Like you, I’ve just seen the Twitter tweet from the FoMoCo about the new Mustang inspired SUV EV. And if you haven’t, I’ll let that sink in for a moment before I carry on.
So Ford are to market a Mustang SUV for the masses. And as I sit here at home, I can hear the internet explode with people tapping violently into keyboards with the caps-lock on.
But is this such a bad thing? I sat through the presentation of the new Ford Puma SUV and agreed with Ford. I liked what they had done. I don’t for one moment care about the Puma coupe car. It was based on the Fiesta, filled a niche and thankfully was short lived. It also rusted with the same speed as many 80’s Italian cars so thankfully there are very few left.
But Mustang. Using the Mustang name for an SUV. Is that wrong? Is it right? What does Mustang actually stand for?
Well to answer this, we need to go back in time. A time where Ford and its Mustang changed the world. The Mustang was launched in 1965, the Mustang was based on the Ford Falcon mechanicals. A bit like the European Capri based on Cortina origins.
Unlike its European cousin, the Mustang was a new concept in adaptability. It was a car for the boy, the girl, the mum, the dad and the retired. It encompassed all genres and appealed to all people. You see, the Mustang was available as almost any car you wanted it to be in an array of configurations that confused.
You could get the Mustang as a daily hack, a sports car, a luxury car, saloon, coupe or convertible. It was the first mass appeal car to hit the market and because of this adaptability, it appealed to the American buyer and became a staple diet of the motoring landscape.
However that was all set to change. Its ever ability to change chameleon style came to a crashing stop when the short lived (for a reason) second generation arrived in 1974. The writing was almost on the wall already with the 71-73 models becoming bloated with bigger bodies and nothing extra in the go-go department. So the 74-78 models with its emissions controls thwarted the Mustang in its steps. No sooner had the Mustang become synonymous with the word “sporting” it soon became a car known as a horse ready for the glue factory.
Sexual invigoration with the aid of Charlie and his Angels couldn’t inject anything into this Mustang. Jill Monroe might have had a white Cobra 2 Mustang, but she soon left the Angels. No doubt because her car couldn’t cope with carrying her big hair. This left accident prone and always getting shot, Kelly Garrett and her beige Mustang Ghia and we’ll leave it there.
Over the next 20 years, the ‘Stang stayed relatively small in size. It aided its sporting looks and there really isn’t much to say about it until 2005’s Mustang arrived. Designed by Sid Ramnarace, the fifth-generation Mustang’s looks brought back many design elements of the original. This sparked a return to form for the Ford Mustang. It was once again a fast Ford for the masses. It no longer had appeal and availability of its original model but it was fast, available in a coupe or convertible and most importantly, it was affordable.
Suddenly Mustang was the buzz word for the FoMoCo in the USA and any that made their way, in left hand drive, to the UK would turn heads. It looked the part. Fitted the retro scene well that the Chrysler PT Cruiser had failed at and everyone wanted one. Even Knight Rider had one. That’s right, the 2008 reboot had a Ford as the hero and not a Pontiac. And it worked. At least in the pilot episode when KITT changed into a 1965 Mustang. Anyway, KITT was a Mustang, hardcore KR fans melted and after 18 episodes, it was canceled.
2014 and we in the UK finally got a Mustang with right hand drive. It remained a biggish car but it was rather well suited to our roads. It remained cheap for a 5 litre muscle car with the savings evident on the quality of the trim on the inside. But no one who owns one really cares about that. It sounded great, went fast, sounded faster and looked great.
So are Ford wrong to market the Mustang as an SUV? Looking back through its history, you’d think not. It hasn’t exactly been nice to the brand name. The Don Taylor and Tom Wilson book. Mustang Restoration Handbook, summed up the 71-73 cars as styling misadventures. What followed wasn’t really anything to shout about either.
The original concept was a car that was adaptable to fit the many needs of the motorists. But they have done things with the Mustang as a brand over the past 14 year, making it a stand alone product, so I don’t totally agree with what they are doing with the Mustang brand. It makes my teeth itch a bit
The Mustang, the car for the American people, doesn’t need this SUV makeover. Or does it? Well, yes. Yes it does. Not forgetting it’s questionable past, it fits with the concept of the original Mustang.
This will be a Mustang of sorts to suit everyone. Just like its original.
Motoring nurse or medical motorist? It’s a difficult one. By day l nurse and by night l drive.
Fingers have always been grease deep in attending the motoring of an ageing fleet. And now l write about new and old.
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Member of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. (SGMW)