“Tax­ing my Mus­tang V8 will cost me £555. Now I want to set fire to it and roll it off a cliff”

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS -

I have been the proud owner of a V8-pow­ered Ford Mus­tang con­vert­ible for sev­eral months now. I bought it be­cause, oddly, it ticked all the boxes I needed in a car (four seats, ISOFIX, very loud) and be­cause I wanted to pre­serve the hon­our of the time­less and ven­er­a­ble nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 mo­tor while I still could. For months I’ve rev­elled in its ef­fort­less torque and sen­sual sound, and would have con­tin­ued lov­ing it but for one sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment: I just re­alised that tax­ing it will cost me £555. Need­less to say, now I want to set fire to it and roll it off a cliff.

I can put up with the fact that it only man­ages about 20mpg. I can put up with the weight of the clutch, which has made my left leg so ripped it has its own six-pack. And I can put up with the thim­ble-sized gas tank, which means it has about the same driv­ing range as a Nis­san Leaf. But £555 in tax? I’ve bought en­tire cars for less money.

It’s lit­tle sur­prise, then, that V8s, par­tic­u­larly those that breathe air at at­mo­spheric pres­sure, are on the wane. Their dis­dain for mother na­ture means more ef­fi­cient tur­bocharged en­gines are now the fu­ture, and there’s no go­ing back.

The cold hard truth is that in Europe al­most no­body buys n/a V8s, and al­most no­body both­ers mak­ing them – be­sides Ford, Lexus (LC500) and Maserati (GranTurismo, although not for much longer). Ev­ery­one has moved on, down­sized and em­braced some com­bi­na­tion of tur­bos, diesel or elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

But you know what? That’s not nec­es­sar­ily the most ter­ri­ble thing in the world. My at­ti­tude is “Let ’em die.” And that’s com­ing from a fully paid up mem­ber of the #stang­gang. Oh yeah, that’s a thing. Hell, I’ve even con­sid­ered ru­in­ing the whole nat­u­rally as­pi­rated pu­rity thing and su­per­charg­ing mine – every­body with a mod­ded Stang has flirted with that idea. In the fu­ture, I’d even em­brace a hy­brid Stang – when Ford re­leases one in 2020, I’ll be the first to hand over my money. And why not? Forced in­duc­tion and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion im­prove ac­cel­er­a­tion – only some­one wear­ing heav­ily rose-tinted specs would deny that – and make your road tax a lot less alarm­ing. The only place I’d draw the line is buy­ing a Mus­tang EcoBoost. Life’s too short for four cylin­ders.

Ul­ti­mately, then, the main rea­sons to stick with nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8s are nos­tal­gia, stub­born­ness, or be­cause your dad’s the boss at Esso. But the re­al­ity is that some things need to be let go be­cause they’re patently too ab­surd to fit in with our mod­ern lives.

Case in point: I want a pickup truck. I’d want a lowrider like Snoop Doggy Dogg had so I could re­peat­edly bun­ny­hop all four wheels three feet in the air while me and a friend twirl a skip­ping rope around it. I want an old ’69 Corvette, be­cause that’s the car as­tro­nauts drove. I want a mo­hawk.

But I re­alise that some things are only a good idea in prin­ci­ple and, all things con­sid­ered, buy­ing my Mus­tang was prob­a­bly not the smartest idea I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not ready to sell it any time soon, but when it leaves my drive­way, my heart will go on. I might still dab­ble in older V8s as and when I get the urge, but where new cars are con­cerned the big, love­able, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 is very much on the way out. And as strange as it sounds to say it… I’m OK with that.

“Tax­ing my Mus­tang V8 will cost me £555. Now I want to set fire to it and roll it off a cliff”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.