5.0 Mustang & Super FordsNews & Views
Boy Meets Car - Bench Racer
Everywhere I turned, people assumed I knew a lot more about the new Mustang than I actually did. They assumed I had received some really early look and I was just playing my cards close to the vest. Now I can keep a secret better than most, but the truth is I hadn't seen it, and I'd received no special treatment regarding the car. I knew what most everyone with Internet did—rumors.
As you know, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet. Anyone can post, so the veracity of the information out there can vary wildly. However, when you see a lot of posts centering on the same subjects, you begin to get an idea. The nearer we've gotten to the car's official reveal, the more computer renderings have appeared. Everyone wants to get traffic and make a name for themselves on the back of this 50-year-old Pony.
While I enjoyed reading all the supposition, I prefer to offer as much reality as we can get on these pages. What the car might or might not be is really irrelevant in the end. Once the mainstream press and web prognosticators see the real thing, they'll be off chasing the next big car reveal with rumors and renderings. Those of us that love the Mustang will be living in the moment with the real car.
Well, in mid-October I finally received my first opportunity to lay eyes on the much-heralded S550 Mustang. Ford summoned me and a select group of other media to its design center in Dearborn, Michigan, for a no-cameras, don't-talk-until-later viewing of a life-size model of the '15 Mustang. That's right—as of this writing, I still haven't seen an actual car, but the model looked just like a real car.
Now, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Before I talk about the car, I have to say that Ford knows how to build tension up to the big reveal. Before pulling the covers off the new car, we had lunch, we chatted, and then we were ushered into the hallowed halls of the design studio.
We entered a hallway lined with inspirational images and three significant vintage Mustangs—a '65, '67, and '69—that were said to have most influenced the design of the latest steed. Once the media assembled, a who's who of Ford management regaled us with the thought and research put into creating this car. In short, this is a big deal.
In that moment, all of my airs of professionalism faded away. I'm supposed to be a member of the automotive press, but I know better. Deep down, I'm still a kid that fell in love with Mustangs. I started to think about how many people would have loved to be in my shoes. I was about to see the new Mustang before most people in the world.
Before that actually happened, my mind started to wander. What would the mainstream automotive press complain about now that the car has an independent rear suspension? Are my fears about moving away from the retro design founded? And most of all, will I like the car? Doing my job could be challenging if I didn't.
After being energized by the passion of the Ford team, we walked out into a courtyard to see a life-sized model under a cover. The big moment was coming. Had the Internet guesses been spot-on? Would I hate it? Love it? My curiosity had reached a fever pitch.
With the car placed at just the right angle, the cover was removed—and I was overcome by a sense of glee and relief. It was like doing a 0-100-0 test. Excitement about the future raced through my head, yet relief lifted off my shoulders. I never like the new Mustangs when I first see them—S550 is the exception to that rule.
Now, it's clear that Ford is both trying to broaden the car's audience while retaining the passion of its core audience. I am fine with that. It stretches for a new era by leaving much of the retroactive styling on the design-room floor. Sure, the front will need to grow on some loyalists, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it.
What was most illustrative of the car's appeal was revealed when Ford pulled out a '14 Mustang and put it next to the '15. As my friend, mentor, and 5.0&SF contributor Tom Wilson observed, the current car “looks like the box the new car came in.” That is to say, the '14 looks downright plain in comparison. I agreed—and I really like the '13-'14 cars.
Probably the most telling indicator of my opinion was a fleeting thought I had during the continuing presentation. I briefly thought, "Maybe I should sell PVT..." I quickly came to my senses, but I definitely see one of these new cars in my future.
Obviously, you may have a different opinion. You've had about a month since the official images hit the Internet. Do you like the car? Has it grown on you? Or, do you plan to stick with an older Mustang?
Hit me at email@example.com or @editorturner on Twitter and let me know your thoughts.