While the current Mustang is slavishly, unimaginatively retro, Ford has pretty much mined out its glory days, the as-yet unrealized Mustang II redux notwithstanding. So the next car will be fearlessly modern. Many Mustang faithful are up in arms at the prospect of Ford’s next hot rod looking too much like the 2011 Evos concept car, but we have confidence. Between the Focus and the Fusion, Ford’s styling department is on a hot streak.
The current S197 Mustang has been a wild success for Ford, recalling, and sometimes relentlessly aping the styling of late 1966-1970 Mustangs. This latest rendering of the 2015 Ford Mustang by Car and Driver switches the derivative look from its own storied history to its Ford stablemates, particularly the Fusion, and to would-be competitors like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe (and maybe even the Nissan 370Z).
A bit surprisingly, this freshening is meeting with some trepidation by the faithful. On Mustangs Daily, for example, the faithful are wary.
Looks too much like a Genesis, Ford could be making a mistake straying away from the classic Mustang look. Certainly not for us older Pony Guys! – user “The Night”
This comment about “older Pony Guys”raised eyebrows here.
Dear handwringing Mustang fans:
Take a deep breath about 2015. Haven’t we been been down this road many times before? Let’s remember when the Mustang decided it could be a pony and a racehorse: Boss 429, Boss 302, Mach 1. Those were no “secretary cars.” I suffered the ignominy of 1971-73, when the Mustang seemed to switch its diet from protein to Dunkin Donuts. the looks were still kind of zoomy, but the waistline was moving in the wrong direction.
Then came the dark(er) ages: the Mustang II. All that had in common with the glory days was a few styling cues. The highest compliment I remember reading was that Consumer Reports was impressed by its monstrous
wartsbumpers. Then came the Fox bodied Mustang – a shortened Fairmont. Plastic end caps and a different greenhouse on the outside, similar terrible seats and the same basic dash. But we loved it:
- it was not called “Mustang III.”
- It was no longer anything like the Mustang II
In year 1, you could get a normally aspirated 4, a turbo 4 or a V6 or a 302. Yes, the engine choices got worse before they got better. Still, the wholesale rewrite portended great things. The basic body styles carried over, and a couple of engines, but otherwise, it was like Ford woke up from a bad dream and started making real Mustangs again, with only the barest homage to the past.
In 1987, the model range took on a new, modern face, which evoked only the 1986 SVO. We survived. In 1994, the Fox remained under the skin, but the sheetmetal was all new. It wasn’t a retro car any more than the Mustang II was retro: three section taillights, side scallops and a big horse in the middle of the grille. After a few years of a refreshed version, we got the current car.
The history of Mustang, viewed through a 50-year-old lens, is reflected in this car, as much as we can tell from renderings. If the reports are to be believed, you will get speed, even better handling, adult-sized seating for 4 wrapped in a good-looking package. The history of Mustang is not slavish devotion to past styling: it is just simple respect for it. Designs evolve. Sometimes, it’s steady and gradual, like 2005-2014. Sometimes it’s punctuated, like the threshold changes of 1974, 1979, 1994, 2005. The only constant is that it is aways changing, and, except for the early 1970s and the 80-81 Mustangs, always improving.
Mustang will be fine, even if the changes are drastic. You’ll be fine too.
A fellow fan