Why Your Car Sucks/Rocks: Ford Mustang
Well, I may have to take on the title of Automotive Prognosticator, as Volvo lived up to my gripe today with their inability to meet performance expectations...ones that they set for themselves! So, with that, lets look at a vehicle that has raised and lowered expectations for itself many times throughout the years. The Ford Mustang has grown and evolved through the years to become all of the things that the American automotive industry, for better or for worse. Why Your Car Sucks: Let’s face it; the Ford Mustang is about as bargain-basement as you can get for a performance car. You’d have to go to the Chevrolet Camaro to find something more low-rent. The current model may be a blast to drive, but the panels fit together poorly, and if you opt for an automatic V8 mustang, it doesn’t even come with paddle shifters- what gives??? The Mustang Convertible has long been regarded as a rental-special, which is never a good place to be. In fact, its place as a secretary/hairdresser/rental car is perhaps the biggest insult one could give to an American car, and the Mustang was the standard-bearer for far too long. The Mustang’s tradition of down-selling the consumer started with the very first prototypes. The Mustang I Concept was a mid-engined performance car that was the distant precursor to the GT40. While the GT40 had a life of its own, Ford deemed such a vehicle far to expensive and complicated for road use. The car went from a mid-mounted V4 to a front-mounted I6, and overall more crude techniques regarding design and construction.
Finally, after the Mustang became a commercial success, Ford did what every single American automaker has done when a car becomes popular– cheapen it, banking on its predecessor’s “brand cachet” for sales, while pushing an inferior product. The result of this typical-for-an-American-carmaker move was the Mustang II. Built from 1974 to 1978, it was a vehicular travesty. Rather than compete with the Camaro, it more accurately did battle with the Buick Skylark- once again, an insult for any American performance car. The Mustang, in essence, embodies the notion that American carmakers do not respect you, the consumer. Ford thinks you are a big dummy, and is going to make, for you, a big dummy car.
Why Your Car Rocks:
But why do we need anything special from a Pony Car? In fact the notion of affordable performance from the dealership was a novel one until the Mustang came along. The Pony Car era, followed by the dominance of Muscle Cars- they can all trace their roots back to the Mustang.
And the Ford Mustang does not cast aspersions or put on airs. It knows what it is, and its drivers know what it is. So what if the fit-and-finish is not up to snuff? Ford put its resources in all the right places- making sure that the car is a hell of a lot of fun to drive. A 5.0-liter V8, manual transmission, and a live rear axle? Most drivers should be so lucky as to enjoy such a combination in their daily driver.
Besides, all of this performance is affordable. Consider the Mustang Boss 302. The thing is an absolute beast of epic proportions, and gives you performance that rivals the BMW M3. All this with a base price in the neighborhood of $42,000, while the M3 only starts at $60K. Expect to shell out a lot more.
And the new Mustang ain’t so crude. The V6 model, when paired with the automatic transmission, it earned the accolade as the first ever mass-produced road car to generate more than 300 horsepower and achieve more than 30 miles per gallon highway. That is perhaps one of the most impressive feats about the car, and Ford is hard at work on a Mustang for the global market. In order for it to compete on a global level, Ford will take care of the fit-and-finish, and will offer refined, turbocharged engines, routed through dual-clutch manual transmissions. Suffice it to say, the Mustang will meet all of our performance expectations, while finally catering to the performance customer. Regardless of what shape the new Mustang will take, it will always be capable of putting a smile on the driver’s face.