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Car Lust Mustang Classic: Mustang II Cobra II

We end our Mustang retrospective week with a true classic Car Lust: The Mustang II. This post generate moderate interest when it was first put up, but after I linked to it on a Mustang II enthusiast site the partisans came out to defend their car. As much as I love the II's -- I own one, after all -- I had to admit that Chris was mostly correct: It wasn't the greatest car of its time. My view is that the II tried to be too many different things at once -- pony car, personal luxury car, small sporty import, etc. -- and ended up not being very good at any of them. I still think it was a far better car in a lot of ways than the preceding generations, but there you have it. 

by Chris Hafner on September 21, 2007

I wouldn't feel right running a week-long Poseur Muscle Cars in the Afternoon feature without honoring the granddaddy of faux muscle cars, the hands-down premier combination of puffed-up ostentation with knock-kneed weakness, the in-the-sheetmetal realization of the saying "All Hat and No Cattle."

Yes, we're discussing the Ford Mustang II--the Pinto-based blasphemy to the Mustang name. Even today, if you mention the Mustang II to hard-core Mustang fans, they're likely to blanch and quickly change the subject.

When the Mustang II was introduced in 1974, the idea of a downsized Mustang was a pretty solid one. The previous-generation Mach 1 was a massive car--still easily the largest Mustang of all time--that could nevertheless really only fit two people comfortably. Given the trends of the time, a smaller car and a smaller engine made much more sense.

Still... a Mustang based on a Pinto? The Mustang II, symbolizing, I suppose, the rebirth of the Mustang, wasn't a terrible-looking car when it debuted. In fastback trim, with the original relatively understated graphics, it looked pretty good. The Ghia luxury notchback edition, on the other hand, looked pretty awful.
 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: 1964-1966 Mustang

This post was part of our All-America Week back in 2011 where we celebrated many classic American cars. The original Mustang could not conceivably be excluded from that list.

Ya know, I can't believe we haven't done this car yet. After all, this may be the most lusted-after MustangTempaffordable and available car in American history. "Mustang Fever" overtook the USA in 1964, and it hasn't gone away yet.

I guess this post is a little late to the party to be included in our recent "Old Fords Week," but as timeless as these cars are, maybe they don't belong there anyway. I'll stay away from just a boring history of the car (We all pretty well know it anyway) and just try to explain why I think we admire these so much.

I think the main reason people first liked these Mustangs is because anybody could make a Mustang their Mustang, and on a reasonable budget. Each Mustang could be carefully built from Ford's options list, and would be truly unique to the customer.

Mustang showRather than today's mundane trim packages that let you constantly meet yourself on the highway, personalization was what these first Mustangs were all about. And I don't think that philosophy has ever changed.

At one time, there were over 500 dealer spon- sored Mustang Clubs across the country and around the world. 1970 was the peak year with over 200,000 Mustang club members worldwide. In addition to swapping information and stories about them, they are also a great source for parts, or maybe even to find the Mustang of your dreams.

So, do you want to keep it all original? Maybe make it look stock, but replace the suspension, brakes, and drivetrain with modern stuff? You can do anything you want to a Mustang to make it your car.

To read the rest of this post and comment click here

 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: The First Special Edition Mustang

Today's Mustang Classic deals with one of the "Special Edition" Mustangs from the first generation. 

I was cashing a check at the bank recently, and the friendly teller lady had a picture of her '66 Mustang MustangTempright there. I knew we had cars in common and that car obviously meant a lot to her, so I asked her about it. She proudly told me it was a "High Country" Mustang; a car that I had never heard of.

There were people in line behind me, so I got all of the information from her that I could as quickly as I could. She motioned to the extra fender badge, and I smiled and acted like I knew what she was talking about.

But later I talked with a bud of mine who has owned several Mustangs and taken them down to their last lock washer. He hadn't heard of them either... so then I didn't feel so bad.

HC Ad 1966Sales were slow in late 1966, so to boost them locally, a special promotion vehicle for Colorado-area Ford dealers was made. The 1966 High Country Mustangs were special in that they had an extra badge on each front fender, a choice of three unique colors: Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, or Timberline Green, and, well, that's about it. But all 1966 Mustang body styles, powertrain combinations, and all other options were available with the package.

To read the rest of this post and comment click here

 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: Can You Go Home Again?

