A Ford Mustang with wanderlust

Sean McFarland

This article was originally published on BBC Autos.



Ford used the 2014 New York auto show to commemorate the Mustang’s 50th birthday.

Since its launch at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, the Mustang has rarely wanted for attention. The philosophy was simple: house massive engines in sleek bodies riding on relatively prehistoric suspension systems. With variations that appealed to the casual top-down Sunday driver as well as the speed-obsessed drag kingpin, the Mustang struck a chord. That charm, however, was not contained to the US.

The chiseled lines of the Mustang fastback body style attracted the attention of Norwegian videographer Arnfinn Hushovd. His 1969 Mustang Mach 1 was imported from Florida in 2007 sporting an eye-catching Calypso Coral paintjob. Such a purchase would have been rare in the extreme at the time of the car’s manufacture, an era when European automakers favoured well-handling sports cars with modest power. Their US counterparts were partial to brute force. As a result – and as any viewing of Top Gear will underscore – American sports cars continue to be perceived as a bit vulgar on the Continent.

Though Hushovd’s Mach 1 may stick out in Scandinavia like a hammer in a drawer of scalpels, the owner celebrates the car’s qualities with the above tribute. Granted, the nouveau-disco soundtrack may make Abba blush, but the visuals handily make up for it. Check out 1:30 when the Mustang purrs under the contrasting lights of a Norwegian tunnel.

The horseless carriage, electrified in New York

Sean McFarland

This article was originally published on BBC Autos.

Horseless eCarriage

With animal rights activists calling for the end of the horse-drawn carriage era, several companies have begun fielding equine-friendly alternatives. One proposal put forth by a Florida company at the 2014 New York auto show attempts to preserve the romance of a cruise through Manhattan’s most famous park, without the horsepower.

The horse-drawn carriages of Central Park have been a staple of New York City tourism since the early 1900s. But while these chariots carry thousands of awe-struck visitors through New York City’s largest park every year, they have recently come under attack, with critics – including Mayor Bill de Blasio – citing what they call inhumane treatment and boarding of the animals at the front.

Horseless eCarriage

Jason Wenig, owner of a high-end coachwork and fabrication business, The Creative Workshop, proposes the Horseless eCarriage. This electric leviathan is a homage to the classic cars of the “brass era”. However, unlike the polished vehicles of the early 20th century, Wenig’s creation is electric.

With a claimed 100-mile range, the front-engine, rear-drive coach generates the equivalent of 84 horsepower and a top speed of 30 mph. Charging its lithium iron phosphate battery from a 220-volt outlet should take six hours, according to the company. For a vehicle that weighs about 7,500lbs when filled to its eight-passenger capacity, this carriage is no dainty surrey with a fringe on top.

Horseless eCarriage

The green and black carriage is awash in clever details, such as LED turning signals housed in oil lamps, three-abreast rear seating and even historical New York guidebooks on the seatback. For all this, Wenig argues that his creation is cheap to build and maintain – at least relative to keeping a team of horses in hay.

The eCarriage, however, is no shoe-in. It must secure political backing, both from elected officials and in the form of grant money to offset vehicle costs to carriage operators – who work privately. Regardless of whether this creation ends up seeing Center Drive,  its nostalgia-baiting design and sheer girth are enough to overshadow many cars at the auto show.

(Photo credit: Sean McFarland)