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Old 16th January 2017, 18:19   #1
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Thumbs up Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

If you thought Santa wasn't real, think again. What if you got to hustle with American muscle on Xmas day?

Xmas Day 2016 was a special day for me, as i got to hang out with the American legend, the Ford Mustang. It seemed almost as if Santa had replaced Rudolph on his sleigh with the Mustang and asked me to take over the reins.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1941.jpg

Ford India has embarked on taking the iconic Mustang around India and as part of this journey Team-BHP was invited to drive down the legend from the IT Capital city of Bangalore to the city known as The Detroit of India - Chennai. To make the day even more special as far as i am concerned, it happened to be on Xmas Day! I truly felt like i did my part in spreading the Xmas cheer as I drove the 'Stang in red around the streets of Bangalore and on to Chennai.

Intimidated? Well, you aren't the first!
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1916.jpg

Link to Official Review: thread

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2017 at 11:36.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:23   #2
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

The agenda was fairly straight forward. Drive and enjoy the car, just making sure that we reach Chennai in time for my flight the same evening.

The famous pony
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9268.jpg

We were looking at a distance of about 335 kms, and some of it along beautiful highways. In my arsenal, i had the power of the massive 5.0 Litre V8 begging to be let loose, so it was obvious we would make our way to Chennai with loads of time to spare. Or so, we thought.

Along with me on the drive was a person from the Ford India PR team, and we had a service car following us, just in case the need arose. Considering the low profile tyres the Mustang wore, there were a pair of extra tyres as backup.

I proposed a departure time of 5:30 AM from Bangalore, as part of the itinerary was to stop for pics as part of Ford's campaign.

I was handed the keys to the Mustang and as i stepped out to the hotel parking lot i got my first glance of the legend on Indian soil.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th January 2017 at 11:04.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:25   #3
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

First impressions? It was L-O-N-G. The bonnet felt like it went on for a mile, and sitting in the driver's seat it felt like trying to navigate a boat/ship, sitting far behind at the stern, and looking out to the bow.

Makes for a lovely silhouette
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1934.jpg

It also felt quite wide. My daily drive is a large full-sized 4x4, so i am not new to big, wide bodied vehicles, but the Mustang surely felt bigger.

The bulge under the hood only indicated the monster of an engine it shielded.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1902.jpg

Key in my pocket, i pressed the brake and tried to find the Start button. It's positioning is slightly unconventional, which i attributed to one of those design quirks.

Press Start - It's time to rumble
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9269.jpg

Located to the bottom of the centre console beside the driver, is the engine Start button. I gently hit the Start button to hear the 5 Litre monster settle into a controlled yet intimidating rumble.

My first set of challenges for the morning involved getting the car to turn around two 90 degree turns of the hotel parking lot. While i managed the first one without much ado, the second one required my passenger to step out and guide me to avoid scraping the car. The first glaring omission of the Mustang was thereby revealed : lack of front sensors, for such a long vehicle. This has also been highlighted in GTO's review of living with the Mustang. (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offic...ml#post4114341

Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th January 2017 at 17:47.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:27   #4
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Getting the car onto the road required me to gingerly amble it across non-scientific ramps to avoid scraping the front or the underbody. Once we were on the road, i began to feel more comfortable with the dimensions of the car. As they say, it seemed to feel like it was a part of me as we made our way across foggy Bangalore.

Notorious for speed-breakers that can wreck cars if not careful, i had my first experience of having to tackle speedbreakers sideways. This ofcourse came with its own share of problems in the form of angry BMTC bus drivers who wanted to push the car out of the way while they raced to the next bus stop.

Soon enough, i also began to feel like a celebrity as various people whipped out their mobiles to click the car as we drove. Bikers slowed down in front to take pics, while some followed cameras in hand.

Color coded for the occasion
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1904.jpg

When i got the car, the FE reading on the console indicated a measly 4 kmpl, which was not too different from what the Team-BHP review suggested and GTO achieved as well.

FE towards the beginning of the trip. Don't miss the direction indicated by the compass on the Mustang
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9254.jpg

Considering the length of our trip, i expected to make multiple fuel stops along the way. We made our way to a Shell outlet to tank up the beast before we hit the highway. Being quite early in the morning, the attendants at the bunk were just getting started, and the tankers emptying their load into the bunks. As the DTE was showing a very limited range, we decided not to risk it, and waited till the Shell outlet was open so we could fill fuel. After about 20 mins of being informed "5 mins, saar", the bunk was declared open, and we finally got to tank it up.

It's to be appreciated that the V8 in the Mustang purrs happily when fed with regular octane petrol, and the Ford guy along mentioned that it's been sipping on this all through the pan-India tour so far.

Shell normal, please..
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9253.jpg

Even as we were filling fuel we had onlookers who stopped to enquire about the car as well as click pics, including the fuel attendants themselves.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th January 2017 at 18:49.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:29   #5
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

We hit Hosur Road taking the Elevated highway as we made our way towards the Karnataka border. Thick fog blanketed us rendering visibility in the lower extremes.

