A couple of months ago, this article by Mike Garrett on Speedhunters caught me by surprise. Here was one of SH’s foremost experts on Japanese cars singing the praises of Ford. Wait, Ford?
Yeah the GT was cool back in the day, but if I remember correctly this company does the Mustang, which is fine, but little else. And I should know. I grew up on Fords. My grandfather owned a Ford dealership, and I was raised being taught that the oval trumped the bowtie. It might have been the constant “Ford is King” rhetoric that made me go cookoo for Japanese cars when my father broke the mold in 1981 and bought a Honda. But that is a story for another time (and one I have told a few times here).
The point is after my Ford-deluged childhood, I haven’t paid much attention. The 90’s and early 2000’s, at least from what I remember, weren’t good to Ford. The Mustang was ugly, so was the Taurus, and there were cars like the later Escort, Contour, and the Probe. Ford did start the whole “Sport Utility Vehicle” thing with the Explorer, but there wasn’t much else.
So outside of the Ford GT, which I love, and the occasional Mustang, I hadn’t paid much attention. Until a few years ago, when the Mustang received a stellar makeover, the Taurus all of a sudden was a sporty-looking sedan, and there were cool cars like the Focus RS. And now? Ford rocks.
Mike laid it out nicely in his article, but there is more evidence in the 2016 Hot Wheels lineup. A couple of months ago, Hot Wheels released the new Raptor. In a few months, we will see the new GT, which will also be a Super TH, and the Focus RS is on its way. All are (most likely) coming in the new Ford signature blue, and these are replicas of some very cool cars.
But those are out or are coming out. Right now, let’s focus on the Shelby GT350R. Ford’s sportiest pony car has gotten nothing but praise from the carnut set, being compared to the best of Europe. It has been called a sophisticated track-worthy street car. And even with all its performance highlights, it looks damn good.
And as part of its Ford-centric lineup, Hot Wheels did the GT350R for 2016, and NAILED IT. With a lineup that sees the debut of the 3.0 CSL, 356A Outlaw, and a Fairlady Z, the GT350R may take the cake as best new model.
And it makes a great pair with the new Mustang released at the end of 2014. I don’t need that custom job that was released last year with the big spoiler and large rear wheels, mainly because these look way too good. Look at these two. Rear detailing, no large rear wheels, and built to look real. There have been subsequent releases of the 2015 Mustang, and there will undoubtedly be more versions of the GT350R, but I don’t need them. These two stock versions are all I need.
Case in point, the Super Snake. Hot Wheels released their replica of the Super Snake a few years ago, and I was an instant fan. Except for the rear wheels. Look at these two together. Two fantastic models, with one not what it could be because of how badly it is thrown off with an out-of-proportion rear wheel. That has been fixed to stellar results on the new Shelby.
I don’t collect all Mustangs, but there are a handful that have caught my attention. Consider this one the best of all of them…