First Drive: Ford Mustang 5.0 GT V8 - North Devon Journal
"Yes not everything American translates neatly from one side of the pong to the other. Some like breaking bad, does, but others, like wearing Stetson and cowboy boots to dinner, kind of doesn't. Big V8s are quintessentially American but how do such things actually work on a British road with its damp potholes, crumbling edges and short-tempered heavy traffic?
Even on British roads, driving a Mustang is a bit of an event. There's no requirement to go 'yeehaw' every time you accelerate, but you can if you want to. Or just smile ever so slightly as that V8 rumbles and surges into action. Lift an eyebrow if you're feeling particularly frisky.
In so many ways the Mustang feels exactly as you'd imagine, but in a few it doesn't. One surprise is that the 5.0-litre V8 doesn't sound quite as muscular as you'd imagine. The sound is there but it's well damped. There must be companies queuing up to sell you an exhaust that remedies that situation.
Still, you sit there in a definitely American cabin, looking down that long bonnet, while the engine quietly pulses away. The six-speed manual box feels very far from high tech but it is actually linked to the engine, so slot it in, ease the clutch and add some throttle.
The rear sits, the front rises and you head odd like a speedboat coming up onto the plane. We're becoming used to seeing all the manufactures making smaller, turbo charged engines to improve emissions, and it's a salutary reminder of what we're lost to drive a big naturally aspirated engine.
It's so straightforward, so honest. It's not that sophisticated but that's not the point. It also needs revving a touch more that you might imagine, but that's no hardship, as shifting down a gear or two and giving it some throttle is a simple pleasure.
You'd expect the handling to be pretty poor and it is unsophisticated compared to some European rivals around the same price point, but equally it's a lot more together than it used to be on such cars. There's a jittery feel to the ride that never really goes away unless you're on a smooth road - so, when driving abroad then - but the considerable 1720KG kerbweight is kept in check pretty competently.
The steering is pretty inert, but you can get the thing powersliding if that's your thang. The rear locking diff does keep some control however, so this is far from ludicrous ride even if you're trying to be.
Inside it's faintly Spartan and even smells like a Yankee car. You can't see a lot through the narrow windows, but you can see enough. Annoyingly, that means people will have trouble looking in and seeing you behind the wheel.
In right-hand drive form, as here, the Mustang 5.0 V8 GT makes for a welcome change on our roads. You wont find anything else quite like it at the £34,000 mark. You won't find 416bhp like this either for the money. It is an event and if you like this sort of thing, the bite the bullet and get one.
It'll make you smile at least.