The big thrill in 2008 was the Mustang GT Coupe and the wisdom on the street is that Ford did a good job in capturing the essence of the muscle car in this iteration of the Mustang. The sleek style and the sound of the exhaust were top pleasers. Ford must be doing something right. Its Mustang accounts for 50 percent of sports cars sold in the United States.
But first…a little sidetrack…
In his book, The Mustang Dynasty, John M. Clor refers to the period since 2005 as “back to the future” and it is an interesting take on the Mustang story. Clor’s theory is that the original Mustang success was more serendipity than good planning. He states that the Mustang is different from any other car, before or since, but that the Mustang nearly did not make it.
The Falcon-based youth-targeted car started with a budget of $40 million which was barely enough to money to even think of a new car design. On top of that, the designers were given a mere year and a half to come up with the dream car. It was like this, the Fairlane Committee that included Lee Iacocca and Don Frey among others were really putting the pressure on the Ford board of directors. Basically to keep the Fairlane Committee off their backs, the board gave them the minimum money and a tight timeline.
The rest is history. The Fairlane Committee succeeded in spite of the lack of support. Clor made the point that the Mustang has been the only “bright spot” in the Ford array of vehicles. The reason for this is that Ford keeps coming out with special models that appeal to the Mustang lovers, which is considered to be an image conscious market.
What this means is that Ford has one true constant in its production that has been successful over time and that is the Mustang. So in order to keep people coming back, Ford has to concentrate on the Mustang and it does this by looking to the past and reviving what Clor calls its “supposedly glorious past.”
It’s tough. Ford has to look ahead and capture the hearts of a very different target market while promoting a past that may not have been as great as it now seems. There is a line about people – the older we get, the better we were. Ford has this kind of thing going with the Mustang – the older it gets, the better it was.
This is the gist of Clor’s book. It make interesting reading. It also make a person think about whether this is the way it really was. Because of the affection that many have for the classic Mustang, I don’t agree that the older it gets, the better it was. It was always better.
But Clor is right about how Ford keeps the Mustang alive and thriving with its special models. In anticipation of the next unveiling, people do speculate on what the next special model will be.
So back to the dream car….
Will it appeal like the Mustang GT Coupe? Will it rest on the laurels of previous Mustangs? Rumors suggest a retractable hardtop convertible and more hp but nothing really startlingly different in spite of its need to compete with the Camaro and the Challenger. The next really exciting new look is apparently slated for 2010.