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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Comments

So are you allowing your Merc to sit idle? Take it to the track and beat the pants off the pony car!

Never liked North American designed cars especially Mustangs.

Can think of any number of foreign vehicles I would much prefer. Mindvall them including the Mustang have no decent room in them for big ole me.

Am more of your Detroit land barge kindaa guy.

Your heart is obviously in the right place....

Here in Zürich, (Switzerland) there is a fair smattering of current generation muscle cars - Mustangs and Chargers mainly - amongst the Ferraris and Lamborghinis, - I'm afraid the sound, although impressive, reminds me more of something agricultural, and I agree about the styling. Sort of aircraft carrier chic.

Like your Mustang, I think the earlier Chargers were "better". Here's one still going strong in Zurich

http://zurich.dailyphoto.forthmedia.com/index.cfm/2007/5/29/Charger

I agree Mike, most cars have gotten heavier over the years, even the 2002Tii's modern equivalent, the 335i, tips the scales at 3600 lbs. Only Lotus seems to understand that lighter is better!
PS. Did the Mustang have a good cup holder?

Mike you got it right once again. Love that Caterham, closest thing on 4 wheels to that on 2! Still, for performance check out the best BMW of them all, the S1000 RR. Just to whet the appetite 0 to 100km/hr (62mph) is 2.9 seconds and that is not it's best attribute.

One of my friends in high school(c. 1972) got his parents to buy him a new 2002; it was about $4500. It is still the best sedan car ever made: Went fast(the magazine ads used to state that it could "run at 102 mph all day" or some such), handled well, comfortable seats, 4 cylinder only, manual trans only, and you could see out of it in all directions. A 2002 with a modern emissions controlled engine would be a sweet thing.

"... see how much air he gets here..." Great!

Pak

My second car (some 30+ years ago) was a Rover 3500 Automatic with a "small" (by US standards) Buick V8. 255 BHP, not quite in the Mustang class, but as Rolls Royce might say, "Sufficient!"

It did "zero miles to the gallon" and, even though it was a "family saloon", could lay down rubber from a standing start at traffic lights!

I loved it until it was finally stolen outside my girlfriend's house in Scunthorpe!
Annoyingly enough I heard it being taken; we were sleeping at the front of the house and I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a burbling outside...."Ah," I sleepily thought, "that's a V8 going past."....yup, it was mine!

One day I'll get a "Steve McQueen" Mustang!

"A 2002 with a modern emissions controlled engine would be a sweet thing."

Oh my yes. BMW gave out a deluxe booklet to buyers of the 1-series cars that highlighted all the supposed shared DNA of the 1-series with the 2002, but they were dreaming if you ask me (I could use a much cruder expression). The 1 series has virtually none of the advantages of a smaller, lighter car--the only real difference between it and a 3-series is that you get less room. That's it. No real weight savings, same engine, no real performance boost, no significant cost advantage even. The 1 series looks nice compared to a whole lot of cars until you realize that it utterly can't compete with a lightly-used 3 series...in any way. Except if you like being cramped in a too-small cabin. The only people I can envision liking it better are small and short people, who it might fit better.

But a REAL new-tech updating of the 2002--with the same connection to the real 2002 as the NA Miata has to the Lotus '60s Elan--*that* I'd sacrifice a knuckle of my pinkie finger for, no question.

Mike

So Sunday is car day is it?
Nice video, well positioned cameras.

Between increased safety standards (airbags, crumple zones, side impact, pedestrian impact & etc..) and feature bloat it's amazing cars aren't even heavier.

Now everything is electric, God help us if we have to roll down our windows or our heated seats don't have a memory function for our seat settings.

Would hate to know the weight difference between a 2002tii and GT seats or between the 2002 14" wheels and the GT's 19".

"Now everything is electric, God help us if we have to roll down our windows...."

Andrew,
And the funny thing about that is that in the early days of roadsters (my thing is roadsters, if you can't tell), roll-up windows were considered the height of douchbaggery--real sports cars had snap-on covers for the window openings, like on the cover for a speedboat. Only poseurs and dandies wanted a wanton luxury like roll-up windows!

