Before opening this can of worms, let me qualify myself as one who has spent a lifetime with Mustangs. I have been an enthusiast, an owner, a restorer, a clubber and an event promoter all within the Mustang realm, over a dozen from almost all generations have graced my garages. I have a Mustang tattoo.
This means to many, I’m one of “them”. Maybe I am, but I consider myself reformed. Mustangs are great after all, but they are not God’s gift to the automotive world and neither is Ford.
That said, the introduction of the new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E has opened a hotly contested conversation if not a social war like the automotive version of the question of whether Trumpism is a good or bad thing. Is this damn thing really a Mustang? Has Ford gone mad? Or is this just a thing that those core Mustang nuts really get bent about and who cares because they are almost all dead anyhow?
So I figure I might as well get my fingers in it. Let me start by saying that my first gut reaction when I heard Ford would call this new all-electric crossover SUV a Mustang was one of disgust, anger, resentment and incredulousness – some of the stages of grief yes. But I also know Ford is indeed off their rocker more often than not, so was I surprised? No.
Like most poison pills however time has allowed me to step into some level of acceptance. Just like the progression of socialism, I have slouched into the warm fuzzy feeling of not caring as much anymore. Well ok, not exactly that but let me explain.
Back in my twenties when I was restoring vintage Mustangs of the 1960’s era, I had this dream one night that Ford had made a Mustang version of their F100 pickup. It was all dressed up, had a V8 and a luxury interior. Yes a queer concoction, but at the time in the dream I liked it.
Fast forward to about 2009, I met and had a private audience with Ford’s now CEO Jim Farley who had just then joined the company. He had asked me, then the publisher of one of the largest Mustang news websites on the net, how I thought the company should approach the next generation Mustang.
At the time, well tired of the old solid axle Fairmont-Fox based cars they had been shoveling at us like steaming turkey shit for decades I told him, “Take some chances and push the envelope a little. Stop trying to save a buck and please the old guys at the Mustang Club.” “Be bold”, I said.
That car was the upcoming 2015 Mustang and while they did push the envelope, it was never as much as I thought they should have progressed the marque. It could have been smaller, lighter, more aggressive but so could so many things in this world.
With the new 2021 Mustang Mach-E, in doing my homework for my first test-drive review I uncovered the factoid that it was indeed Ford CEO Jim Farley who suggested they make this new all-electric crossover a Mustang. He is the Anti-Christ! Yes, he is the one!
I’m being a bit facetious there but surely some feel that way. I on the other hand know he is a Ford guy through and through if you read up on his history. He has been a Mustang owner since his teenage years and continues to have a collection most would envy. So he gets some slide on the Anti-Christ thing from me a little.
So what the hell am I saying here? Well all I can say is that we live in different times. We are lucky a front engine, V8 powered muscle-car Mustang even exists at all. So many times over the last 50-plus years Ford has tried to ax it because they just wanted to be rid of the no-profit waste of space.
Over the decades too they have also hung its name on some pretty wickedly shitty cars. There was that whole Mustang II thing. Oh the horror. Then even in the early Fox-Body days, some of those cars were absolute junk. I know, I owned one, or two, alright maybe four.