words & images: Leanne Gichard

 If you’re a fan of the movie ‘The Commitments’ you’ll recognize the lyrics, “Mustang Sally, you’d better slow that Mustang down.” There is no way you can slow down the Ford Mustangs that Colin owns – they are muscle cars and built for those with a need for speed.

The first, a 1967 Ford Mustang Notchback Sports Sprint in ‘Candy Apple Red’, will blow your socks off.  This Mustang has character in spades. From the concave shaped back rear end with tri-bar tail lights to the bonnet that seems to go on forever it packs a punch.  Recessed round headlights sit under a chrome ‘brow’, which gives a shark-like look.  A superb angular chrome front bumper adds to its unique design.  The galloping horse logo evident on all Mustangs sits squarely in the middle of the grill.  The chrome wheel covers imitate spoked wheels and add a touch of pizzazz.  Black horizontally pleated interior upholstery adds a touch of class and the six-cylinder motor is no slug.  

Colin spied this beauty on eBay and contacted the American owner, who offered him a test drive.  He replied, “I’m just a bit far away.”  The seller then asked, ‘Are you in the next state?’ to which Colin answered, “No, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere!”  The deal was sealed, the Mustang was trucked from Chicago to LA and then shipped to Auckland.  “There are very few of this model around now,” Colin says.  “I love driving it.” This is driving as it used to be – no power steering, electric windows or rev counter.  If you need windscreen wipers, you turn them on.  It’s an authentic classic car driving experience.

The second vehicle, is a 2019 Ford Mustang Fastback in the factory colour ‘Need for Green’, with black racing stripes over the hood and bonnet.  “Only three of this model and colour were imported into New Zealand, plus one 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible,” says Colin.  “I ordered the car because of the colour.  I love the green.”

The Mustang has evolved dramatically over the years. This model’s headlights are angular, recessed and seem to glare at you like half-open crocodile eyes.  Aggressive in shape, this car is one sleek beast.  “The 5.0 litre, V8 engine, goes from ‘zero to lose your licence’ very quickly,” says Colin.  It has four exhaust tunes: quiet, normal, sport and race. Needless to say, you cannot drive anonymously in this car; the deep, throaty rort of the exhaust will have many heads turning when you put your foot down.   An amazing feature is the digital dash.  There are no dials, just a blank screen that illuminates to your choice of three different configurations at the touch of a button. It has a 10-speed auto transmission gearbox, so acceleration is seamless.  The black leather upholstery ups the masculinity and you can almost smell the testosterone oozing from this car.  The seats can be either heated or chilled, depending on the weather.  “Its party trick is to project an illuminated image of the Mustang horse logo on the ground when you open the door.  It looks really nice at night,” Colin said.   Of course there are also all the usual features, like Apple Car Play and automatic lane departure control too.

Colin’s passion for cars started decades ago.  “As a kid I used to buy car magazines and devour them – I’d read them twice.  I like preserving classic cars, driving them, and taking them to shows.  My cars are there to be used, not ‘trailer queens’,” he says.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.