In the often-subliminal game of life that revolves around ‘mine is bigger than yours’ chest-puffing, the bloke in the white Ford Mustang GT clearly had more sperm in his tank … or whatever competition was playing out at that moment on Sydney’s Elizabeth Street. And definitely more rumble from his rump.
For a split second, I wanted his life. Then I remembered that my manhood was about to be similarly enhanced by the Ford Performance exhaust system waiting to be assembled at Thompson Ford in Parramatta, thereby making AME-495 a bit less L-AME in the noise-output department.
A full peak-hour trawl north, on the Friday before Newcastle’s V8 Supercars extravaganza, provided a superb example of just how tractable and effortless the V8 manual Mustang is in heavy going.
Not once did I wish it was an automatic, but several times I yearned for more exhaust crackle and a better ride – both of which should (or will) be solved by the cache of Ford Performance bits being bolted to its undersides.
Besides a slightly lower, even tougher ride height, the only visual difference will be a pair of black 4.0-inch exhaust tips framing the Mustang’s rear diffuser. And the probability that my Newtown neighbours will be even more thrilled about the 6am wake-up call they get every time I punish myself at the gym before work.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. In its current stock-as-a-rock state, I have developed an almost brotherly bond with this yellow Mustang. I love admiring it, hanging out in it, playing games with it, and even defending it in critical company. Finessed it isn’t but loveable the Mustang GT most certainly is.
Even in heavy traffic, I managed to get the trip-computer average down from 25.2L/100km to low 15s on my slog north, though I suspect the Mustang’s woeful economy is because I can’t help unleashing its guttural induction burble. That means plenty of pedal travel at lower engine revs in this atmo bent-eight.
What won’t be getting fitted, however, is a short-throw gearshift upgrade. Notchy as the regular mechanism can be, if you press from the top of the clutch pedal and time everything perfectly, there’s an underlying slickness to its movement that I really don’t want to lose.
If experience with Rob Herrod’s supercharged Mustang is any guide (featuring a similar Ford Performance suspension package to what will soon feature here), I definitely won’t miss the stock Mustang’s ride.
It’s quite ‘springy’, lacking in compression and rebound control, and that can make the GT’s chunky 19s feel pattery on bad roads. And that can corrupt steering crispness too, or what little there is.
You get used to all of it but there’s promise of much better just around the corner. And my inner bogan is begging for it.
Mustang’s optional FR3-M9 Track Handling Pack ($4130 including fitting) is a comprehensive rethink of its entire suspension set-up. Lowered progressive-rate springs, new front struts, revised upper strut mounts, new anti-roll bars, rear dampers, rear toe links and toe-to-knuckle bearings are the guts of it.
If you option the Track Handling Pack at purchase time, it’s covered by Ford’s normal three-year, 100,000km warranty. But if you add it later via a dealer, as in our case, warranty is 12 months or 20,000km.