So much of life is about choosing the right tool for the job – or at least, knowing what that job is before you choose the tool for it. Take the hammer, for instance. In theory, it’s just a weight on a stick, used for bashing things. But there’s a big difference between a ball peen and a sledge, between a recoil-less claw hammer and a deadblow. Not every hammer will do every job every time.
When Ford introduced its EcoBoost engine in 2009, the stated goal was replacement of all larger-displacement engines with smaller, cleaner, and more fuel efficient turbo powerplants. In some ways, they’ve succeeded; compared to ye olde sledgehammer diesel, the EcoBoost is a slick, high-tech, high-speed nail gun. It’s quick, easy to use, and as sophisticated as anything else that ever did the job.
But the EcoBoost design didn’t come out of nowhere – just the fact that we’re comparing these two very different tools should say something about how much of their designs they owe to each other. These two hammers are starting to look a lot alike. Even so, there’s still a difference. The question today isn’t so much "Which one is the right tool for the job?"
It’s "Which job?"
How would you feel about spending half
the cost of a 2015 Mustang GT on a slightly older Mustang that runs more than a full second quicker in the quarter-mile? How about an 11-second car that won’t lose a third of its value the first time you drive it, and will save you the cost of a decent 1990 Mustang GT every single year in insurance and financing costs alone?
Sounds about perfect, right? One small caveat:
"Some assembly required."
The world would be a wonderful place if we could all afford to plunk down $40,000 to close to $50,000 on the latest and greatest Mustang. But here in the real world of potholes and mosquitoes, budget limitations do have a habit of slapping those ambitious prayers from our mouths. That’s okay, though. Because to paraphrase a certain country singer: Some of life’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. The rest are half-priced Shelby GT500 "clones."
The new-for-2015 Mustang, code-named S550, is an objectively significant improvement over the "old" S197 chassis. Noticeably lower, wider and smoother-handling than its predecessor, and with 435 horses to boot, the S550 does seem well-tailored for epic battle with them Chivvy boys. It’s a great car — just not as great as the previous-generation Shelby GT500, or even a "clone" version of the same.