Good news for fans of the iconic Ford Mustang. No longer will fans desperate to clasp their hands around the steering wheel of a genuine Mustang have to rely on grey imports as Ford have confirmed that the Mustang will finally get a European release.
The bad news is that there is no definite date set as yet, and it could well be another year and a half or so before we get to see these cars in the showroom, the good news is that it is very likely that the Mustang will form part of a major strategic raid on Europe that will include up to around 15 models of car – and that it will be available in right-hand drive of course.
The European Mustang is rumoured to be getting a 2.3 turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, rather like that of the manual transmission SVO from the mid eighties. Indeed, it was even mooted that the revamped engine would be exclusively for the European market, but sources inside America say that Ford may have had a rethink on limiting the engine to just the European market.
I don’t think we can begin to grasp just how exciting this is so far ahead of a potential release date, but mark my words, when the time comes to open up dealer ordering, and the first reviews start to take centre stage on all the big automotive websites and in all the monthlies, it will be very difficult to find someone that doesn’t know that Mustang is coming to Europe.
Ford Motor Company introduced the Mustang way back in 1964 and with its success has spawned many wannabes over the years. That long front end and shorter rear profile can be all but traced back to the Mustang.
The Mustang spawned the ‘pony car’ look in America, a sharply defined group of affordable sportscars that hark back to the days where American classic cars were heavily stylised, a time when beauty over function was paramount. More because the designers of the day had yet to learn of the real benefits of wind tunnels and computer aided design and petrol was not considered a luxury.
Some of the competitors to the soon-to-be mighty Mustang are worth a mention in their own right, the rather lovely Plymouth Barracuda from around 1965 somehow combines the look of Lady Penelope’s pink Thunderbirds car with the more sporty Mustang itself. Take a look below.
Mustangs were originally made up of a myriad of parts from other Fords to cut down on cost, it’s a process that is still used today – you might well own a ‘special edition’ version of a standard car from one of the large manufacturers, and the truth is that many such cars are merely standard automobiles with left-overs from the factory floor hurled at them till they look just different enough to merit having a new name.
It’s amazing looking back that the Mustang survived at all, as the redesigns of the car seemed to grow lazier with each version after reaching a natural peak. While we are now accustomed to next-generation designs of our favourite sportscars losing weight as torque and acceleration are increased, the Mustang had almost the opposite happen.
The redesigns of 1967 and 1969 seemed to add nothing but bulk to the poor Mustang, as if the pony had started to dine out on it’s success. Ford cannot really be blamed for this of course, as we are talking about a time in American motor history where consumer demand for bigger cars was increasing. The result for the Mustang was that the 1971 version was a full 3 inches wider than the version from a year before.
Ironically, as Ford strived to satisfy the American public’s desire for big fat cars, sales dropped and the Mustang looked doomed.
It was Lee Iacocca once again riding out from the sunset that saved the pony from the knackers yard. Iacocca had played his part in the original design while working for Lincoln-Mercury Division, and was they who had came up with the original Mustang design.
Almost ten years on from the original release, the Mustang was once again a svelte beast with power. The diet worked, as sales figures for the first year were a comfortable 385,993. The Mustang was saved.
So far we‘ve had five generations of the Mustang, with the sixth generation now just around the corner. In fact, if you listen carefully, you can just about hear the pounding hooves and the snort of the engine as time gallops forward, ever closer to the day when the Mustang will arrive on European shores.