Mike

As regards burgeoning size of cars over the past 30+ years, also keep in mind that today's cars are subject to newer regulations that add weight (e.g. safety and environmental) that contribute to the increased weight. I still marvel that the car I own is safer, weighs more, seats more, carries more, goes faster AND gets better mileage than the highest MPG car in America when the OPEC embargo hit in '73, the VW Beetle. And my car is not especially remarkable in any of those respects. Just well-rounded. There has been amazing progress in the engineering that goes into today's vehicles.

From how you've described yourself, I can't imagine you'd be happy owning a Mustang. But as far as them looking fat, it is an aesthetic than definitely work. Look at Aston Martin's cars. Not Kate Moss (whom I'd assume Colin Chapman would appreciate). More like Monica Belluci. Me, I'd rather the lightweight car with the full-sized woman!

Patrick

The new Mustangs are definitely chubbier. I think they're designed to compete with the other cars in the muscle car renaissance of the past few years, like the new Dodge Charger and the new Camaro, all of which are definitely fat boys.

Personally, I've never had much interest in muscle cars, especially the ones from back in the day, when they were pretty good at going fast in a straight line but couldn't corner well at all. One of my favorite memories from my irresponsible youth is racing against my friend's brother, who was driving a Trans-am (circa 1980) and I was driving a Datsun 510 (which was a popular rally car in its day, although mine was straight stock). I totally ruled that race, because it was through city streets in a northern winter. I was so far ahead of him at one point that I was able to turn around and pass him going the other way.

It didn't hurt that I didn't mind if my Datsun went into a snowbank now and then, although in that race it didn't (but the Trans-am wiped out at least twice).

At this point I should clearly state that I would never condone such behavior, and now that I'm all grown up (ha!) I get mad when I see kids take their cars drive faster than 10 MPH below the speed limit. Kids these day!

Anyway, I've always preferred light and nimble to fat and over-inertiaed. (Is that even a technical term? What else do you call it when you have too much inertia to be nimble?)

One other thing: I don't like the sound of the new Mustangs. By "new" I mean the generation that was launched about four years ago. (I haven't heard the 2012s.) I find they sound hollow, as if you put a big lazy engine inside a huge echo chamber. No thanks. I much prefer a high-revving buzz than a fat old thump-thump-thump.

UK V8 Lover,
Painful story, that...you should look up a website called Flyin' Miata. They specialize in putting LS3 Corvette engines (486-hp V8s) in Mazda Miatas. Now that is a V8...like a Shelby Cobra only better (and not as expensive to insure).

Mike

Reminds me of Joan Cusack's great line in Grosse Pointe Blank:

"I went to my 10th high school reunion. It was like everyone had swelled."

Aside: one of my favorite car chase movies is the 1998 John Frankenheimer film "Ronin." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122690/ ) There's a scene where the main characters flee a crime scene in Paris, at night, driving an Audi S8 (with a V10). It's worth a look, even if just for the audio; turn up the volume and listen to that kitten purr at the one minute mark, when Deniro says "slow down, slow down." (Usually it's the revving up that gets me going, but that RRRrrrrrrr as they slow down is delicious!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDcWMF44Cjs

And no mention of "Ronin" is complete without a link to the famous BMW vs. Peugot scene from that movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVaNBrYLvFg

Imagine the army of stunt drivers it took to shoot that!

Oh petrolheads rejoice.

The inevitable fate of most good looking cars (rare as they are) is that they (particularly if American) get bigger and fatter like the men who create them. That slim trim '65 Mustang Fastback still has it down cold in the looks dept. Just caught the latest Mini Cooper- BMW has finally revised its original revision, and it too now suffers from 'roid rage.

In the mid-60s, my father was president of the local chapter of the Jaycees, and the group decided to raffle a car to raise money. Through the local Ford dealer, somehow, they got ahold of one of the very first Mustangs, just before they were officially released to the public — so this must have been spring or summer 1964, just as I was about to enter fifth grade.

And one weekend afternoon just before the car was given to the raffle winner, my father took me for a spin in the thing, top down, through the mountain roads around our town.

I'm not really a car guy, and I have only a few vivid memories of that drive, but I can tell you I've never stopped finding those early Mustangs beautiful and wonderful machines.

Don't even ask what I think about the current 4Runners. My nice little truck from 92 has been Navigator sized or something. Perhaps the current gas prices will allow sanity to return. And no I don't hold out much hope there.

A Vette V8 in a Miata seems like a supremely bad idea. Too much weight/engine throwing off the balance. Give me a sensible car like an Ariel Atom and a 300HP Honda engine and I'll be happy (right up until I lose consciousness from acceleration).

