Previously, Ford only put a line-lock on the V8 Mustang GT, but now they’ve added it to the EcoBoost range of Mustangs for 2018. We’ll get to why that’s a stupidly-cool idea in a moment, but for right now, check out the headline Ford wrote: “Ford Unleashes Line-Lock on Mustang EcoBoost, Debuts Industry-First Cluster Animation of Wheel Burning Rubber.” Cluster-what? Thankfully, they are referring to the instrument cluster that has all this “golly-gee-whiz” stuff that, for some reason, comes with the line-lock feature.
Okay, I shouldn’t have to explain this, but just in case you don’t know: a line-lock is a gizmo from the drag strips of the world that allows you to apply and lock the front brakes of your car while allowing the rear wheels to turn. This – in case you’re asking the patently stupid question of “why ya’ wanna do that?” – is so you can spin the rear tires and get lots of heat in them. More heat means more grip at launch during a drag race, means a quicker ET (and don’t make me explain to you what an ET is). It also allows you to do way boss burn outs at the drive-in, the high school parking lot, in front your girlfriend (chicks dig it, honest), in front of unseen cops, and in front of your girlfriend’s house after she dumps you for being an unrepentant chucklehead who cares more about your car than your relationship.
FoMoCo says their electronic line-lock, which you could only get on the V8-powered Mustang GT, is a “track-exclusive feature,” which I don’t understand at all. I’m betting the lawyers made them put that in there. As I’m reading all this, there’s no way you couldn’t use this feature anywhere your fool-heart desires. What Ford means to say is “please use it only at the track. Please?” But of course you won’t, will you? So anyway, it’s now percolated down-range into the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustangs, whether they’ve got the 10-speed SelectShift automatic or the six-speed manual transmission.
Thankfully, Ford’s new line-lock is an electronic affair, unlike the days of old where they were bias-adjust levers or knobs or, in some cases, just a pull cable heading up to the front wheels. Drag racers are, by and large, a bag of mixed nuts just smart enough not to kill themselves. Most of the time. To make that truly “most of the time,” Ford’s line-lock leverages state-of-the-art software that allows amateur racers to achieve more consistent run times, particularly those competing in bracket racing. Grudge draggers, this is aimed squarely at you.
This new electric line-lock is operated via steering wheel-mounted thumb switches. A driver, let’s say it’s you, toggles through a menu displayed on the instrument cluster to activate the electronic line-lock. Once you’ve turned it on, the system builds pressure on the front brake calipers. Another button press holds that pressure for up to 15 seconds. During that 15 seconds, you nail the throttle, spin the rear wheels, they build up heat, and abracadabra, the car stays in place.
Speaking of that menu/instrument cluster stuff, if your new Mustang is equipped with the available 12-inch, all-digital instrument display, you get lots of flashing lights and cheesy animation and stuff along those lines. Ford says drivers will see an “industry-first, video-game-like animation of a spinning alloy wheel kicking up a cloud of smoke to indicate when the electronic line-lock feature is activated.” What you will not see is “Big Daddy” Don Garlits kicking at you with his club foot (don’t ask how it got that way) for being such an infantile grommet. I realize Ford had to do something to let you know the line-lock was engaged, but I suppose a light that said “Line-Lock ENGAGED” was just expecting too much.
Obviously, what you do with your line-lock equipped Mustang is between you and your conscience, your insurance agent, your local police and/or sheriff’s office, and your girlfriend. We here at 1 Automoblog Towers can neither encourage, condone, or accept any sort of untoward behavior. We just know what we’ve done in the past, witnessed in the past, or seen other people get busted for in the past. You have been warned.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.