For the first time ever, America’s iconic pony car, the Ford Mustang, is heading overseas to the UK.
In true European form, it will arrive with the steering wheel on the right-hand side.
The arrival of the Mustang is a first for a market that’s long been enamoured with brash, unbridled American muscle.
Calling demand for the Mustang “robust” would be kind of an understatement.
Ford of Europe released some data Monday that suggests initial orders for the Mustang in the United Kingdom are rolling in quickly. The carmaker has taken about 2,000 orders so far.
But, there’s something very interesting in that data. Two engine options are available for the Euro-spec Mustang; one is a 4-cylinder “EcoBoost” turbo — a common sort of powerplant in Europe where folks tend to value efficiency above all.
The other engine is the full-bore, efficiency-be-damned, 5.0-litre V8. With 410 horsepower. And a 0-to-62 time of less than 5 seconds.
Guess which one is selling faster.
Yes, the V8. Of the nearly 2,000 orders taken to date, 70 per cent have chosen the V8, in a place where gas is about 7 dollars per-gallon.
Contrast that with American buyers; about 52 per cent of all US Mustang buyers are taking home the V8, according to Ford. The rest are opting for the 4-cylinder or the slightly more subdued V6 that Ford offers us here.
There could be any number of reasons why the Europeans are saying yes to the V8. Car and Driver’s Alexander Stoklosa suggested it’s pent-up demand: “Hey, if we had to wait 50 years for this car, we’d skip right past the weak engine.”
In the past, the Mustang was to the Europeans what cars like the highly sought Volkswagen Scirocco is to Americans now: A car that we want, but can’t have.
Fellow car enthusiasts will know that bans on certain models don’t always last forever. Just look at the Rover Mini Cooper — once banned until we got the BMW-produced MINI (all caps) Cooper in 2002.
Another iconic model US car fans drooled over from afar — the R34 Nissan Skyline. This one was the stuff of dreams for years until the US finally got it’s own version — manufactured in the form of the Nissan GT-R.
Ford projects the demand for the Euro-spec Mustang to be robust well into 2016, and the company has already set aside plenty of them for our friends across the pond.
With a wait list that’s now 12 months long, it looks as though Detroit will have to keep pumping them out if it wants to keep its European fans happy.
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