It's no secret that today is the Ford Mustang's 50th birthday. Anybody with an ounce of gasoline in their blood could tell you that. Even if you didn't know or care before today, the glut of media coverage assures that everyone in America knows that the original pony car made it's first appearance half a century ago.
But why do we care? Car people can be a divisive lot, with clear demarcations often present between those who love drag racing, road racing, cruising, drifting, or whatever. Then there are the divisions within divisions - Chevy vs. Ford vs. Mopar, Ferrari vs. Porsche, McLaren vs... well, everyone.
But people from all of these groups have posted about the mustang's birthday. Even the mustang's mortal enemy Camaro pitched in. Over the course of the day I've seen drifters, auto crossers, and hardcore track rats alike wish this iconic piece of rolling Americana well.
That's because the Mustang is all things to all people.
Think about it. Is there anyone in your life right now for whom a mustang of some vintage or configuration is not a desirable car? It is the quintessential American GT - the perfect thing for the coast or the open highway or the stretch between stop lights. For the car illiterate it's shape is either sports car or muscle car, and the meaning is the same either way - a mustang to them, is a Nice Car.
For enthusiasts, there are mustangs to fit nearly any budget or taste. Vintage GT350's recall a time when America tried to beat the Europeans in Europe.
A prepped '70s Boss gets you into some of the most exciting vintage racing in the world - vintage Trans Am.
A Fox body can become almost anything, from the dragstrip terror it's known to be to the IMSA wide-body monsters that only those in the know recognize.
And yes, drifters have caught on to the mustang's potential too, with several competing and winning in Formula D.
On any given weekend, on any given racetrack in America, there is very likely a mustang of some kind lining up to be flogged. They are crude, simple, infinitely modular. This cheap and easy philosophy has lead to a series of cars that punch way above their financial weight and that are flexible enough to participate and excel in every form of automotive enthusiasm.
On the internet, the answer is always Miata . But in the real world, the answer is almost always Mustang.