Disclaimer: Before reading any further, please watch the iconic 1968 film Bullitt.
I slip behind the wheel of this 2016 Shelby GT350 and it feels familiar. I have driven many other Mustangs. But as I make a quick u-turn to get back on the highway, I pedal the clutch, and as I blip the throttle, the beast stirs.
This is a different animal.
In an instant, that growl transforms me into Steve McQueen, patrolling the streets of San Francisco in a Mustang GT fastback. Sure, the two cars only have the name in common, but the pedigree is the same. I immediately begin to check my mirrors for black Dodge Chargers (though in reality it’s the white ones driven by the local police I need to avoid).
I navigate the overcrowded streets of the city with a sixties jazz soundtrack playing in my head. I turn left onto the highway and it’s on. As I quickly dispatch each passing gear, the soothing sounds of jazz are drowned out by the howling beast, claiming its territory. As my moment of nostalgia passes, I realize that although it looks like a Mustang, this is, in fact, a world class sports car. It accelerates, brakes, and turns as well, or better than more expensive cars.
There is far too much traffic to fully appreciate the Shelby, yet it is civilized enough to tempt someone to use it a a daily driver. The drive to our shoot location isn’t a long one, but it’s just enough time for me to know that.
I love this car.
It is everything that a Mustang should be, loud & fast, visceral & bold.
I’ll take mine in highland green and I’ll say, “No, thank you,” to the stripes.
Images courtesy of the author.