So, the writing’s on the wall. The end of the internal combustion engine has been decreed.
2040. No more petrol or diesel cars. Probably sooner for diesel to be honest. It doesn’t have many people mourning its demise.
Good day to take delivery of my latest dream car then? A throwback already? Or one last hurrah for the gasoline age?
After all, it’s a Ford Mustang so greedy that I’ve had to turn off the ‘miles per gallon’ gauge just to stop myself dwelling on it. The last 20 mile bimble round the local lanes appears to have cost me twenty five quid. I could have taken Uber. Except. Then I wouldn’t have driven myself in this electric blue sunbeam. Appearing and disappearing over the horizon like a kingfisher in the sunlight. But growling. That throaty throttle working its way up the scale to G force acceleration. No misplaced steering, not a whisker too much acceleration with 500bhp in my hands.
A hundred and fifty years of automobile development. This is it, all the elements. The smell, the noise, the foot-down flat-out power. The perfect bubble that floats down the road, sticks to the corners, howls on the flat. Singular control. Immaculate in every detail.
Owning a car like this and you own a slice of the cutting edge of human ingenuity.
All the science and development that goes into space rockets and medicine, artificial intelligence and satellites, we don’t get to hold it in our hands. But cars, with their traction control, automated parking, aerodynamics and their fuel injection, they share slices of their DNA with the pinnacles of scientific endeavour. They let us grasp quite how far we’ve come – and we get to take them home.
Sometimes they’re even as beautiful as this Mustang. One of the last great muscle cars to be built. You can turn off the driver aids and drive it in the raw. And you’d better treat it with respect. I set off on the the test drive. Sideways. The previous driver had turned off the traction control. And the car? It didn’t think to mention it. Lesson learned. I winked back.
This is a hunk of iron, built in the flat rock plant, by employees who have worked there all of their lives. This is not just a car but a piece of history. It has heritage. The kind of heritage that keeps Henry Ford sleeping peacefully in his grave. Not that it wears his badge, just a sexy prancing pony. Ford. But on the wild side.
I expect the next generation will be just the same – they’ll have fan clubs for their era, grasp the finer details of battery technology, marvel at the torque, revel in hydrogen fuel cells, speak learnedly of LIDAR. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the developments. Maybe even the silence. Just not me.
I guess the Mustang is where I hang my hat. It’s history, but for a while, it’ll be my moment.
by James Cartwright at 28 Jul 2017, 00:00 AM