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Mustang Must-have

/ Posted By William Walker

Just last week, the Need for Speed movie was released. It’s based on the video game series of the same name that was first launched in 1994. Need for Speed is the most successful racing video game of all time and has mainly focused on a street racing theme.

The movie itself has received mainly mixed to negative reviews but I doubt that matters too much to the people involved in creating it. Films like this tend to put all the focus on the action rather than a credible story line. Aaron Paul, aka “the guy from Breaking Bad”, takes the lead role but the real star of the show is the Shelby Mustang GT500 made specifically for the film.

The Ford Mustang is a legendary car and has been featured in many songs and films such as Bullitt and Gone in 60 Seconds. It was a game-changer that created a whole new class of car – the “pony car.” The pony car class describes affordable coupes with an emphasis on performance featuring long bonnets and short boot lids. It was an instant hit and had other manufacturers racing to create competitors. None of them captured the hearts of the public quite like the Mustang though.

The Mustang has a very passionate fan base – so much so that they saved the car when Ford threatened to end production in the mid 80s after a long period of poor sales.  Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development said: “Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car. The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they’ve never driven one. Mustang is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

It’s also the most “liked” car on Facebook, breaking the 6 million fan barrier this weekend. Ford recently stated that over half of those fans are outside the US.

Having been initially launched in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, the Mustang is now about to celebrate its 50th year of continuous production. So, to celebrate such a momentous occasion, Ford is finally taking the Mustang global.

Other than at a handful of American military bases, mainly in Germany, the Mustang has only been sold in North America. Any Mustang you see elsewhere in the world has likely been imported by the owner – and there's lots of them. "We kept seeing them show up even though we don't sell them in China, Australia and other places," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's head of North and South America.

That’s why Need for Speed is so important. It’s giving the Mustang a global audience ahead of its release later this year. In fact, the movie has even been criticised by some as basically being a two hour long Mustang commercial. No doubt, a lot of the recent Facebook likes came from people seeing the commercial movie.

The design team responsible for this sixth generation Mustang was led by Moray Callum – originally from Dumfries. Despite worries from fans that Ford would ruin the car in an attempt to make it more appealing to European buyers; everyone was relieved when the car was officially unveiled in December. Ford said they realised people, even outside the US, loved the car because of what it was – its bolder, more aggressive American styling – and so didn't want to change the recipe.

The car is noticeably smaller in height and slightly wider than the outgoing model, and generally looks more refined. The interior has also been re-designed and is made of higher grade plastics and leather. The top of the range engine will be an improved version of the 5.0 litre Coyote V8 that's been available for the last couple of years. Final performance figures haven't been released but Ford promise it will deliver at least 420hp. There's also the 3.7 litre V6 that's also getting an upgrade from previous years and that should develop around 300hp.

A brand new engine will slot between the V6 and V8. For the first time since the 80's a 4 cylinder engine will be available, one of the “EcoBoost” variety. It'll be a turbocharged 2.3 litre developing at least 305hp but with significantly more torque than the V6. A 4 cylinder engine in a muscle car just seems wrong but with fuel prices so high and UK tax being based on CO2 emissions it'll likely be a big seller.

The Mustang is my favourite car and I hope to own my own one day. It'll certainly be an upgrade over my Volvo. In a way though, there's a tiny part of me that's disappointed it's coming to the UK. Part of the appeal of owning one over here is that it's so unique – you'll rarely see another. Now that it's going to be available at your local Ford dealer it'll become so much more common. Regardless, the Mustang will still be a stand out car.

Compared to your average Euro-box the styling is much more aggressive, and with the deep roaring V8 it'll sound amazing too. The car will surely be more successful than Need for Speed, it is a Mustang after all and you can't not love it. Check out Mustang Inspires for images, videos and stories of Mustangs old and new. If that doesn't make you fall in love with it then you can't have a heart.

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