HCOTY Nominee: The Ford Mustang – ‘64.5 – ’70, ‘78 – ’98, ’05- present
Nominated by: Graverobber
As Seen on drag strips, Dairy Queen parking lots, multiple covers of Fast Fords magazine, and, up until 2004, emerging from Ford’s historic Rouge River assembly plant.
I’m not nominating a particular car that has been featured here on the Hoon. Nor one that’s particularly esoteric, or even unobtainable for the average enthusiast. No, I have picked the Ford Mustang, in multiple year and iteration because it embodies both the physical attributes that engender maximum hoonability, as well as what could be considered the heart and soul of the American automotive establishment.
What other car is so immediately representative of both the American experience, and outlandish hoonability? Not only that, but the Mustang is available today in every form from collectable classic to fresh off the dealer lot daily driver. In between those extremes is forty four years worth of pavement-slamming, tire smoking, all-American cheerleader rocking the passenger seat, drag stripping, pretender embarrassing, Mustangasms, with even more to come.
Here’s my evidence for the Mustang being the Hooniverse.com Car of the Year-
It engendered a whole new category of automobile– They don’t call them pony cars because of the Camaro.
It’s value and ubiquity have engendered multiple generations of wrench-turners- The Mustang, for a lot of car nuts has been their very first car. Because it’s both easy to work on, and begs for add-ons, many of us have learned how to repair and fix up cars with the Mustang as our learning tool.
It’s named after the greatest WWII fighter plane ever– Need I say more?
It has rarely strayed from its intended path– While some Mustangs have been of questionable origin, Ford has done a commendable job in keeping the car true to its roots. Even today a brand new Mustang still rocks a cheap and durable live axle and is easily upgradable for more hoon.
It comes with one of the best V8 engines ever built– Many will mention the Chevy 350 when talk turns to small blocks, but the Ford Windsor thin-wall V8 in its many iterations, from 221 to 351 have provided millions of miles of carefree driving, and are susceptible to tuning which can provide horsepower in the gigawatt range. Carroll Shelby bares witness to this fact.
It’s what you want it to be– V8, V6, Straight six, turbo four, or shakes like a dog shitting a peach pit 2.3-litre four, the Mustang has, over the years, offered engine choices to fit any mood or wallet. Of course, I lean toward the V8s myself.
It’s damn good looking– Ford captured lightning in a bottle when they designed the original Mustang, and while some of the models have lacked certain aspects of that iconic shape, they’ve always been close enough that you could say- that’s a ‘Stang. The past five years have been particularly good, and anyone who claims the current Mustang is boring because it is “retro” is missing the point- it looks the way it does because that’s what a Mustang should look like.
It speaks to the best of what America is– This is the greatest nation on Earth, let’s just get that out of the way early on. For all our faults – and there are many – we live in a land that is aspirational- you don’t see boatloads of people leaving the U.S. for Cuba or what not. The Mustang epitomizes the expression of power and freedom that America captures internally, and attempts to express externally. The Mustang truly is America’s Car.
It just keeps getting better- The 2011 Mustangs have been announced, and while they continue to provide the kind of sassy youthfulness that can be enjoyed by both young and old- they also bring to the table new-found levels of both power and frugality unknown just a few short years ago, and remain unmatched by the competition.
As this, its 45th full year in production approaches, it would seem to be a point when a brand would be in decline, but Ford instead is investing heavily in the Mustang’s future, making it not just the car of this year, but of many years to come.
That’s why the Ford Mustang gets my vote for the first ever Hooniverse.com Car of the Year. Now go play in the street!