I was just trolling around some pictures of the LA Auto Show circa 2005. I can't remember what year it was, but it was the year of the Maybach. There was the prototype for the Honda Ridgeline and I think for the new Charger. At that moment in American cars, the biggest hottest new thing was the Chrysler 300. Why? Because it was gangsta and it had a big motor and it went fast.
This last year, the most exciting thing in American cars was, without a doubt, the new Corvette. It took forever for me to see one actually get driven by the guys on YouTube.
Now I live in Southern California and I know a thing or two about cars. Once upon a time, I used to drool over the Saleen. Whatever happened to Saleen is a mystery to me, but I do know this. The new Ford Raptor made everybody forget about what Saleen did to Ford Trucks. Ford owned that, and they still do. But if we look back at the real magic of Ford, it was the GT. Your realize of course that Jeremy Clarkson bought one and we still have to look to Europe (Gawd) and the BBC to get people who talk unashamed about car performance. I hate that Southern Cal is dripping with Priuses, so where do you go? Well, for years you go Japanese.
Except that Chevy has done something fairly racy with the Camaro. I never hated but never really liked Camaros. During my hot car years it was the same a Firebird and who could tell the difference? And what was the point of all that anyway. You got two nearly identical cars neither of which could whoop a Celica GT. Speaking of GTs, isn't it obvious that the Nissan GT-R owns all American cars? And anybody would have been a fool to pick a Mustang over an Infiniti G. Why? Because Nissan Skyline. It's what every kid wants but can't have. And kids have been tuning since Mazda RX3s.
The bottom line is that it don't mean a thing if your car ain't king. And Mustang is king of nothing, except maybe old Bruce Springsteen videos or something like that. Don't get me wrong, I bet Bruce Willis has got a really tricked out old something. But if there are two cars that have just completely lost their way, one of them is the Nissan Z and the other is the Mustang. I touched the dashboard in one of those Mustangs a few years ago and I thought I was in a Yugo. I would have said Hyundai but Hyundais are nice.
Now there is something to be said about a hyped up Ford Focus. But you can't drift in a FWD car unless you're a pro. Not saying everybody needs to drift a car to feel the sporty thing, but you have to hand it to Leo Parenti. He knows that unless you are the little brother of a real racing car, you're just a hot rodder. Well we can do all that hot rodding ourselves, but it would be nice if the factory had some balls.
Right now that factory is Chevy and that car is Corvette. Corvettes race. Porsches race. A sports car that's not a race car? Well, I guess that would be a Mini, a Boxster or a BMW convertible. And quite frankly, no Mustang is going to compete.
So to Parente's questions:
WHAT do you want Mustang to BE? WHAT do you want to SAY about Mustang? WHO do you want as your Mustang audience? HOW is the best way to reach them?
1. Really I think it comes down to the convertable. If, when you think of this car as a convertible, you think, man I gotta have a roll bar or wow does that chick look hot in it. That tells me if it's a real sports car or just a sporty car. The new Mustang should be *the* base car for the kid tuners of tomorrow. RWD, front engine, sports car, with all kinds of aftermarket kit for the car geek. People should look back 10 years from now and say Ford made a real, honest, no-compromises, affordable sports car. Not just a sporty looking car, a sports car.
2. Nevermind. That's all I have to say.