We encounter a visitor a long way from the prairie.
There’s a commonly employed saying which goes along the lines of, ‘if you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly’. The notion being, I suppose, that the apogee of ursine ambition is to be as large, hairy and fearsome as possible. It’s also another way of suggesting that one ought not settle for second-best in life. All in all, as a statement by which to live, it’s very post-millennial.
In Ponycar terms, whether Ford’s Mustang or Chevrolet’s Camaro represents the living embodiment of the musclecar breed probably hinges upon where one stands in the whole Ford versus GM debate, and represents a fray I’m really not prepared to join from my position of relative ignorance and relative ambivalence.
The Ford Motor Company, in their post-Unlearning phase of market strategy appears to have concluded that what the European customer wants is more emotional product. I’m not entirely sure if that is true, but what can be said is that there is a palpable sense that Ford’s European customers have been a little underwhelmed by Uncle Henry’s offerings of late.
Hence the advent in right-hand-drive of hitherto US-centric models. Perhaps the thinking in Dearborn was that there remains a nostalgic gap in the market for the Mustang’s erstwhile European equivalent, and since Ford has no plans to sanction a modern version of the ‘car you always promised yourself’, customers could sublimate any latent desire with the real thing, rather than its flouncy second-best Euro-facsimile.
The entry point to European Mustang ownership is represented by the 2.3 litre EcoBoost turbocharged four, which develops a lusty 310 bhp and is where the bulk of RHD demand might be thought to reside. Certainly so in the Republic of Ireland, where its output (and likely emissions) would make for an ambitious ownership proposition before one even approaches the question of its physical size on rural Irish roads.
It’s unlikely that many Mustangs of any stripe have issued forth from Ford’s Marina-based Irish importers, so the sighting of this 2017 example during my recent sojourn in the Munster region proved something of a surprise. But what we have here my friends is no Shetland pony-car. Behold the Grizzly of Mustangs (apologies for the mixed metaphors but it’s been a long week), being nothing short of the fully-loaded 5.0 litre V8, developing a mighty 435 bhp. Gulp!
I must say that the sighting of a locally-registered modern-era Mustang in my adoptive Lilliputian town felt surreal enough, but the realisation that it carried the fire-breathing V8 beneath its immodest power bulge lent it an entirely otherworldly feeling. As did the earth trembling sound of its Coyote V8 reverberating through the subterranean car park as it rumbled out into the evening gloom.
As it did so, it occurred to me that its owner has not only taken the whole ‘be a Grizzly’ adage to heart, but is clearly in possession of sufficiently deep pockets to live out his Wild West dreams on the Wild Atlantic Way.