Today's Mustang classic was originally submitted by Car Lust reader and Carspotting: Auto Archeology Editor Michael E. Gouge. It's a wonderful ode to Michael's automotive youth and rekindling at least some of what made it such a grand time, connecting two generations of Mustang. 

Mustang guest post
For my fellow car lovers, there is no need to explain the bond a 16-year-old has with his first car. Mine was a 1966 Mustang in Nightmist Blue, and it opened up a world of freedom, of escapism, of pleasure in the sound of an engine purring along an open road. In other words, this angst-filled teenager discovered a home, a sanctuary, in a Mustang.  Three decades hence, that old pony car--along with my youth and a new-found euphoria for the open road--are but memories.

Thomas Wolfe, the acclaimed Lost Generation author who hailed from my hometown of Asheville, N.C., famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.”  The phrase comes from the title of Wolfe’s follow-up novel, published posthumously, to his thinly veiled scathing depiction of Asheville in his classic 1929 work, “Look Homeward Angel.”

Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and fame … back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

I’m offering this brief note on literature because I find myself in some ways journeying back to those youthful dreams and memories Wolfe found are often ruined by time and circumstance. My time machine: A descendant of my long-lost Mustang.

To read the rest of this post click here.

 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: 1984-86 SVO

Another day, another Mustang. This time a true Car Lust Classic: the 1984-86 Mustang SVO. It was a different kind of Mustang in a more European mold, with a turbo 4-cylinder and an emphasis on handling over straight-line performance. While a truly fine car, it didn't make much of a lasting impact on the Mustang line.

I usually go on and on about cars with big honkin' V-8s in big American iron and leave the sporty little 1980

2-MustangSVOs turbo coupes to my fellow bloggers. That's probably the result of the era that I grew up in, where displacement was king and handling an afterthought, if that. Long hood, short deck, and no fewer than 8 cylinders of raw muscle, that's for me, thankyouverymuch.

In a departure from my usual schtick, I shall now sing the praises of another of the forgotten Mustangs  and a true Car Lust special: a 4-cylinder turbocharged Mustang, the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) made from 1984-1986. It was probably the closest the Mustang ever came to a European-style coupe in terms of execution and all-around performance. And, of course, in true Car Lust fashion, it pretty much went nowhere, too.

To continue reading this post, click here.

Car Lust Mustang Classic: Ford Mustang Boss 302

We begin our retrospective tribute to the Mustang with one of the (few) truly classic cars we've covered, the Boss 302 by our own Chris Hafner.
 

Boss3021_2 I've been doing a little bit of introspection lately, and in the course of that introspection I've realized I've done a really poor job of representing muscle cars. Okay, I started off with a few bona fide muscle cars, but after that most of the muscle car-related Car Lusts have been poseur muscle cars, or cars like the Chevy Cavalier Z24 or Shelby Charger. Don't get me wrong--I love those cars--but frankly my inattention to true, glorious muscle cars is scandalous and unrepresentative.

I've also realized that the only love I've thrown the Ford Mustang's way, in the form of dubbing the Mustang II a poseur muscle car, was pretty backhanded. Happily, Anthony Cagle responded with a post extolling the virtues of his Mustang II. Well, no more of this shabby treatment.

 

Happy Birthday, Mustang!

It was 50 years ago this month that one of the most iconic cars in American history went on sale. April 17, 1964 to be exact. It debuted on April 16 at the World's Fair and went on sale the next day, going on to become one of the best selling cars in Ford's history and giving its name to a new class of automobile: the Pony Car. And we here at Car Lust are going to spend the next week or two looking back at some of TwoMustangsthe models we've profiled over the years. 

The Mustang went through a lot of changes over the past half century. What started out as, essentially, a dressed-up Ford Falcon soon became a monster muscle car, an accomplished Trans-Am racer, and the automotive star of numerous films. Through the dark performance days of the 1970s, it shifted back to its roots as a small sporty car, the Mustang II, probably by doing so saved itself from the fate of several other of its pony car stable mates. After a thorough redesign in 1979 it matured through the 1980s and 1990s to become a favorite of the tuner crowd, especially the 1989-1993 model years (which they very nearly screwed up). After a questionable redesign in 1994, Ford reached back into the nostalgia bin in 2005 and made the Mustang a classic once again. And now they've evolved it even further for its Golden Anniversary year into. . .well, we'll have to wait an see a bit longer how it all comes together. 

