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Custom Mustang X-1 Was Modeled After a Fighter Jet, LARPS as One Inside Air Force Museum
We've had an absolute blast detailing our recent trip to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. As one with basic inferencing skills might have already guessed, most of the exhibits on display are unique aircraft from the pages of history. But evidently, based on this highly modified Ford Mustang, not all of them.

Custom Mustang X-1 Was Modeled After a Fighter Jet, LARPS as One Inside Air Force Museum

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It's no coincidence that the X-1 Mustang finds itself in one of the four hangars in the Dayton, Ohio facility. It was commissioned in 2009 by the Air Force Recruitment Service as a touring live exhibit that accompanied the Air Force Recruitment Team on trips across the country.

Named after the famous rocket plane that Chuck Yeager used to break the sound barrier for the first time, the X-1 started life as a perfectly normal fifth-generation S197 Mustang. That was, of course, before the team at Galpin Auto Sports of Southern California got their hands on it.
That's right, the same custom car wizards that Xzibit trusted to pimp his rides way back in the day evidently impressed Air Force personnel to let them take a crack at making a recruitment tool some would argue is more effective than a recruitment desk occupied by burly men dressed in digital-camo uniforms.
Let's start with the engine bay. The 4.6-liter modular V8 engine under the hood of most Mustangs of this generation made a paltry 300 horsepower in its standard tune. Naturally, that's not going to impress any prospective young Air Force recruits. So something would have to change under the hood if that machine was to be taken seriously. There's some significant overlap between the custom car and military jet fanbases, after all.

As it sits today, the engine in the X-1 makes somewhere around 500 horsepower. One can only wonder if the car was dyno tested at the same facility the Air Force tests its jet engines. We're joking, of course, but it'd definitely cut down on travel time if they did.

Once that was sorted, Galpin set about taking care of the Mustang's aesthetics. Starting with a custom wide-body kit that makes the car look ready to take off from the nearest aircraft carrier. It's all tied together with a superb matte-white paint job and contrasting black alloy wheels on low-profile performance tires. All the essential goodies needed to be a legitimate fighter jet with four wheels and no visible cupholders.

Not that the interior layout lends itself to spirited driving, or driving in general for that matter. Ford designers made it look like the cockpit of any one of the hundreds of fighter jets the museum has on display. We can only assume the car is steered by what appears to be a control yoke protruding out from the steering column.
Although it may also be through the flight stick located directly below, very confusing for sure. The pedal arrangement meant to mimic the rudder controls of an aircraft only makes sense if you spend most of your time in a flight simulator or a real airplane, for that matter. It'd be tough to estimate what sort of cost figures went into the building of this Mustang, but remember that this is the U.S. military we're talking about. They have the extra cash to front the bill.

Once you get over the aloof nature of the interior, there's no arguing the authenticity of the design. All the metal paneling and LCD screens were mounted and fabricated by hand, much the same as many fighter planes still are today. A robot can be handy when building cars, but when you need an artist's touch to make a car designed to sit and look pretty really pop, you need a human's touch.

To give the X-1 that extra pizzaz, Galpin decided to fit a genuine night and thermal vision system, operated via the large screens custom fitted into the car's dashboard. Admittedly, it sounds goofy in the context of a motor vehicle designed to carry an actual human driver. But for an eyecatcher meant for young petrolheads and hopeful Airforce Pilots can drool over as they sign paperwork to enlist, it does its job in spades.

Ther X-1 Mustang toured with the Air Force Recruitment Service for ten long years, a longer tenure with the U.S. Air Force than several of the fighter jets the car currently calls home amongst. A service history that extensive merits its new retirement home among some of the most astonishing aircraft ever to fly, what sweet, poetic justice that is.
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