Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mustang Cool

Mustangs are cool. They are one of the most legendary and enduring GT cars of all time. Yes, there were the neutered Mustang IIs of the mid-seventies and there's always been something a little blue collar about them. They don't have the breeding or sophistication of a Jaguar, Ferrari, or James Bond's Aston Martin. And you won't see one parked on the lawn at Pebble Beach next to a Talbot-Lago or some other over-restored rare bird.

But then Mustang owners wouldn't park their cars on the lawn. They'd farm it like a NASCAR driver on the infield at Daytona.

Cool. There's a reason why Memphis Raines' unicorn was a modified 1967 Shelby GT500 named Eleanor. Even James Bond drove one in "Diamonds Are Forever". But to me, the coolest one was the 1968 Highland Park Green example Steve McQueen drove in "Bullitt".

The original Bullitt Mustang was a basic, stripped down street machine with Torq-Thrust wheels. It prowled the streets of San Francisco with a 390 cubic inch V8 soundtrack. There were two cars built for the movie. One was supposedly destroyed during filming and the other is hidden away somewhere by a reclusive owner who makes JD Salinger look like Donald Trump.

In 2001 and again in 2008/2009, Ford produced a limited edition Bullitt Mustang to commemorate the movie. The new Bullitt Mustangs share the stripped down look of the original. They aren't the fastest or the best handling, or even the most collectible version. They don't have the 390 cubic inch engine or the legendary 5.0, but they are by far my favorite.

But no matter what version, the Mustang is cool. It has that It factor. Like a pair of Ray-Bans, jeans or Classic Rock there is an honest, American quality to them. Unlike some of the more expensive and pretentious GT cars, you don't have to put on airs to own one. You just drive it.

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