How to explain its success? 

Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Mustang!" »

April 14 Weekly Open Thread: Selling cars - tips, tricks, and any wisdom you have

Honda Civic Caravan

Ever sold a car?  Had good luck with it?  I need your wisdom.  I find myself in the unique position of needing to sell not one, but two cars.  Neither are remarkable unfortunately.  I have a 1996 Honda Civic (wife's) and a 2001 Dodge Caravan (mine) that we've replaced with a 2001 Subaru Outback (wife's) and a 1995 Ford Ranger (mine).  We thought we'd sell them last Fall, but with an early winter, busy schedule, and my own general laziness, it didn't happen.  I asked about this to a degree this past Fall here on the blog, but was hoping for some new and perhaps final wisdom before I take the plunge and get in the market.

I've never sold a car. Or any vehicle.  I scrapped my last one - The Homer.  We sold the body of Bob the Impala for a demolition derby car, but still have the motor.  All of my other vehicles were work vehicles (I used to drive 45-55K a year for work) or vehicles that went to other family members, with the exception of my 1978 Corolla that was also scrapped.

Both of the vehicles are high mileage with some rust.  Interiors are clean, and I'm willing to be honest about their warts (insert oil every XXXX miles...).  We have a pretty good set of records on both, and both vehicles we were second owners on.  Both run just fine - particularly the Honda.  It might have another 200K in it mechanically if the body doesn't rust off the frame first.

Both vehicles have sat over the winter.  One at the end of my driveway, one in front of the garage at church. I've kept both batteries charged, and have run the motors for extended periods as well as cycled the transmissions through gear changes (primarily just in the parking lot) each month to keep the fluids moving.

I'm not asking a ton - probably $1200 for the Honda and a cool $1000 for the Caravan.  If I could squeeze a few hundred more out of each I'd be truly ecstatic.  The difference between $2200 and $2600 is pretty signficiant for our family budget.

Craigslist isn't really a good options, though I'll try it (we're a small, rural town in Southern Minnesota). We don't have a consignment lot in town.  Any "parking" place with traffic will require I move the vehicle(s) regularly so they don't get towed.

So what's the secret?  They'll be as clean as I can get them.  Carpets and seats have been scrubbed. Wording in advertisement?  Locations where they'll sell better?  Prayer?  What's it take?!?

And this is also the place for any other automotive words of wisdom that you may have.

--Big Chris

April 7 Weekly Open Thread--Brown Cars Are Back!

We here at the Car Lust garage have somewhat discussed this before... the lack of any real color choices (Except for what shade of grey/silver you might fancy) on today's cars. But I am here today to say that at least on a few models, a delicious shade of metallic brown has returned.

This Lincoln MKZ Concept Car shows a deep choclate-looking hue:

Brown Lincoln MKZ

Continue reading "April 7 Weekly Open Thread--Brown Cars Are Back!" »

Meet the new car, (not the) same as the old car

The vehicle to the right there probably doesn't strike anyone as being particularly significant; for the most part it's not. Just a basic early 21st century compact Compact Sport Utility Vehicle (CUV or SUV), not too different from half a dozen other similar vehicles we see about a thousand times a day on the streets of our fair cities, 'burbs, and rural roads. Just a fairly basic 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i. Subaru

It has a couple distinctions though. For one thing, it was Motor Trend's 2014 SUV of the Year:

The Forester combines the practicality of a small, wisely engineered SUV with the fun enthusiasts will enjoy. . .The Forester has the right combination of attributes for many SUV buyers, and seems to do the impossible: It has more power than before, with better fuel economy, is fun to drive, offers generous ground clearance, and achieves all this at reasonable prices. The Forester isn't a wagon anymore. When a vehicle does this much and does it this well, it truly earns the title of Motor Trend's 2014 Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year.

So it's a decent little SUV. And as a matter of fact, it is now not only my primary vehicle, but the final contestant in an almost year-long search for something to take me into the field and back, albeit not quite at the sub-$10k amount I'd intended.

Even more than that, this thing has the distinction of being the first vehicle I've purchased since George Bush was president.

That would be George H.W. Bush.

Continue reading "Meet the new car, (not the) same as the old car" »

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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