earth orbit.

Like the rocket, the Mustang has a white body with black roll pattern markings, and is blazoned with "USA", "UNITED STATES" and the American flag. Its design was led by Ford design manager Melvin Betancourt.

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The Saturn V rocket. NASA

"The Ford Apollo Edition Mustang salutes man's greatest technological achievement, with the ingenuity, precision, and power that defined the spirit of American innovation," said Edsel B. Ford II of the Ford Board of Directors in a statement.

"Inspired by the Apollo program, Ford Motor Company committed itself to including exhilarating power, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary craftsmanship in this automobile, which will support the next generation of pilots in EAA's aviation education programs for young people."

The Mustang is the latest in a line of one-off Mustangs designed specially and donated to the gala by Ford to raise money for the EAA's youth aviator programs. In 2014, a Ford Mustang modelled on an F-35 Lightning II fighter jet sold for $200,000 at the gala auction.

Other Mustangs include one modeled on the United States Air Force Thunderbirds squadron in 2013, one modeled on the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails fighter jets in 2012 and one modeled on the United States Navy's Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets squadron in 2011.

Ford me to the moon: Mustang meets Apollo (pictures)

See all photos

The Apollo Edition Mustang features several performance enhancements. These include a Ford Performance supercharger and shifter, X-pipe with side and rear exhaust, six-piston Brembo brakes, sport-tuned suspension, and custom Forgiato 21-inch performance wheels. According to Ford, it will deliver 627 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft of torque.

"Ford has helped EAA build unmatched pathways for young people to discover the world of flight through its support of the Gathering of Eagles, our youth programs, and AirVenture," said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board.

"With its eighth Mustang donation inspired by aviation, Ford continues to excite with its specialty vehicles, which reflects the depth of Ford's commitment to EAA, its members, and the future of flight."

To find out more about the auction, visit the EAA website.

Via CollectSpace.