Those distinctive tail lamps are a defining feature of the Mustang
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8788.jpg

People made way for the Mustang seeing it in their rear view mirrors, while the roar from the exhaust resounded as we made progress.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8773.jpg

At the toll booth, a lot of people lowered their windows to enquire about the make of the car. Some proclaimed it to be a Ferrari, while some took other guesses.

With great power comes great responsibility. BUT, you still gotta wait in line!
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8806.jpg

This presented a perfect opportunity for Ford to indulge in a brand building exercise for the Mustang, seeing how the only reference to the car being a Ford is a tiny translucent sticker saying Ford on the front windshield. The GT badge on the rear left a lot of people confused once again about the make of the car.

The toll booth operator too enquired about the car make, and on being informed of it being a Ford Mustang, nodded a sign of approval. People like him get to see a whole gamut of cars which pass through the toll booths everyday, but i appreciate the effort made by him to enlighten himself on his knowledge. It's very easy to remain disinterested in your job, and not take pride in it, as i have seen in other places.

Past the toll booth we crossed the checkpost and made our way towards Shoolagiri, where we would have our stop for breakfast.
With the road opening up, and with 3 lanes on either side, i began to explore the power on tap. I was warned in advance about the tendency of the rear to step out, along with my relative inexperience with such a powerful car, so i kept stunts to a minimum.

Low end pull is amazing, and the suspension is quite sorted even for the kind of roads you get at times in India. It's almost as if the Mustang's telling you how comfortable it can be as a daily drive. Soon enough, you begin to think it's true... this can be a good tourer. Unless ofcourse, you have company along.

With the kind of attention the Mustang gets you, you'd be popular soon enough, and then you decide to pile in a few people and head to the disc. Or atleast, you attempt to. Watch as the people in the rear seats want to run out as soon as they can pull their legs outta there.

With my seating position, i had the driver's seat a fair way back, infact almost as close to the rear seat as is possible. I enjoy a very laidback position when driving, and it was easy enough for me to achieve that once i got in. However, what it meant was that it was almost impossible to have someone seated behind me. Unless ofcourse they had their legs up on the rear seat.

All cozy in the rear seat, but not by choice
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9264.jpg

For a brief period in between, we had the Ford cameraman in the car along with us. The guy is almost 6'3", and as you can see, he struggled to get his lanky frame in, and was rather uncomfortable in there. Coupled with the fact that the fellow passenger was 6 feet tall as well, the two would end up not talking to each other if subjected to an extended journey sitting behind each other.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th January 2017 at 17:34.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:34   #6
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8811.jpg

We stopped at the Shoolagiri HP rest stop, and had breakfast there while the car gathered a huge crowd of admirers. It was the Xmas weekend, and the place was teeming with holiday-goers and families, not to forget the usual bunch of bikers out for a ride.

Under the watchful eyes of the security guard, people continued to click pics with the car, and pose for selfies while we ensured our tummies had its share. When we got back, the security remarked on how atleast 200 pics might have been clicked of and with the car by people in the limited time we were there!

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8813.jpg

Admiration guaranteed
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9257.jpg

While there would be some exaggeration involved, i personally dont think he was quite off the mark.

As they say, whereever you may be, there would be a Team-BHPian around... and it was proved right yet again. I met fellow mod Jaggu as well as fellow Team-BHPian Manoj who were out on a ride on their Tigers.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9835.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th January 2017 at 18:56.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:37   #7
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Breakfast completed, we got back on the highway to make our way towards Chennai.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8842-copy.jpg

We took the left turn off the highway leading to Salem, and the vistas got better. Hills adorned the landscapes along the highway, and somewhere in between, we decided to head off onto village roads, partly to see how the Mustang would cope with non-smooth or unpredictable roads.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1935.jpg

The steep descent off the highway followed by a speed-breaker soon after required a spotter to guide me, to ensure i didn't scrape the front bumper. I drove carefully and noticed the Mustang didn't seem to be disturbed much by the broken village roads, despite the low profiles. This clearly reflected the Mustang's capability as a daily drive, to be able to handle the not so perfect road conditions it would have to negotiate.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_9083.jpg

Even as we passed through these villages we were stopped by curious villagers who enquired which car this was, as well as the cost. This just went on to prove how eye-catching the Mustang is, particularly in the shade of red it wore.

Ha! Made you look!
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1946.jpg

One of our manoeuvres on these roads included doing a U turn so we could drive back to the highway. This involved having to back the car into the driveway to a house surrounded by drains on both sides, and then pull out onto the road.

