Please allow me to say this of the 2016 Ford Mustang: “It is hermoso caballo” or “a beautiful horse”.
Mustang purists have been saying that of every Mustang since the mid-60’s and they have every right to. However, the Ford Mustang, Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette, in particular, have always subscribed to a different set of design rules from any other cars. These cars did not need the refreshing or redo that other cars had to cycle through on a regular basis. Sometimes we get a new Honda Civic whether we want one or not. A Toyota Camry will spring up on us unannounced, and any number of new Nissans or Volkswagens have flashed before us and been transformed into something else before we could settle in on the design of the old one.
Not so with the Ford Mustang. It, like the ‘Vette and 911, were cars that didn’t have to subscribe to the rules of style. They were never supposed to be beautiful cars. No. they were always granted a reprieve from that. They were to be beautiful in what they were. Fender flares, spoilers, swoops and air dams could be thrown on occasionally with nary a word said. They were never judged with other cars among the faithful, they were referred to as: “…a good-looking Mustang…” as opposed to “…a good-looking car…”. They didn’t have to compare to other vehicles that had to exude value or safety. These cars seemed to exhibit power, strength and speed. The swollen haunches or duck tails let us know that a Mustang was in your lane – not just an ordinary car.
It didn’t have to be beautiful when parked next to another car – much the same way a hammer doesn’t have to be beautiful when placed next to a diamond. The hammer speaks for itself and states its purpose simply by sitting there. You respect a mustang for what it is. Pure and simple: a Mustang.
I am a man who has enjoyed his share of Fox-platform ‘Stangs, fallen in love with (and owned) SVOs, and ogled a Mach 1 from time to time. A GT350 or KR Convertible coming across an auction block will seem to snatch my pupils until they surrender. All of them are beautiful Mustangs. However muscular or menacing their presence, they were always criticized for ergonomics or awkward design cues that were all part of the joy of owning one. Times have changed and the pony car must compete with the rest of the industry to win the affection of generations who were not even thought of in 1964. Yes, there are people in your community that have never known the growl of a proper 302 or rumble of a 289. As terrible as that is to hear, it is a reality my generation and those before must face.
The Ford Mustang can no longer be a beautiful Mustang. It must now be an aesthetically pleasing design. Enter: the 2016 Ford Mustang. A car that I walked around at least 20 times at auto shows this year. This is not only the best design in years, it is actually a beautiful car in itself. If you plastered another manufacturers badge on the back, it would still be beautiful. Hints of Aston are here and there while maintaining everything that makes a Mustang a Mustang. While being up-to-the-minute in styling, it retains the squat stance, enlarged “hips” and sloped back we all know and love. Perhaps this is how people felt in ’64 when they got their first look at a Fastback Mustang and ordered thousands upon thousands.
I applaud Ford and the many designers who have kept the tradition of the Mustang alive and preserved the beauty of the horse. I must also give a few extra kudos to those who birthed the present design. Form base model to top-of-the-line, it is as good to look at as it is to drive. This is not a review; simply a man languishing in a car that he once thought was its own beauty and is pleased to say that the beautiful horse is a work of art for the Ford faithful and everyone else as well.