IIRC, the vaunted Lotus 7 is a demon right up until ~100MPH, whereupon any more power delivered to the wheels makes the car an actual flying object. That's fine. I prefer life under 100MPH.

Patrick

You also have to remember that, at the time the 2002tii came out it had a lot of good stuff you could not even get in an American car. Like doors that fit, paintwork that covered All the body, and seats that didn't make you tired when you sat in them.

John 'snarky' Robison

"Is The Ford Mustang...Fat"? I am not so much concerned with the weight question. More with the undeniable fact that 9 times out of 10 expensive cabriolets are driven by elderly men with either gray hair or no hair at all. There is a certain sadness in this...

All modern versions of old classics are bloated. The BMW mini is so BIG it would have Sir Alec Issigonis spinning (transversely) in his grave.
You could probably fit an original Fiat 500 INSIDE a new Fiat 500.

And the last good Ford Mustang was the model driven by Steve McQueen in "Bullit"

Gas prices are like a regressive tax. They only hurt the people who don't have the money to pay, or who are on tight budgets. For richer people, the higher price of gas might even make gas-wasting cars MORE attractive, because they subtly become status symbols--"look what I can afford to drive."

Mike

I do not believe the current Stang could not reach the earlier weight, Mike. What with all the alloys and plastics now employed in automotive manufacturing, it ought to be easily attainable, even surpassed.

I have to politely disagree with you on the 1 series. It seems to be a remake of the e30 (late 80's- early 90's 3 series) I've always wanted. E30's have a very strong following and adding a turbo to the 325's in-line 6 is a very popular modification among enthusiasts. BMW appears to have taken note.

Then again, maybe I'm illustration of your point. I am 6' tall, but skinny, have long arms, and no children. I like bucket seats- tight ones. It's not that much extra to get the 335, but why spend more for ~500lbs of something you don't want/need in the first place.

Scotto,
Perhaps I shouldn't have been so critical...I think it was just BMW's marketing of the car as being in the 2002 bloodline that made me see red. It doesn't have the same feel to me. But I liked it a lot, just as a car--almost bought one.

Mike

Ahh 2002's...
BIG difference between the plain jane 2002 and the tii. I had a '71 "standard" and a '73 tii. 50 more hp, much tighter suspension and I think different gear ratios. The tii was quite the little Q ship.
2002s had "crumple zones". I won't pain you as to how I verified this twice.
They also had classic irs trailing throttle oversteer issues. Maybe not as bad as early 911s (esp the 930) but the first time I was all sideways in a corner with full opposite lock was a bit of a revelation.
Memories are stronger than reality. I looked at a tii a couple years ago. Nicely restored, but honestly rather simple in so many ways.
Jim
1971 2002
1973 2002 tii
1986 635 Csi
1987 R100RS
( to list but a few )

"A Vette V8 in a Miata seems like a supremely bad idea."

Patrick,
You'd think, wouldn't you? But according to FM, it only adds 200 lbs. to the weight of the stock car, and only 2/3rds of that is up front--the other 1/3 is accounted for by the heavier rear suspension and differential the larger engine requires. According to them, the conversion doesn't spoil the car's balance.

People have been doing that to Miatas for a long time...not only shade-tree conversions, but there was a company called Monster Motorsports that converted some 275 cars, and now there's a guy called Martin Wilson who also calls his conversions Monster Miatas (monstermiata.com) and he says he's converted more than 100 cars. I don't know how many conversions Flyin' Miata has done, but they have a number of "build diaries" at their website. Start here...

http://www.flyinmiata.com/V8/ScubaSteve/index.php?UID=1

...and click on "newer."

Mike

Ahh, cars. The U.S. muscle cars of the 60s & 70s shouldn't be denigrated for not being able to go around corners; they weren't designed to. The unspoken appeal was to street racers, a straight line drag race. The first ones were small, because they were base models, with maybe a little added suspension, but mainly, the biggest engine available. The iconic GTO was based on the bottom of the line, econo-box. Detroit, seeing they could sell them, started adding stuff, like heaters, radios, and the fatness started. Done all that, and now think a mini-van the heighth of auto elegance. 8-)
Bron

Well, curb weight is one thing, but aesthetically you shouldn't expect modern cars to look "svelte" compared to recent history. Current crash and safety standards (where weight is a factor, of course) include such things as a "pedestrian impact zone" in the hood, where unlucky hominids will meet a crumple of aluminum and foam before "manifold destiny" crumples them. That requirement alone will make many cars look chunky, unless their engine is tiny.

