Bullitt for the New Millennium

I’m not a car guy, at all. I hardly know anything about them, I can’t generally tell one make or model from the other, I’m not much more than just a functional driver. I drove a Jeep for a few years mostly because my brother liked them, and it was the cheapest convertible I could afford so soon out of college. As far as I can remember, I’ve never really gotten all that excited about a car other than the hybrids, and that was just because of all the computer screens.

But I keep seeing the new Ford Mustang and thinking Daaaaaaamn. If that was my ride I would truly be bad ass. I haven’t had that gut reaction from a car since I was around 12 and got convinced I wanted a Trans Am so I could be like both Knight Rider and The Bandit.

I don’t know if it’s because of my early mid-life crisis, or some over-reaction to all the Fiona Apple and Norah Jones, or if it’s just my inner redneck. And I feel weird getting all excited over a Ford. But just look at the thing — that’s what a car’s supposed to look like. Not some ubiquitous black Volkswagen Jetta that might as well have “GENERIC CAR” stamped on the side in Helvetica right over a UPC barcode that you drive to the Pottery Barn and the Apple Store. This is a bad-ass V-6 that you use to haul ass down to the Wal-Mart to get a butt rock compilation CD and crank it all the way up, man while you’re driving God knows where thinking about NASCAR and how automatic transmission is for pussies. And blogging.

11 thoughts on “Bullitt for the New Millennium”

  1. I really liked the new ‘stangs, until I realized that the position of the wheels make it look like the chassis has slid backwards on the frame. The front wheels are too close to the front, relative to how close the rear wheels are to the rear. It just looks … unbalanced. Once I saw that, I couldn’t look at the car anymore, and not have that be my dominant thought.

    Second best thing Ford’s made? The Ford GT. The best? The Focus WRC car. You might not look like a butt-rock listening, NASCAR racing madman, but hoo boy, will you be fast.

    And broke.

  2. Naw, you see, the engine is so damn fast that the body just can’t quite keep up.

    I’ve spent over an hour now just looking at all the pictures and video and reading reviews of the thing and using the build-your-own section almost like it was a porn site. I’m smitten.

  3. Yeah, it looks cool. But it’s still a Mustang, the least cool of all muscle cars…

    I was hoping the new Dodge Charger would be kick ass, thus adhering to the coolness that is Mopar, but so far it just looks like a big-ass sedan with a lower bumper. Yuck.

    As for retro-styling, I still like the new Thunderbirds best. (Another Ford!)

  4. The new Thunderbird just looks like they’re trying too hard. It’s just barely a step above the PT Cruiser.

    As for “the least cool of all muscle cars,” eh, whatever. The Charger and the GTO both have lousy new versions. As far as I’m concerned, the new Mustang hits just the right mark where it implies a ’67-’69 muscle car but isn’t too over the top retro.

  5. Gadzooks. I *hate* the “new” Thunderbirds. Not like my aesthetic judgement means anything, but holy cats, that thing is a land yacht. Which may be the point, but the best Thunderbirds were, if memory serves, relatively spry little things for their time.

    The GTO is absolutely the least inspired revival of a brand I’ve seen in ages. Hey, we’ve got a car from Australia (yeah, like Mr. Hootchminson) we’d like to sell, but calling it the Monaro would be suicide. Let’s call it the GTO, and completely obliterate any positive associations with that brand!

    Don’t even get me started on the HHR, the PT Cruiser, or the SSR (that weird retro pickup crapmobile).

    Best retro “revival” so far? The Miata.

  6. But I know what you mean about the “build-o-matic” things. I probably virtually built 10 dozen RX-8’s before finally deciding that I just couldn’t morally own a car that got 16 mpg. :

  7. Well, be careful with the build-your-own sites is all I’m saying. I wasn’t paying attention when I hit the “check price in your area” button, and didn’t notice that Safari had automatically filled in my e-mail address, so now I’m getting spammed by dealers in SF who really want to sell me a Mustang GT convertible.

  8. And oh yeah, speaking of morally owning a car: for me to actually buy a Mustang would be impractical on every conceivable level; the only way it’d be worse is if I had a kid.

    I’m sure that someday I’ll actually be driving to work again AND my current car will have outlived its usefulness AND I can make car payments AND increased insurance payments again. And by that point I’ll probably get a hybrid Passat or something comparably practical and soul-crushing.

  9. I guess the 1955 (?) two-seater that Suzanne Somers drove in “American Graffitti” would qualify as spry (and yes, they probably were the best looking), but after 1957, those cars were anything but little thing…in fact, I’d say the new version is a lot smaller than the majority of the Thunderbirds of yore.

    And I STILL think it looks cool. For a Ford.

  10. Maybe, Chuck, all you need to do to cure yourself of your desires is drive the thing. A friend of mine bought one of the last generation Mustangs, back when they were new (and so much better looking than the ’80’s crapmobiles that people thought they actually harkened back to the ‘stang’s glory days). I drove it out to an interview, back before I had a car of my own, and holy crap, the thing was so awful in every way to drive that I’ve never, ever had a desire to ever own a Mustang, since. Ever. Awful interior, terrible ergonomics, poor exterior vision, muddy handling, blah blah blah. List goes on. So, maybe all you need to do is drive one, and it’ll completely cure your lust for the car.

    And Rain – point taken, re: Thunderbirds. I originally only remembered that type specifically (from October Sky, though, not American Graffitti). 😀

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