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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time to spur classic

Mike Morin

I can hear it in my 1964 adolescent muscle car brain: “Go, go, go with the Mustangers.” It was the commercial jingle that introduced the 1964½ Ford Mustang to a national audience from my hometown of Detroit, where I was just 13. Lee Iacocca’s baby was only expected to sell 100,000 units. The mid-year model sports car ended up selling 417,000 instead.

I bring this up because the Mustang is getting close to turning 50 years old, and I’m wondering if Ford will create a retro ’Stang, a la 1964, or remake it to look like a Ford Fusion, as one story that I read suggested.

Ford brought back a retro mid-’50s Thunderbird a few years ago. So, I’m hoping the 50th Mustang has a styling hint from 1964 versus the current Ford Fusion.

Reminiscing about cars we once owned turns grown men like me into unflattering mush. I loved my black 1968 Ford Mustang fastback. It was a chick magnet before I realized what a powerful tool I had at my disposal. It was loud and fast and rusted into oblivion one day while I was driving it along 8 Mile Road on Detroit’s west side. There I was, steering wheel in my hand, sitting in a pile of orange metal shavings. The sexy black bomb was no more, at which point I inherited my family’s very un-hip woody station wagon to drive to college. No chick magnet, though my dad fathered seven kids, so maybe I didn’t realize the potential after all.

After two family station wagons, I paid $3,500 for my first brand new car, a 1974 dark green Mustang coupe. It weighed 500 pounds less than my 1968 pony and seemed a bit more refined, but it was a Mustang. I was stylin’, just months after graduating from college.

Then came a string of non-Mustangs. Chevy, T-Bird, Colt, Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan, Lexus. Yes, you are correct. I left my Motor City roots for import cars that didn’t have the heart or racing tachometer of a Mustang. Detroit is making much better cars these days, and I’m beginning to think it’s time to saddle up a Mustang again.

I will wait and see what the designers in Dearborn come up with. I’m begging them to pay tribute to one of Detroit’s best products, the iconic Mustang with a body style deserving of a Ford Mustang. Give it a gas-thirsty V-8 engine. Equip it with phat tires. Give me a stick shift. Let me be 18 again, when my dad taught me to drive a standard transmission. And let this car cost $3,500 again.

I’m sure it will be a chick magnet. Even though I know what to do about that now I shall use self-restraint as Memes flirt with me from their Buick LeSabres. I’ll just have to beat them off with my snowbrush as I stand at the gas station filling up with $4 gas.

Time to “Go with the Mustangers” for a third time.

Hear Mike Morin weekdays from 5-10 a.m. on “New Hampshire in the Morning” on 95.7 WZID. Contact him at Heymikey@aol.com. His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.