It has been an immensely busy start to the year. We apologize for the slow release of these pieces.
Apart from having to source out projects for our production company, I am also venturing into a business in an industry that is somewhat alien to me. I am in the process of trying to re-learn how to behave like a decent businessman, especially when travelling. There are certain things that set them apart — the wheeled suitcase that fits precisely on the aircraft’s overhead bin, the laptop that never runs out of battery, and the checkered polo shirt that’s tucked into a pair of jeans a size too big.
I’m convinced that when you see someone at the Mabuhay lounge using all the facilities, you can be assured he is a business neophyte — a new boy that was sent by his redhead boss with even uglier jeans to relay a simple message to an Asian tycoon. In the airplane, he does not watch any of the films on offer because he’s too busy putting out a boner he got by glancing at a spreadsheet. Eating? That’s for wimps. Sleeping? That’s what you do when you’re dead — something he hopes to become when he is 54.
When the seatbelt light comes back on, he is immediately seated upright and dressed in the suit that was somehow concealed in his lunchbox of a suitcase. He then whips out his laptop that’s been on for six years and still has 56% of its battery life remaining, wherein he proceeds to watch an episode of Shark Tank, just to show everyone in the cabin that he’s got everything under control. He doesn’t need to double-check the spreadsheets, he’s ready for the kill.
I have to admit I’m pretty hopeless at all of this. I watch films on planes and eat all the food. I find myself requesting for a glass of Ginger Ale, and I don’t even know what it is. I am certain that I hate ginger. My suitcase is too big and I don’t have a suit — at least not at the moment. Even worse, I spent hours of agony in the airport carrying my laptop bag around only to find that I have 5% battery life remaining — a result of watching too much Sasha Gray from the night prior.
Supreme noise machine.
Cars nowadays are like these businessmen. The nature of the business may vary, but when their badges or in the case of humans, their IDs are removed — you cannot tell them apart. I recently drove an Audi RS5. Its breadth of capabilities is so wide, you could compare it to a hardcore BMW M4 or a svelte Lexus LC 500. It plays both roles so well, it hardly knows what it is. The Audi is so versatile, it does V-Look Up on Excel just as well as it plays a game of chess.
As a result, it has somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades nature, which has brought me to the conclusion that some of the best cars that ooze with character come from the land of the businessmen who wear the worst fitting pair of jeans, the United States of America. This whole idea brings me squarely to that country’s most iconic export yet, the Ford Mustang. The best thing about this hairy-chested Mustang is that it gives zero fucks about what Europe and Asia are up to.
Pure American muscle.
I once studied in the United States, and I was asked many times over how we went about trick-or-treating since we lived in trees. Even better, a classmate of mine asked how long of a drive Manila is to San Francisco. The Mustang is just as naive and oblivious to the outside world as the people who make them, and that is what makes it great. While the rest of the world has downsized and sold out to forced induction in hopes that trees grow taller and a shade greener, the Mustang has under its hood, a healthy 5-liter atmospheric V8 engine with enough power and torque to ignite the next California wildfire.
Even more so, is their approach to the sports car. I cannot for the life of me call this a sports car, if we’re being strict about it. Although undoubtedly sporty in its intentions, this is a blue blooded muscle car. And with a roof that vanishes in a couple of seconds, it makes for a sensational boulevard cruiser. The Mustang ticks all the right muscle car boxes. It’s attainable, it’s lazy, it’s thirsty, and it shreds all the noise regulations to pieces. I am not even half kidding about the noise. There are about 5,000 useless settings in this car, but in full ‘Track mode’, this car sounds like it is anally raping the wind with a penis far too big for the hole.
55 years old and younger than ever.
It will gulp more fuel than a Porsche 911 while providing less cornering speed and a lot more body roll. It will take a corner about 30 minutes slower than a BMW M5, but never you mind. While the Germans will blitz you through the corners, you be on a long sideways drift having the laugh of a lifetime with the wind blowing your hair so much so that you hop out of the car looking like Steve McQueen. And to you technical people that get turned on with data, this car wallows and flexes more than the neighborhood douchebag at the gym. But I don’t care. Trust me, you wouldn’t too — not when you have a galaxy of stars as your roof and an exhaust note that makes all your female passengers beg to have your babies.
It isn’t all fireworks and theatre though. This car has adjustable magnetic dampers that smoothen out the bumps. The engine is also mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, so when you aren’t burning rubber, it tries its best to help save you a few bucks. And because Ford knows that its clients are hooligans, they’ve thrown in all the annoying safety features found in cars today — which I hate.
Especially the pre-collision warning system, which is like having your grandmother on-board 24/7. It wouldn’t stop calling my attention. It’s smart too, with a ‘Quiet mode’ setting which you can set the time for, so you don’t give your neighbours a heart attack every time you leave. In truth, what sets this apart and makes it so memorable is that the approach in creating such a car is quite adolescent.
You see, many people buy cars like these not just because they’re fast. There are a lot of seriously fast cars that may cost even less than this, but what they fail to do is create a sense of occasion. Like those businessmen, they are faceless and offer no specific x-factor that makes our inner child giggle. I don’t live behind a racetrack, and perhaps you don’t either. Without the roads to provide us a venue to squeeze out the full performance of these cars, we are left longing for an experience.
What’s the point of launching a Nissan GT-R to a hundred clicks in 2.8 seconds, when the car that you just smoked will pull up next to you in the succeeding stoplight? The Mustang doesn’t give two shits about performance figures. As a matter of fact, it chews and spits out spreadsheets for lunch. It cannot be bothered from making noise and simultaneously bringing all your pubescent pimple-faced fantasies to life. When you add up the sum of all its parts, it doesn’t rate highly as a car, but as an experience — it’s near perfect.
Hot rod hearts.