It will be ancient history by the time you read this, but I’ve just ticked one item off my bucket list: to drive a Ford Mustang. My mind keeps replaying a blow-by-blow account of the past 12 hours, even as I amble down a Cape Town International Airport skywalk towards a flight that will dump me back into reality in two hours time. As I flop down into a window seat, the last words to myself before I doze off are: “Now for the Porsche 911 GT2 RS . . .”.
Here’s what transpired earlier in the day:
That morning, invited by Ford SA to drive the 2016 Ford Mustang, I’m filled with thoughts of Eleanor: that 1965 Fastback that stole the show on the Nicolas Cage movie Gone in 60 Seconds.
I also think back to my younger days at home, glued to a VHS playback, excited by the famed car-chase scene in Bullitt. Hollywood heartthrob Steve McQueen at the helm of a Ford Mustang is pursued by a bunch of baddies. The crooks aren’t doing shabbily themselves, in an equally iconic and bad ass Dodge Charger. The chase wreaks havoc on San Francisco’s streets – both cars getting crossed in drifts, and many moments are spent airborne, including dropping a hub cap in one of the scenes.
It’s youthful fantasy all over again, and the fleet of colourful Mustangs lined up at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, has the hooligan inside me raging to get out to smoke this beautiful collection of Fastbacks and cabrios.
A mixture of thoughts swirl in my mind at this point. There is great sense of occasion about this start to the day, but mostly I think of my late grandfather – a bona fide petrolhead, whose list of cars owned in his lifetime includes a Ford Impala Coupe, an Alfa Romeo Guilia and of course, this, a long-nosed, late seventies model Ford Mustang.
A four-cylinder engine convertible is not how I pictured my first ever swing of a real Mustang’s tiller, but here it is, its aggressive new face staring back at me. It has to be said that the way Ford has successfully captured the classic lines of the ’65 Mustang on this new version is amazing. No time to waste though. I peel off its roof to the demands of a crisp Camps Bay morning and point it left towards one of the Cape’s most famous roads. Along the way, I initiate myself with the convertible. It is surprisingly spacious inside, larger in fact than the coupes it competes with price-wise.
Surrounding furnishings reveal that Ford wanted to capture days gone by with a largely stark dashboard. The steering wheel also tips a hat to its forebearers in styling, and most of the bits that could have required separate buttons during the 60s are now hidden in digital togs and a touch-screen interface. It’s also roomy enough to satisfy practicality. But before I could develop a feel for where many items are placed, my formal thoughts are rudely interrupted by the magnificent valleys in the area.
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