AS I TYPE, Street Machine Summernats 30 has finished and Iím waiting at the airport in Canberra for a flight back to the office in Melbourne. Iíd rather be driving home, but magazine deadlines are unforgiving bastards. While I was tempted to take my EJ up for the íNats, Ford offered me a red 2016 Mustang GT to drive instead, and I didnít have to think twice!
Being a Holden guy, Iíd never really thought much about the new Muz, but with the impending doom of Aussie car manufacturing almost upon us, the Mustang and the Chrysler SRT are going to be the only new muscle cars on the market before long. And as such, they are going to play an important role in the future of our sport, providing the raw material our next generation of street machiners are going to need.
And while Someone Elseís brand new muscle car is always going to be an awesome way to eat up some road miles, I really dug the GT. Retro-inspired models donít always hit the mark, but somehow the designers and engineers at Ford have managed to build a modern ride that has the soul of a classic Mustang.
The 5.0-litre Coyote V8 and six-speed driveline have a lot to do with that, no doubt. I took the Mustang up the Newell Highway from Melbourne, through Central NSW, then across into Queensland on the Cunningham Highway. The Mustang stood out like dogís cods in the tiny towns I stopped in for fuel, dispatched dawdling caravans with ease, and was refreshingly vice-free.
When I arrived in Godzone, the reaction from my friends and family was overwhelmingly positive, something I havenít really seen since the CV8 Monaro was new. And while Iím not going to hand over the readies for one, at least one of my mates is probably replacing her JCW Mini Cooper with a brand-new black Mustang.
I drove into Exhibition Park for Summernats in the Muzzy, but I drove out in a V8-powered 1953 Morris J-type van. SM photographer Peter Bateman has a forensically restored J-type van in his shed, but for the íNats he borrowed a 350 Chev-powered example from his mate Laurie Bellette. Laurieís van is low, ratty and 100 per cent awesome. Farmtruck from Street Outlaws gave it his personal thumbs-up and it turned almost as many heads as Lynchy does on a tip-in. Driver and passenger sit on top of the rorty V8, which means that the sliding doors are kept open on all but the coldest days to keep the ambient temperatures inside the cabin at a reasonable level. A hatch on the roof provides extra ventilation if needed and also made a handy vantage point for photos during the Supercruise.
Built for a bet during one hot Christmas holiday, Laurieís J-type has done thousands of miles on multiple road trips and is an absolute hoot to drive.
All of which is a roundabout way of skiting about the fun I had in my holidays, and there is probably a point to be made about how street machining is a broad church that attracts different people who are into some very different things Ė and is all the better for it. But letís just say that life is better with a V8 and I hope you enjoy the mag. s