Same, same but different.
While technology has evolved and regulations have morphed over the last 50 years forcing the Mustang to adapt; underneath the metal lurks the same ethos that’s made the Mustang a success story since the first one rolled off the line…
This ’69 ragtop features a carbureted Windsor 302, out of the box it offered buyers a stout 220 hp. It burbles happily on idle and makes pleasing sounds even under mild acceleration– the smell of gasoline is intoxicating and you feel feedback from the engine vibrating through the go-pedal.
The 310 horse 2.3L direct-injected EcoBoost 4-cylinder in the ’16 is a totally different experience. It’s quiet at idle, and only really comes alive around 3 grand with a pleasing woosh of the turbo and a kick in the pants of torque.
The EcoBoost is capable of pulling down 28 mpg, you don’t want to know what the ’69 gets.
The ’16 EcoBoost we had featured a slick shifting 6-speed manual– aside from the utterly comical first gear it’s makes for a fun and engaging drive.
The ’69 on the other hand features a simple 3-speed automatic. The gears are long which let the RPMs build towards the top of the rev range, where most of the power is hanging out anyways.
The front end of the ’69 almost has a mind of its own. The vintage power steering almost overwhelms feel from the tires; and through longer corners, even at slow speeds, it wants to wallow a little bit. But no one will ever say it’s uncomfortable.
Compare that with the revised suspension of the 6th Gen Mustang, particularly the new IRS in the back. It’s sporty without being stiff, it can still get jumpy over broken pavement, but nothing compared to the live axle days.
Different rules, different times. The interior of the ’69 is airy and spacious, containing only the essentials. The gear shift is mounted low on the floor in the ’69 and it feels very much like you ride on-top of the car vs the ’16 which wraps around the driver.
Probably the biggest tangible difference between the two is in the ’69 you can actually cruise comfortably with 4 people in the car, just try that in a ’16.
It’s a totally different experience driving the ’69 and the ’16 back-to-back. We take for granted how things have progressed. The ’69 features optional discs in the front and drums in the back, the pedal is an on or off affair, you almost need to check your perceptions at the door.
The all mechanical controls offer different feedback and require a different touch versus the computer controlled throttle and electric steering of the 2016.
When you sum the differences it’s easy to come to a conclusion. The 2016 EcoBoost Mustang is easy to drive, while the ’69 is nice to drive.
On the fashion front you get plenty of looks in the EcoBoost with the top down, but that’s absolutely nothing compared to the admiration in peoples eyes as you cruise by in the ’69.
Sure the EcoBoost is comfier and more viable as a daily driver, but if you asked me which I would rather drive I’m taking the ’69 all day, 8 days a week…