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By Dan Ilika Jan 17, 2017
Speculation was running rampant among the small group milling around the otherwise empty Ford display on the second preview day of the Detroit Auto Show.

A mysterious invite had us gathered early that morning before the show had even opened for the short trek from downtown Detroit to the automaker’s product development center in nearby Dearborn, Mich., for an “embargoed product news backgrounder.” With a description about as vague as the clutch pedal in the Subaru Crosstrek, our ever-inquisitive minds couldn’t help but wander.

Of course, the first — and most obvious — conclusion was that we were about to see the refreshed 2018 Ford Mustang. With plenty of rumors swirling as of late about what an updated version of the pony car should have in store, it only made sense for Ford to choose its hometown for the big debut. But if a new version of Ford’s quintessential coupe was ready, why not show it off at an unexpectedly unexciting Detroit Auto Show?

Moving along, we quickly speculated that it might be the next Ford Ranger. After all, the automaker conveniently confirmed its long-rumored return to the midsize pickup segment just one day earlier. But then why not show the truck at the Cobo Center when the announcement was made? OK, so maybe we were about to feast our eyes upon the new Bronco, we surmised in our collective caffeine-deprived state. Ford also confirmed just one day earlier that the hotly anticipated sport utility is set to return alongside the Ranger. But no, it couldn’t be; that’s not coming until 2020, making the lead time far too long.

And so the conjecture continued as we cruised along Interstate 94 on the way to the sprawling suburban facility. It didn’t take long after we arrived, and agreed to leave our cameras and cellphones at the door or risk being tackled by William Clay Ford Jr. himself, that the cat — or, perhaps more appropriately, pony — was out of the bag: The 2018 Ford Mustang will soon be here, bringing with it some serious changes.

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