About 40 years ago I was knocking around California and somehow became a member of the American Society of Procrastinators (ASP). It took some time.
ASP used to send a newsletter to members. Everything about it was very much yesterday’s news, sometimes months, years, old. A brief letter might arrive in its place. ‘The September and October newsletters have been delayed,’ it might say. ‘Time just got away on us.’
Time always did. For example, in 1976 – America’s 200th birthday – ASP members picketed the Whitechapel Foundry in London that made the huge Liberty Bell that rang out from a Philadelphia tower in 1776 at the declaration of America’s independence.
The bell kept cracking and being repaired before and after 1776 and was finally replaced in the 1840s. The ASP protestors’ placards in 1976 read ‘We got a lemon’, ‘What about a warranty?’, ‘You sold us a 2000lb turkey’.
From memory, the 1976 protest in London was first reported in a newsletter in 1977. True to ASP form, roughly a year later. No point in rushing into things.
I mention ASP because I figured I would put off naming until January the cars I enjoyed driving best in 2016. That was back in December.
Now it’s February, so I figure the time’s just about right. Musn’t stray from the procrastinators’ motto: ‘Never put off till tomorrow what can be done the day after tomorrow just as well.’
Or, as author Douglas Adams quipped: “I love deadlines – I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.”
I didn’t drive all of the cars that picked up gongs or made shortlists last year. These are opinions, that’s all. Like Dirty Harry, aka Clint Eastwood, said, “Everybody’s got one.” Of course he wasn’t just talking about opinions.
So, in my 45th year of writing and editing stuff for a living, and 28th year of writing about the car industry, here goes. Other 2016 awards will appear as time goes by, including a 2016 Car of the Year.
We’ll start with the award for the ‘Politically Incorrect Car’. In 2015 it was the Holden VF II Commodore sedan, the 6.2-litre V8 variant. In 2016 it’s the …
Ford Mustang GT Coupe: We know of a grandmother, 67, who told her 10-year-old grandson: “I’m getting a 5.0-litre V8 Mustang.” The little fella told his schoolmates. “Yeah right, dickhead,” said one.
Days later grandmother picks up grandson at school in the all-American ride. Grandson opens passenger door, turns to wide-eyed schoolmate and says: “Yeah right, dickhead.”
Grandmother is one of 1000 or so Kiwis who own a 2015-16 Mustang. There are another 400 on the 2017 waiting list. On the outside, it’s the best Mustang yet, a salute in its design cues to 50-odd years of Pony car history.
On the inside there’s perhaps too much history, chintzy even. Ride and handling is still very much wide-highway America. Fit and finish is not what it should be; the handbrake is on the wrong side; the V8 is lazier than it sounds …
But so what – you buy a Mustang with your heart, not your head. The car is flawed, like real people. Fuel use? What fuel use? Nurse the V8 along State Highway One at between 95-100km/h and you can get between 12-13 km/100km, or around 22-24mpg.
“I love it,” says Grandma. But whoa! Hang on a second. What about Mustang’s shoddy two-star crash rating? Not good in a world of five-star standards. Critics are all bent out of shape about it. “Guess I’ll have to avoid crashing it, then.” Go Grandma!