Sorry, but it’s hard to go green when there’s a bloody red Mustang sitting in the driveway.
The kid came in laughing. Grandad in a Mustang? Ha, ha. What a hoot and giggle.
Okay son, so wait until we find some open road. With decent turns. Wait until we find a tunnel and take in the howling, scowling echoes of a proper V8. Listen up _ there’s plenty of vroom and plenty of room for older folks in this American coupe. Plus, a tonne of street cred behind those tinted windows.
For as much as the motoring world is sparking up about electric cars and hydrogen-fuelled trucks, as much as folk are burying carbon in the forests of the new world, there’s a job ahead to wean many off old-school internal combustion engines. V8s in particular.
For many there remain the visceral delights of a petrol V8 in full song, a quartet of exhaust pipes grumbling and mumbling at idle, thumping and angry at speed. Then there’s the exhaust’s snap, crackle and pop on the overrun as the driver backs off the throttle.
Now while today’s automatic gearboxes are convenient and efficient _ sporting too with a set of steering-wheel paddle shifts to change ratio, these can never surpass the satisfaction of snicking manual gear changes through a well-sorted transmission.
And where some parrot the virtues, with conviction, of front-wheel drive there forever remains the intuitive delights of balancing a rear-drive machine just right through a highway’s twists and turns.
Ford’s 21st century Mustang Fastback has all this and a fair stack more. A proper bargain starting around $65,000.
These are handsome, low-slung machines with muscled-up style, flavoured with a hint of menace. Yes, the two-door coupe has limited rear seat space and access best left to minors but the front buckets are great and all a driver needs is close to hand.
Plus the Mustang arrives with all the mod-cons, all the driver and safety aids, all the infotainment gear. The boot is a good size for a weekly shop or a week away.
What’s more important is that five litre V8 under that snout, a petrol-burning engine that produces 339kW (around 450 horsepower) and 441Nm of torque. This allows for excellent get-aways through all that torque and tonnes of power right through the rev range. It’s an engine that loves being worked through the six-speed manual. (There’s also a ten-speed auto option.)
And the Mustang and driver also love swinging through the bends, particularly up a mountain road. Switch drive mode to Sport and the steering feel tightens up so there’s no argument about which way the front wheels are pointing while the ‘Stang hunkers down at the rear. There’s a confidence to the package, despite the Ford’s heft. Plus there’s that never-ending soundtrack. Easy to go for a week without turning on the stereo.
The Ford Mustang is not everyone’s cup of tea. Costs a bit for what’s essentially a two-seater. Burns fossil fuels. Sounds loud. Yet this is a wonderful way to remember internal combustion engines. And quite a usable sports car. For all ages.