Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
You probably had the same dream when you were a teenager. Your sixteenth birthday is coming up, or Christmas, or maybe both, and all you want is a muscle car to call your own. That dream has come true for some, and one of them was none other than Edsel Ford II.
Henry Ford's great grandson turned 16 on December 27, 1964 - two days after Christmas and eight months after the original Mustang went on sale. And that's just what was waiting for him in the driveway, courtesy of his father (and reigning chief executive) Henry Ford II.
The specially-prepared pony car had a pearlescent cream paintjob with narrow blue racing stripes, functional hood scoop, chrome trim, Euro-spec fender-mounted mirrors, a blue leather and aluminum interior, a monogrammed fuel cap... and a 289-cubic-inch V8 under the hood.
Ford is in a bit of a pickle for importing and selling Turkey-built Transit Connect cargo vans as passenger vehicles in the US, then converting them to commercial-vehicle specification stateside in an effort to bypass a 25-percent tax imposed on vehicles imported for commercial use. Automakers are required to pay a 2.5-percent tax on imported passenger vehicles.
The Blue Oval got into trouble for this in a January ruling in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials asked Ford to stop the practice of importing the Transit Connect vehicles with passenger seats, then removing and shredding them. Now Automotive News reports that Ford is appealing the ruling. The 25-percent "Chicken Tax," as the tariff is often called, is 50 years old and was enacted as a response to a German tariff on chickens. Like Ford, Chrysler bypasses the higher tariff, but it does so in a different manner. It partially disassembles Sprinter cargo vans before shipping them to the US, then rebuilds them at a plant in South Carolina.
But the ruling against Ford's strategy states that it "serves no manufacturing or commercial purpose" and is there to "manipulate the tariff schedule," Automotive News reports. As Ford's appeal goes through, it is importing the Transit Connect and paying the higher tax, hoping for a favorable outcome and planning to build the next-generation Transit Connect, which it plans to launch before the end of the year, in Spain.
Australia's Herald Sun newspaper has reported that the next-generation Ford Mustang is heading Down Under in 2016, just as Ford is hanging the "Closed for Good" sign on its Australian manufacturing operations and sending the Falcon to its grave. Ford hasn't offered any official word on the matter, but the paper says that Ford's global VP of sales and marketing, Jim Farley, is flying to Australia to make the announcement himself.
While Ford converted Mustangs in the early 2000s from left-hand to right-hand drive for the Australian market and then sold them at high prices, it's been almost five decades since Ford imported a dedicated right-hand-drive Mustang to Oz. The arrival of the global model specifically made for places like Australia and the UK means Ford will also be able to offer them at better prices than the converted models; the Herald Sun says the price is expected to be "close to $50,000."
And that's for one of the "V8 performance models," which are the only ones Australia will get; Ford apparently won't send the turbocharged four cylinder or the V6. The Aussies could find out in a month from now whether this rumor is true. We will all find out what this Mustang fuss is about when the car debuts at next year's New York Auto Show.