For someone who has never bothered learning to drive (this is actually a very good thing for the safety of the world), I do have quite a thing for the aesthetics of muscle cars.
Indeed, if I were to win a very large amount on the lottery, I would buy the old Stan Cash furniture tin shed in Maidstone and turn it into Zanatta’s Museum of Bogan Cars: 1970s Valiants, Holden Monaros, Toranas and Kingswoods, Ford Falcons, and lots of Kingswood panel vans. Lots of panel vans. All painstaking restored and artfully painted in gaudy colours – lime green, bright orange, purple.
But, given I am more likely to get struck by lightning than to win the lottery, my dream of a bogan car museum will remain unfulfilled. Instead, I can just appreciate the cars I see around town.
Now that Holden have abandoned the Commodore in favour of more anaemic models, and Ford no longer offer the Falcon, most newish cars I see around the place are some sort of hybrid between a hatchback, an SUV, and a station wagon. They seem to have the side profile of Sonic the Hedgehog. Maybe they are very practical, but they are not very pleasing on the eye.
But what I have noticed is that there are quite a lot of Ford Mustangs out there on the road these days. A couple of years ago, they would not have been seen at all, but now, I see at least one per day, usually jet black or fire engine red (side note – I once was going to paint my toilet fire engine red – that would have been quite the cure for constipation!), or milky white (why oh why?). Mostly new models, although I have seen the occasional classic model from the heyday of the muscle car 50 years ago.
Why is this so? I suppose there is a microeconomic explanation. Part of it has to do with the demise of Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons, the type of car that most men will want to drive (my brother is a Holden man through and through, and has been reduced to getting a Calais now, after decades of Kingswoods and Commodores). With no more powerful Commodores and Falcons rolling out, the Mustang looks more and more like a mainstream choice, rather than a luxury self-indulgence.
The other part has to do with the affordability of other big ticket items. A new Mustang starts at $50,000 and can range as far up as $75,000. Median house prices currently are around $750,000 in Melbourne, about 10 times the average full time wage. That means that what once would have been a house deposit is now only half a house deposit. People are giving up on the idea of buying a home any time soon and deciding to enjoy themselves. High end restaurants, overseas holidays, and luxury cars (I see a lot more Mercedes, BMWs and Audis on the road these days too, and I drool when I see a Maserati or a Jaguar, even though I know that the people who drive these latter two cars tend to be utter tossers).
Hence the resurgence of the Mustang.
[Sadly not for me, the non-driver. And when they do introduce driverless cars, I will get myself an electric powered ute or SUV, and get it to drive me around rural wineries. That is me living the dream.]