Let’s clear this up once and for all. The Ford Mustang is not a muscle car and it’s about time people stopped referring to it as such.
It was a pony car. It was indeed… the original pony car. If you don’t already know this, the first hit on a Google search will tell you:
"Pony car is an American class of automobile launched and inspired by the Ford Mustang in 1964. The term describes an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image.
It wasn’t a muscle car."
The muscle car was uncompromisingly designed for power and straight line speed.
It did not have a sophisticated chassis or clever engineering in anything but the engine - let alone have the sleek styling of European performance cars.
The muscle car was the blue collar car guys car. Inexpensive. Any cost or money spent went to straight line power. It was a light-to-light racer. It could also be a cruiser, a road tripper eating up the miles… or a frantic cross country racer chased by the cops driven by the lone driver, the last American hero, the electric centaur, the demi-god, the super driver of the golden west!
Over the years, you could get away with calling the Mustang a muscle car as the lines blurred out of the seventies and into the eighties and nineties. Then even when it was remodelled and brought back to life most recently though, it still had a live rear axle which made the handling suck.
If it made the handling suck, “Why would they keep it?” I hear you ask.
Well, firstly crap rear suspension helps the Mustang lose control and fly into crowds of onlookers if you believe the memes… but most importantly it’s cheaper - which fits with the pony or muscle car ethos.
However in 2015 Ford switched the Mustang over to independent rear suspension.
“What’s a live rear axle?” “What’s independent suspension mean?” I hear some of you ask?
Google it. Jason from Engineering Explained is better at explaining it and I can’t be link to the video here.
So, where were we?
Ford switched to independent rear suspension. Awesome. Welcome to the 21st century and going round corners and stuff!
To the point it’s as much fun to drive a canyon as it is to nail it in a straight line.
Yes. The new Mustang is a full bloodied sports car - and a very good one. I had the pleasure of driving one up and down a long canyon road for a day and it was great. Fast, sure footed… fun. I’m originally from Europe and if you had de-badged it completely and sat me inside having not been in one before; I would have sworn it was a European sports car.
It cares as much now about it’s handling as it does it’s power.
The Ford Mustang is not a muscle car. It never really was, and from 2015 onwards it certainly isn’t.
Oh, and neither is the new Camaro. The only genuine muscle car in production right now is arguably the Dodge Challenger.