If you ask someone not from the United States to name some American cars they know, the first name they will probably say is “Mustang”. It’s an evocative name for an iconic, long-running and unmistakably American car. In Australia, it seems like more than half of the classic American cars I see on the roads are Mustangs despite the car never being officially sold here prior to 2015 (except for a tiny 377-car run in the 2000s). So, now that Ford officially offers it here again, how does it sell?
Like hotcakes. I can’t go a day without seeing a new Mustang (or four). While coupe sales tend to cool off after a while, the Mustang is still running strong after its 2015 re-introduction. In fact, twice as many Mustangs are sold than the Toyota 86 or the Hyundai Veloster, the second and third best-selling coupes here. Both of those cars sell for around the $AUD30k mark, while the Mustang starts at $45k, so that’s an impressive sales performance for the Yank. It’s especially impressive considering most Mustangs sold here have the 5.0 and are thus even more expensive.
When I went to the All-American car show at Lakeside Raceway last year, I saw that at least 40% of the cars on display were Mustangs. While I got up close and snapped away at lovely old Imperials and Skylarks and Grand Ams, I generally ignored the Mustangs but for an alluring ’71 Mach I. Imported first-generation Mustangs are so common in Australia that I don’t even give them a second glance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ragging on the early Mustang. They’re just part of the scenery now.
However, I couldn’t help but photograph these new Mustangs juxtaposed against old ones. I know the current Mustang gets some grief for its styling but for the people who are buying them here, Ford designers have hit the sweet spot. There is an especially strong resemblance to the 1969-70 models. Maybe the retro shtick might be getting tiring to some enthusiasts, but to the thousands of Europeans and Australians who can now buy a Mustang from a Ford dealership (or, more accurately, from a long waiting list), this is what a Mustang looks like. To them, it’s like buying a classic ’69 without having to sacrifice any modern creature comforts or drivability.