Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Return of the Muscle Car

I've always been partial to the Ford Mustang. When I was 15, my parents helped me buy a rusted out 65 Mustang with a 6 cylinder engine and a 3 speed manual transmission. I learned to drive a stick shift by driving that car up and down my driveway while I waited for my 16th birthday.

A year or two later, I found a '66 Mustang with a 289 V8 engine and automatic transmission sitting in a grass field. I bought it and my dad towed it home. It had been sitting in the field so long that the floor boards were rusted out, the drums were rusted (it took a while to get the wheels to spin to tow it home), and the brake lines were nonexistent. I did all the work myself, getting that car road-ready. I drove it to high school and to all my dates with my girlfriend.

So, I have fond memories of the old Mustang. Of course, I sold it and then regretted it. Years later, my friend Kris saw a '66 Mustang convertible at an intersection. He asked the girl driving it if it were for sale. She gave him her dad's phone number, which he gave to me. A couple of weeks later, it was in my garage. (see it here)

So, naturally I was excited to see the new 2005 Mustang. I must say, Ford hit a homerun with this one. It's not perfect, but I think it has just enough mix of old styling with new innovations to make it an exciting car.

I was also excited to hear that Pontiac was reviving the GTO. GTO is another classic muscle car from the '60s. I was anxious to see what retro styling cues Pontiac would use in the new model.

I was very disappointed to see the final result. What makes the GTO any different than any other Pontiac (or any GM car for that matter)? There is nothing distinctive about the styling of the car. And for a base price of $33,000, I would want something a little more exciting. Ford's done well to offer the Mustang GT at a base price of $25,000. (and the 6 cylinder Mustang base price is only $19,000).

Of course, I'm partial to Ford because of my emotional connection with the Mustang, but I really feel Pontiac missed the boat on this one. It was a great opportunity to revive the muscle car with a distinctive throwback model that could compete with the Mustang. Instead, we got just another Grand Am with extra horsepower.

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