I can summarize almost 50 years of driving experience and enthusiasm: 1) Today's cars are better in every way than those of even ten years ago. 2) Drive the safest car you can afford. 3) The limiting factor on twisty public roads isn't horsepower or cornering ability - it's the clear sight distance. 4) Car vs. motorcycle - on public roads the bike will always win because he can overtake slower vehicles with ease. We don't see it in the USA, but in Europe the bikes are unbeatable. 5) Stay off the mobile phone while driving. 6) Go with the flow of faster traffic - it's the quickest, most efficient, most ticket-free way to drive.

I was amazed to find that my Hyundai i30 diesel with its 1600cc motor weighs 3,080 lbs dry.

Thinking about it, I reckon modern cars are a lot better built in terms of torsionally stiff shells, collapsible sections and fitted out with so many more features. And th door-close sound of the i30 suggests an enormous solidity that would put a 60's Jag to shame, never mind a Mustang.

For the record, I drive a 2007 Honda Fit. It will be four years old in July and so far I've put approximately 22,000 miles on it. Just sayin'

(My racing and "petrolhead" days are over.)

Cars and cameras. Two good topics!

The first time I ever drove a Mustang was in the late 80's - A LX 5.0 with a manual trans. I think I went a whole 20 feet or so before I had the back end trying to outrun the front. The memory still makes me burst out laughing. Glad the car wasn't mine because I'd have had it wrapped around a tree the first weekend.

In more modern times I recently had a VW GTI and did do some autocross with it. Now THAT is fun! On a tight twisty track that car can outrun some much higher firepower - Mustangs, Corvettes, RX-8's, etc... Pretty sure on a not so twisty track the tables would turn but then again, like with cameras it's the user not the gear, that does apply to cars too. At one of the 'crosses some guy brought out his '67 Camaro and although it was fun to watch (huge body roll, lots of smoke from the tires, lots of noise from the engine) it was wayyyy out of it's league. And one time a guy tried his Viper, another car that doesn't belong on a tight twisty track. He had it off the track, over a curb, blew a tire, damaged the rim and in the grass in under 30 seconds. Who knew Vipers have full size spares! The most eye opening experience is when some dude brought out his car, said he never did autocross before (wink wink) and after signing up put his car on jackstands, took off his street tires and installed some nice lightweight slicks and totally mopped the floor with everybody, even the hardcore regular guys that trailer their cars. And I mean mop the floor. He was good.

And to Andrew - yes, my new Golf TDI has pushbutton heated seats which resets to 'off' as soon as you turn off the car, not the roller button ones that the GTI had and it did take me a week or so to get used to them. Memory on the heat setting? Oh yes, sign me up!

Is the new Mustang too fat? Absolutely. It's endemic to modern automobiles, especially American models. Buick is trying to pitch their newer LaCrosse and Regal models to 'younger' buyers because they're supposedly more agile than the company's traditional land barges. But they weigh 4,000 lbs! It's like watching Shaquille O'Neal lumbering down-court. Cars nowadays can be pretty quick, but this seems mostly to reflect excellent modern engines overcoming serious mass. Brute force more than finesse. It also reflects product line economics, of course. Manufacturers sell cars in trim levels starting with the bare-bones 'stripper' version, on up to their high-end sport model with a more powerful engine, bigger wheels & brakes etc. But all those 'go-fast' parts add more weight, which is only partly overcome by more power.

On the other hand, a purpose-built lightweight fast car appeals to such a tiny niche market, it's economically very difficult. That's why a Lotus is so absurdly expensive per pound, especially considering its pedestrian engine heritage. And why Mazda's Miata is so brilliant.

Mike, I agree with your love for the 2002. Back then, as a college freshman I certainly couldn't afford one. About 5 years ago, a local used car lot, of questionable reputation, had a '74 2002 sitting on the lot. Not the Tii, but I reasoned that I'd never figure out how to repair mechanical fuel injection. Carbs I can handle. It was, to put it charitably, clapped out. I stopped by the lot every couple of days for 5 weeks and drooled over its faded paint. A few days later, I noticed the car was gone. Driving a couple of blocks farther, I spotted the BMW being pushed out of traffic by the new owner. I pulled over, hopped out and helped him push the heap to a safe spot. I shook the owner's hand, said "Thanks!" and drove away. He saved my behind.


