I know this blog will tarnish my carefully honed standing as Mr. Sustainability, the Green Knight. But never mind: I want the world to know of my long-standing love for Ford Mustang Convertibles. What makes this doubly embarrassing is that slick marketing is part of the cause.
My love began with a 1960’s movie. Un Homme et Une Femme is one of those soft-focus French romances, with beautiful music I can still sing today (try a web search for Aujourd’hui c’est moi, aujourd'hui c'est toi). The film’s hero is a rally driver, and to cover the budget, Ford bankrolled the movie, in return for glam shots of – Ford Mustangs.
Getting a scholarship to study for a Harvard MBA is rare, but I pulled it off. And my covert agenda for living in the US? Yes, to own a Mustang Convertible. For a year, I was the besotted owner of a black Mark II. It’s the nearest I’ve come to worshipping a car, and how cool I felt cruising around the freeways, top down, and the radio blaring on WABC.
When I admitted my Mustang mania to American classmates, I realised they were stifling a laugh. While good marketing gave Mustangs some cachet in Europe, in the States they’re mostly seen as a mere Ford styling gimmick, like the erstwhile Capri over here.
Years later, in my high-rolling business career, we’d have family holidays in the US, squeezing four of us into a Mustang convertible. But with scenery like Highway 1 around Big Sur, or the Rockies, it was worth it. My two daughters share my passion, and while Fran is working in New York for two years, you can guess her vacation car of choice.
I realise that loving the Mustang is like having a partner who gains and loses weight a lot, and restyles herself regularly. The Mark III is so overweight I’d disown it. But recent models are good-looking, and a joy to drive. As you see, some parts of the American dream still have me hooked.