2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang. I was lucky enough to have a short drive of a friend’s car, built in 1965. It was an experience, to say the least.
The car has been thoroughly restored, and the original colour of Smoke Silver with Shelby stripes remains. The body is immaculate and paintwork pristine. There’s no denying it looks magnificent. Inside is pretty much standard, too. It has a Shelby woodrim steering wheel to complete the retro look.
This is the first left-hooker car I’ve driven. Initially, it felt a little strange changing gear with my right hand, but I was soon distracted by the weight of the clutch. I kid you not, my left calf muscle is now twice the size of my right…
The 4.7 litre V8 under the bonnet produces somewhere near 250 bhp. It is by no means a fast car, but when it comes on cam at around 3,500 rpm, there is a noticeable change of pace as the blood from your eardrums runs down your shoulders. The engine is without doubt the highlight of the car, it sounds bloody great.
The operation of the car requires much more effort than you would care to imagine. I have already mentioned the weight of the clutch, now I’m talking about the brakes. Basically, if you can see an object, it’s already too late and you’re going to hit it and burst into flames – just like the films. No, really – you may as well drag the soles of your shoes along the tarmac, like you would slow a BMX bicycle down.
As you navigate your way up and down the gearbox, double de-clutching and heel-and-toe shifting techniques are useful to ensure a smooth transition. It isn’t compulsory, but of course doing so, you have access to the sublime engine note.
This car has a belt-driven power steering system fitted, so at least my arms are still in place. However, it felt a little strange as bearing in mind the weight of the other controls, you would naturally expect the steering to follow suit. The owner of the car drives it to Le Mans, so power steering is a must.
Also fitted, are Koni gas shock absorbers, chassis rail extenders, and tramp bars which keep the car travelling in a straight line, or thereabouts. In the films, when you see the actors constantly juggling the steering wheel, I found this genuine rather than theatrics in order to keep the car true.
Realistically, the car drove like a pig. It is hard work, uncomfortable, and there really isn’t much confidence in the brakes. Completely overriding this, is the noise and the smell. To take out now and again, it won’t fail to put a grin on your face as it turns heads and bursts eardrums.
With Special Thanks to;
Owner of R & S Classics;