Happy birth­day to the ev­ery­man’s sports car

Emirates Man - - CONTENTS -

The Ford Mus­tang is clas­sic, Amer­i­can-made mus­cle. Made leg­endary by stars like Steve McQueen, the iconic mo­tor cel­e­brates its 50th an­niver­sary this year. And while it may be get­ting older, the pony car shows no signs of slow­ing down

When it rst rolled off the Ford as­sem­bly line, the Mus­tang was an enigma. Like other sports cars of the pe­riod, it was ex­pertly styled and had a thump­ing great en­gine un­der the hood. But un­like the As­ton Martins and Fer­raris of the world, you could pick one up for a lit­tle over US$2,300 in 1964.

To keep pro­duc­tion costs down, Ford based many of the in­te­rior, chas­sis, sus­pen­sion and driv­e­train com­po­nents on its ex­ist­ing mo­tors, the Fal­con and Fair­lane. Thanks to its price point, the Mus­tang quickly be­come known as the ev­ery­man’s sports car, go­ing on to sell over 22,000 on the rst day of pro­duc­tion. Two years later, Ford had shifted a mil­lion more.

In the years that fol­lowed, the Mus­tang be­came more than a four-wheeled mus­cle car, it be­came the stuff of leg­end. In 1965 you could pick up a 4.7-litre 306hp V8 Mus­tang that would leave an As­ton Martin DB5 in the dust, for a quar­ter of the cost.

It was the raw power be­neath the hood that would ul­ti­mately at­tract Steve McQueen, who fa­mously chased down a black Dodge Charger in a dark green 1968 GT fast­back in Bul­litt. Since then it has be­come a Hol­ly­wood sta­ple. Even Sean Con­nery as James Bond aban­doned his As­ton Martin for a 1971 Mus­tang Mach I in Di­a­monds Are For­ever.

As the leg­endary mus­cle car turns 50, Ford has done ev­ery­thing right. For 2015 ev­ery­thing has been up­dated with all new sus­pen­sion, elec­tron­ics and en­ter­tain­ment. But with a mon­strous 5-litre V8 un­der the hood, and a de­sign that in­cor­po­rates the iconic sweep­ing bon­net and fast­back rear win­dow, it’s un­mis­tak­ably Mus­tang. Clear proof that Amer­i­can mus­cle isn’t dead. It’s sim­ply im­prov­ing with age.

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