(We needed the soundtrack from Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Not the soundtrack, but how about stepping into Cameron's dad's garage?

http://www.robertharshman.com/360vr/vr-5.html

Note, you can still buy this place, but you'll need pretty deep pockets and a desire to make it new :)

Robert

It isn't just Mustangs (but Lord, that thing's ugly). The entire car market's been corrupted by the SUV's rise to 'normality'. What was once the preserve of men with issues is now a size baseline. Apart from the very real need to be seen by drivers of things that used to drag Saturn Vs to their pads (but which now grace every street), the car owner expects metal per buck. That elegant beemer shot by Leslie would be regarded as borderline effeminate in today's market.

Actually not so fat at all. Modern safety equipment and emissions systems makes cars awfully heavy but a lot safer.

The rather amazing Nissan GT-R weighs a fat bloke more at around 3829 lbs (curb weight) but produces around 510 HP and hits 60 in 2.9 seconds. I guess it could lap the Nurburgring a tad quicker as well, but then it cost a fair amount more as well.

Mustangs always used to be rude, crude, cheap and fun and I'm glad they rediscovered the latter element at last. I drove a couple back in the late 80s and they were weedy and boring.

Erm, sorry to mention this in a Mustang thread, but I do think the styling on the last T-Bird model, from a few years ago, was pure retro genius. Too bad the revived car didn't stick around very long.

http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Ford/2002-Ford-Thunderbird-hr-manu-03.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2002-2005_Ford_Thunderbird.jpg

How about the VW GTI into which Paul Newman's crew squeezed the aluminum V8 from a Porsche 928? That strikes me as just about perfect.

One of the car magazines had an article about that many years ago. To fit the engine in the chassis and body had to be widened. I never knew that the car was Newman's until David Letterman's beautiful and heartfelt reminiscence about Newman. The bit about the car starts at about 3:00.

It may be fast and it may make a nice noise but I'm afraid all I can think of, looking at the photo, is the spectacularly misconceived Alfa-Romeo SZ, one of the ugliest cars ever made.

Perhaps it was shot from a bad angle but the car does seem to lack the lithe, muscular lines you expect from a Mustang. To my eyes, it looks a bit like a heavyweight boxer whose best days are long gone.

Give me a Lamborghini any day. Pleeease? Pretty please? Anyone? :o)

Mike, it seems to me that humans as a breed are getting more "dainty" as you've put it. You see, my dad is 172 cm (sorry, I am metric person) and at the time of his youth he was in medium to slightly tall height category. I am 180 cm and it is not that tall, really, more like a medium height. Now, my major problem with all kinds of transportation is knee space. So, it stands to reason that along with us bipedal talking apes, the cars that haul us around grew as well...

Whilst the rest of the world is chasing 60mpg, the US is still only chasing 30mpg!!!???

Looks pretty porky to me - both of them

I own a 2002 GT convertible (http://decluttr.com/2142195533), and I admit that it is, indeed, an unnecessarily heavy car. And it's pretty big up front. It's definitely not going to compete in a slalom with a WRX STi, but it's not supposed to. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Unfortunately, like so many cars these days, it's not so big inside. As a big guy (6 foot 4, 300+ pounds), I barely fit into the Mustang. Of course, I have very few options for interior comfort, so I've come to grips with the limitations.

And frankly, once I open up the throttle, hear the roar of the 4.6 liter V8 (with a few basic performance mods) and get that big hunk of American metal moving, I tend to stop nitpicking.

I'm really interested in jumping for a newer model, and someday I might actually do it. If it can offer at least as many thrills as my current ride, I'll be all over it.

Question is not: "are cars getting fat?" But why.
The answer is safety, both active & passive. I'd ratehr have a car crash in the latest mustang than in a sexier '60s model...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_safety

The weight seems obscene for what the car is and does. Also, considering the outside dimensions, its damned small inside and in the trunk. Like optical illusion small, how thick are them doors, eh?

Seems that the mustang, for all it aspires to be, is actually the Harley-Davidson of the four wheeled world. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it puts it WAY out of line with its advertising character. There is a real catchy feeling to a light car that is actually eager to turn in with snap movements, of course its usually an either/or with regards to seat-sinking acceleration thrust.

