What Does GT Stand for in Mustang GT?

Mustang GT Badging
2008 Mustang GT Side Emblem. Jonathan P. Lamas

No, it doesn’t stand for good times, but chances are if you own one you’ll probably experience plenty. GT most commonly stands for Grand Touring or Gran Turismo. An automobile given the GT designation by its manufacturer generally means the vehicle is high performance and, unlike a race car, features an interior built for comfort. More specifically, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines GT as “an automobile in the style of a coupe, usually seating two but occasionally four, and designed for comfort and high speed.”

Classic GT Mustangs

The first Ford Mustang GT dates back to April of 1965. At the time, 1965 Ford Mustangs came with an optional GT equipment package that featured a 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine. This “special GT package” included GT trim, front disc brakes, auxiliary fog lamps on the grille, and a dual exhaust system with polished tips. It also featured five-dial instrumentation, which differed from the standard 1965 Mustang instrumentation, as well as the optional Rally-Pac instrument cluster. Other features included side stripes and unique GT badging. After the 1969 model year, the GT Mustang went into automotive hibernation.

The Return of the GT

In 1982, after years without a GT model Mustang, Ford brought the GT back and matched it with the 5.0L V-8 powered Mustang. Hence, the GT 5.0 Fox Body Mustangs of the 1980s and early 1990s were born. The Fox Body style was nearly 200 pounds lighter than the Mustang II ​body, and resulted in faster yet more fuel-efficient rides.

The traditional Fox Body Mustang was retired in 1993. For the next 11 years, the Mustang body design, including those for the GT, were based on an updated version of the Fox platform, code-named the SN-95. Regardless of body design, the GT continued to be popular with buyers—and it remains so today.

Notable GT Mustangs

2001: Ford paid tribute to the Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” with a total of 5,582 limited-edition Bullitt GTs, 3,041 of them painted in the original car’s classic Dark Hunter Green.

2005: With a brand-new body style that finally retired any vestige of the Fox platform, the new Mustang GT featured a powerful 4.6-liter all-aluminum, 300-horsepower V-8 engine. It was also the pace car for the 2004-season NASCAR Nextel Cup Banquet 400 and Ford 400.

2006: The 1965 Carroll Shelby-designed Mustang GT350 is one of the most iconic cars ever made. To celebrate its 40th anniversary as well as the original “rent a racer” program of 1966, Ford produced a special run of 500 GTs, designated GT-H, for the Hertz car rental company. Production of another Shelby GT for Hertz was repeated in 2016.

2011: Sleek and fast, with a 5.0-liter engine, 412 horsepower, and a respectable zero-to-60-mph time of 4.3 seconds, the 2011 GT packed a lot of punch for a sports car selling for just under $30,000.

2013: Those with a cool $55,000 to spend on a fast car in 2013 would have done well to choose the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, which featured a monster 5.8-liter engine that generated 662 horsepower and resulted in a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.5 seconds.

2018: This is another GT Mustang winner from Ford, with a six-speed manual transmission (a 10-speed automatic is also available), a 5.2-liter V-8 engine with 460 horsepower, and a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.3 seconds.