So it transpires according to a survey by AutoScout24 that Europe’s most desired classic is…none other than the humble Ford Mustang. Though in its home over the pond, the Mustang represents most teenager’s first car, to the European market it is seen as the epitome of raw automobile muscle; a real driver’s car built more for the open highway than country lanes.
But, with the Mustang’s 50th anniversary fast approaching there are a lot of models available and there’s lot of information out there for potential buyers. So, to help you on your way, here’s our guide to picking up a Ford Mustang in the UK.
Five Generations of Muscle
In its fifty years, the Mustang has been through five different guises. The first generation (1964–1973) is the classic and is hotly sought after by collectors. The second (’74-’78) retained the round headlamps and the enormous grille while the third (’78-’93) and fourth (’94-’04) are a little more angular, reflecting the styling of the times. The fifth generation, which is still in production today, has returned to stylings the original but brings up a lot of the occasionally temperamental mechanics up to date.
Unlike many European cars at the time, the Mustang came with an enormous range of engine choices which varied over generation and, indeed, year. The first thing to note is that the Mustang is, universally, an extraordinarily heavy car. Though the early generations look like unassuming saloon cars, you won’t find anything smaller than a 2.8L I6. The V8 is the classic option and they’re usually more saleable but it doesn’t necessarily boost the performance of the car all that much, especially on British roads. It also makes the beast considerably easier to tame and might save you a few quid on your classic car insurance!
With a big engine comes a lot of heat, a lot of wasted energy and a lot of strain on manual transmission models. Unfortunately, this makes most Mustangs a tad unreliable. Thankfully they’re also remarkably easy to work on and many a restorer has taken on a Mustang and brought it back to top condition. Buying a restoration could actually be a better option that going for original parts, particularly with older models. There is a finite lifespan for all Mustangs.
For Import Only
The history of any Mustang you buy is extremely important to evaluate. Almost every Mustang you come across will be an import and while some would have been shipped by responsible import companies, others might not have been. It’s common to find Mustangs which have not been properly taxed and have had modifications to avoid customs. Check when your Mustang was brought into the UK; if it’s been here some time it’s less of an issue than a newly imported classic.
The Mustang is a car with an enormous history of collectors editions and different models. There is also a massive following in the UK and collectors will drive up the prices of models like the GT, Cobra and of course anything with ‘Shelby’ written on it. It’s not always the case that the additional spec you’ll get on a special edition matches with the price so if you’re a driver rather than a collector look carefully before you buy.
The Rumour Mill…
It has been rumoured that the Mustang might be making an appearance in the UK in 2014. Ford, under their new ‘One Ford’ marketing initiative are trying to standardise what is sold the world over and this could see your local showroom getting their hands on what is expected to be a sixth generation Mustang in 2014. Sure, it won’t be a classic and it will probably set you back just as much as a mint 1970 GT, but if you’re after the same soul with a little less mechanical worry and a three-year warrantee, new could be for you.
With a car that’s been in production as long as the Mustang tracking down model numbers and service history is important. It’s a lot of work but with so many versions available you need to do your research before splashing out or you might end up with something that’s just not right for you…
For classic car insurance visit Lancaster Insurance.