As a former 7 owner, I can tell you that Coach McCarthy would have to lose more than a few just to get into one.

Intriguingly, Caterham have recently tied the knot with Formula 1's Team Lotus, are are looking to attack the lightweight sportscar market which Group Lotus seem to be abandoning.

I'm surprised you didn't comment upon the styling as well, because IMO, the current generation of resto-muscle cars are fugly, especially as compared to the originals.

And why, oh, why do Detroit stylists insist upon giving their cars huge wheel openings and then put diminutive wheel-and-tire combos in them?

Yeah, the Mustang is gettin' fat all right. It's not just a problem with cars, of course... it's also an issue with cameras, as has been well documented here. I love my D700, but it could afford to lose a few ounces. Why can't they make one as light as my dad's FA?

It even happens with shoes. Classic Asics and Converse footwear was pretty basic... now most athletic shoes look, and function, like pillows.

Cell phones seem to be on a curve, at first they were gigantic and the race was to make them smaller and smaller... then they started getting bigger again to fit all the big screens, keyboards, camera/mic, etc.

"Whilst the rest of the world is chasing 60mpg, the US is still only chasing 30mpg!!!???"

Well, for our 3500 lb, 400+ horsepower cars - yes.

Current automobiles - American and foreign are amazing works of engineering. They are heavier but what do you get with that weight? Safety, luxury, sound proofing (big cost in weight...). Old cars were really loud. Also note that today's cars put as much real pollution, (not counting CO2 BS) in the air as 30 of your 1970 cars. (think about how you are your own personal environmental disaster as you drive the road in that 1970 car.) Plus they have more power, handle infinitely better and get better mpg. How many of you want to go back and use that 1970 film camera and lens? I thought so...

Being that the current Mustang is a descendant of the "Muscle Car" frenzy prevalent in the late 60's early 70's, it would look rather odd if it were styled like a Mazda Miata. Back then all of the popular street machines which competed against the Mustang (Chevy Camaro, Dodge Charger, Plymouth Baracuda, Pontiac GTO) had V8 engines and chassis which today would be considered on the portly side.

I grew up in the California car culture in the late 70's when gas was cheap and "Crusing the Main" was the popular past time. My first car was a long nosed, V8, 1970 Mustang Fastback. Handling in the curves or braking performance was never a consideration. It was all about straight line speed and how long of a line of rubber you could lay down.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/karmagroovy/3200156264/

P.S., I stopped that wearing puka shell necklace a few years ago! ;-)

OK , here goes....total party poop-er but...
Guys, you and me, need to think less about identifying with our cars, sexy, tail-pipe sounds that are cool...neck breaking acceleration and start thinking about better mileage. Until all of us do.... we will be married to the Middle East and that mess. No brainer.....
AND to eliminate any doubt on my PITA* credentials... population control and encouraging smaller families from all of us... it is the source of so many wars over resources, destruction of environments, etc.
Two things we gotta turn around if our children, grandchildren are gonna have chance of a decent world....
Jeff ( have had an SUV... bad mileage vehicles but one car at a time I am changing.....)
(*=Pain in the a_ _)

i just want to know where all the bumpers went.

Mike, tell is how you like the C class Merc. I would like your opinion.

Since Ed mentioned John Frankenheimer's excellent movie Ronin above (IMHO the best car chases on film), I would add his sublime Grand Prix. The most astounding camera work ever for a racing movie. The production followed the GP tour for a season and filmed the actors driving F2 (disguised as F1) cars on the days following the real races and recreating real race events. Those shots were inter-cut with footage shot in the race on a camera car driven by Dan Gurney.

There will never be another racing movie like it, for so many reasons. As well as the great racing footage, the film boasts montages designed by Saul Bass that are amazing to see (it was the 60s, so split screen was de rigueur, but here it works).

Patrick

It is obvious that the car you may be looking for is the Mini cooper S (john cooper works version). Small, fast, nimble, exciting, not too expensive and with enough power. Close to the 2002tii. Try it. You will like it. Tell us what you think after a drive.

Hey Mike, good to see you mention the Elan - I just pulled my Elan S2 out of winter storage a couple weekends ago. Brilliant little car; I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I need to spend a little time soon shooting it with my K-5. :)

You mentioned "I eat Evo for breakfast" - if it was indeed an Evo, that's not a "FWD riceburner" but an AWD ready-to-rally car. I prefer the STI (I'm on my second one now), and quite frankly, you can't even compare an STI/Evo to a Mustang - the Mustang is, in many ways, a '60s relic (heck, my Elan has more advanced suspension than Mustangs did up until a couple years ago) with a small backseat, tricky in the rain and dangerous in the snow... not very practical. The STI is completely capable on any surface (driving in the winter with snow tires is about as much fun as you can have on four wheels), has a good-sized backseat and tons of room in the hatchback. It's also virtually the same 0-60 as the Mustang, despite being down 100hp. Ironically, the place where the Mustang clearly triumphs is fuel economy of all things; it's amazing that a big V8 is beating the turbo four and making more hp to boot. Hopefully Subaru will address this soon; the 2012 Impreza has much-improved economy but we'll have to wait until 2013 to see the new WRX/STI.

At the end of the day, though, the Evo/STI and Mustang are very, very different cars, as is the Elan. Rally car vs muscle car vs sports car. Kind of like SLR vs point-n-shoot versus rangefinder - they'll all get you a picture but they'll feel a lot different along the way. But the Mustang driver who sneers at an AWD turbo 4 on the street does so at his own peril. :)

I'm more of a Chrysler guy, but the Challenger just seems far, far too big and heavy. I would love to see a relatively small, light, hemi-powered Mopar musclecar (with a pistol grip, of course!), but I doubt we'll ever see such a thing from the factory. The Lotus Twin Cam engine is a hemi, though....

My favorite mustang movie (car movie - film about filmmaking ) is Un homme et une femme
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqxQGI3BTXs
Best car ad ever!
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D43yjI6cles
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alQXaZDtsxk

Nothing against Steve McQueen , but I swear that a few of his movies seem very derivative of Claude Lelouch. Actually the world would be a far better place with more films derivative of Claude Lelouch's.

On second thought Claude Lelouch's C'était un rendez-vous http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COyab3YQS48 is probably my favorite fast car movie. It's sort of the Ramones version of car chase movies. One shot, one take, loud and fast rules.

Ronin is ok, but it's all made up.

John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix is pretty wonderful though.

"i just want to know where all the bumpers went."

They're still there, of course, and are safer (and maybe heavier) than the old ones. It's just that now they're shrouded in plastic matching the body color perfectly.

Hugh,
I think my favorite car movie is "Les Vacances de M. Hulot." [g]

That's a real car in that film, by the way, a 1924 Amilcar if memory serves.

Mike

I'm trying to figure out what a FWD rice burner is. A Subaru maybe?

My first car was a used '68 Mustang with over 100k miles on it. I rebuilt the carburetor and then tried to run the quarter mile on a test track. I never got a good start though because of smoking the tires. Bet a rice burner can't do that!

Some of the styling may be due to new pedestrian safety requirements on all cars now. We are seeing a more blunt front end on cars rather than the low sleek aerodynamic front end like you might have seen on a 1970s Trans Am or a 2005 Mazda 6. Those new safety requirements let more people survive when being hit by a car (I know, but the other design was dangerous and the new front end bluntness is more survivable.) That combined with necessary "macho" redesigns makes the thing look quite bloated. Although, personally, I like it as it is a continuation of the Mustang of old.

"I'm trying to figure out what a FWD rice burner is. A Subaru maybe?"

Sorry--if I knew what it was I would have said. A Japanese front-wheel-drive hot hatch with sporty pretensions. I guess it wasn't really an Evo, per Jeff Kyle.

Mike

Mike, are you sure you aren't thinking of Tati's "Traffic"?
Mr Hulot's Holliday was the first movie I remember seeing. At a drive-in no less.

Evos don't come in hatchbacks (in the USA) so that would be a reason to exclude it, too. Subaru hasn't sold a FWD car in the USA in decades. (They will have a RWD sports car in the next couple years, a joint project with Toyota.) A turbo Subaru would not be "slapped down" by a Mustang, either. :) Maybe a Mazda 3, Civic, something like that...

John C - I can tell you that my "rice burner" wouldn't have that problem, because unlike an old Mustang with an open diff and skinny tires and no traction, I've got two limited-slip diffs and a computer-controlled center diff; in other words, LOTS of traction. :) Spinning your tires means that you're not going anywhere! Of course, AWD is not great for drag racing, but it's not built for it; it just happens that it is awfully dang fast if you do decide to use it in that way. It's more at home on dirt and gravel!

No one has mentioned the best part of the new Mustangs - sequential turn signals! Just like on the old Cougars and a couple other cars of the era. Very cool.

That 200tii os a beautiful car, my father drove one. Speaking of 1970s rally coupes, my '73 Lancia Fulvia is a week away from being on the road after eight years of my ownership, excited isn't the word...

If the 'stang is too chubby but you still want something under the pedal then check out this link.

http://www.streetracersonline.com/articles/rs8/

My son drives a Focus ZX3 with a 5 speed and even with 100k on the speedo it is still a nice little car.

I'm trying to figure out what a FWD rice burner is. A Subaru maybe?"

Mike

Ah, Subaru - the chav's chariot of choice.

"the chav's chariot of choice"

Seriously? Isn't a "chav" an aggressive teenager? Here, Subies are beloved of Yuppies and socially conscious, well-educated white paired people....

Mike

I don't know that much about cars, although I drive a number of different models here in Toronto through Autoshare.

Having said that, half a look at the contemporary Mustang says it is definitely *fat*.

I remember my parents shopping for a car when we were living in Belgium in the mid-70s. A car salesman came to our apartment with brochures. I kept looking later on at the Mustang brochure, dreamily. Too many shekels for my parents at the time...

Yes Jeff, you are correct. Plenty of power and not enough traction. Only, as a stupid teenager back then, I didn't view that as a problem, just a display of power.

BMW and Porsche have the same problem. A couple of years ago, a UK car magazine decided to find the best 911 ever. Contenders included the then-current GT3 and GT2 models. Guess who won: The 1973 Carrera RS. I fully agree after having driven one for a day, modern cars just don't give you the same kind of driving sensation. By the way, though highly sought after, a '73 RS is actually cheaper than a current GT3 or GT2... Does make them seem way overpriced.

You're right Mike... the Mustang and all cars are getting fatter. A lot of it has to do with modern crash/safety standards. But a lot of it has to do with more luxury/convenience features and the ever-widening girth of consumers. People complain about fuel mileage in new cars these days. I say cut out about a thousand pounds and watch what happens.

As far as cars like the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger are concerned, a lot of people today seem to remember only the muscle-car period of the pony car movement. These cars were originally light and nimble (for the time) sports coupes with balanced drivetrains. Kind of like the Honda Civic Si in today's market. The big, heavy V8s were wedged under their hoods later.

Like you, I was a big 2002tii fan back in the day. And don't get me started on the Alfa Romeo GTV 2000. But the original 1964-66 Mustang equipped with a 289 V8 was also an early favorite (similarly, I much preferred the 289 Shelby Cobra over the muscle-bound 427).

A couple of years ago I was in the market for a car. At 50 years of age (at the time), I was an empty-nester and no longer needed room for a family in my vehicle. So ensconced myself behind the wheel of a new Mustang GT for a test drive. It wasn't bad, really, but something was missing. Then I saw my reflection in the window of the dealership and thought I looked silly - like an aging baby-boomer trying to relive his misspent youth, which was never my intention. What's more, the car suddenly looked out-of-step with the times.

So instead, I bought a Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with manual transmission which, frankly, isn't as fast but is no slug either. More importantly, it's turned out to be even more fun to drive and is a lot more relevant. Besides, I like World Rally a lot more than most other forms of racing these days - and I say this as a former SCCA Showroom Stock and Formula Ford racer.

The other day, I paused to consider my very first SLR: A Minolta SRT-200 with Rokkor-X 50mm f/2.0 lens from the mid-1970s. 100% manual operation with only a small battery for the light meter. Small and light (for a metal bodied SLR at the time). I still own this camera.

A few years ago, when I bought my first DSLR, I was talked into a Nikon D200. It was big, heavy and pretentious, and I spent too much time thinking about working it rather than taking pictures. So I took it back to Adorama and bought a Pentax K200D. I've never looked back. Later this year, I'll probably move up to a K-5. My back-up system? Micro four-thirds.

Mike,

Token comment about Americans being fat because they drive cars instead of ride bikes everywhere.

(And in bicycle land, as in Lotus land, you pay for more lightness)

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