The reversing camera along with the guidelines helped immensely in backing out the car, especially since you couldn't place the rear of the car without the help of any aids.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9285.jpg

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9286.jpg

The black line in the centre turns along with the steering wheel when reversing and helps indicate the path the car will follow. One pair of guidelines also help in a similar fashion, showing how the width of the car would fare, for a scenario where you are backing into a tight space. As for the front, the lack of sensors up front was sorely missed, especially considering the long bonnet.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 18th January 2017 at 20:04.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:40   #8
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Somewhere along the journey, we decided to include Mahabalipuram as well in the itinerary considering its historical significance.
This involved getting off the highway to Chennai to go via Kanchipuram towards Mahabalipuram. This provided the chance to subject the Mustang to narrow, winding roads, which is quite a possibility when touring the country on wheels. Just before the turn off to the Mahabalipuram route, we stopped for lunch.

Here's a pic of the Mustang parked outside the restaurant hoping to blend in quite unsuccessfully.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9288.jpg

Soon after lunch, I handed over the wheel to my co-driver and we hit the highway to Mahabalipuram, which is via Kanchipuram-Chengalpattu route.

Thou shalt not forget.
The view from the passenger seat, reminding you of the legend.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1952.jpg

This route at times is infested with cattle on the roads, tractors with their loaded trailers.... you name it, you have it! Broken roads, speed-breakers , rogue bus drivers ... we began to think if we should reconsider our decision to drive via Mahabalipuram. To the Mustang's credit, we managed without any scrapes to the underbody or any other unforeseen issues. My co-driver who being quite familiar with the car over the course of the pan-India drive managed to make quick progress despite the crowded road conditions.

As we reached the entrance to Mahabalipuram, a traffic snarl awaited us. It appeared there was some sort of festival which meant hordes of people dressed in red thronged the various sites at Mahabalipuram, bringing in their wake haphazardly parked buses, vans etc.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_9079.jpg

Blessings from the Buddha
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-mahabalipuram-3.jpg

We gingerly navigated our way to the Lighthouse so we could get a couple of pics, and then make our way out of the crowds.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 18th January 2017 at 19:27.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:42   #9
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1953-copy.jpg

As we started from Mahabalipuram, i got back behind the wheel. We took the famous East Coast Road to make our way to Chennai. It's been almost 10 years since i last travelled along the East Coast road, and it was interesting to see how much it had changed! Being a weekend, traffic was dense along the road, but some blips of the horn made people give way.

Where faiths transform to motoring passion
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_9103.jpg

Parked at a place of worship in Mahabalipuram. It's fair to say the Mustang is a religion in itself!
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9298.jpg

Cultural musings
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-mahabalipuram-2.jpg

Once again, we had people driving like mad to keep on our tail, all the while having their mobiles turned to video mode to capture the Mustang in action. While i certainly do not encourage such actions on the road, i did what i could do help minimise inconvenience to those who were trying.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_9030.jpg

The headlamps of the Mustang did a good job in lighting up the road before us. We had the fog lamps turned on as well, to help spot those nasty speed-breakers or potholes out there to surprise and shock. The high beam felt quite powerful, and i noticed occasions where rogue motorists from the opposite direction with their blinding lights dipped them on being subjected to a taste of their own medicine.

The rest of the drive was uneventful and we reached Chennai, only to join another traffic snarl. By this time we were clearly running a tight race, and it was only a matter of time before i would be in a position to miss my evening flight. To add to the fun, i ended up missing a turn towards the airport which i had to take, and had to end up going up ahead and returning to make sure i got it right this time round.

As i parked at the airport and handed over the keys, i felt a sense of sadness. It was like i was givng away something i had gotten quite attached to.
Despite me having lived with the car for just about a day, and about 400 kms in all, i believe i had felt the connection. It had struck a chord in me, a feeling of endearment and want. I then realised how James May felt when he spoke about the Honda NSX on The Grand Tour. There is always some other car which is better in many ways, which is better looking, a better performer, and which may even hit top whack much faster... but then there are some with which you form a bond. To me, the Mustang in its current avatar is one such vehicle.

See you again...
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8770-copy.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 18th January 2017 at 19:52.
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Old 16th January 2017, 18:46   #10
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Reminiscence and Summary:

This is the phase where i began to consider the touring potential of the Mustang. After all, Ford did bring the Grand Tourer (GT) edition to India.

Space in the boot for a couple of travel bags for the weekend trip? Check.

Good enough to load in a couple of travel bags for the weekend getaway
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9301.jpg

Fuel economy to be able to travel without having to stop for fuel stops often? Hmm.. Allow me to explain.

When i first got hold of the Mustang on this drive, it showed about 4.x kmpl on the meter. This was inline with GTO's observations during his drive of the same car.
As i mentioned earlier, i did expect multiple fuel stops on this drive which can be classified as a weekend drive. However, despite the quick bursts of speed to listen to that exhaust, as well as idling time in between as the photographer went about his task, the FE began to show signs of improvement. Somewhere into the drive, i reset the meter, and observed how it performed for my kind of driving.

Let me explain. I am not a fast driver. I enjoy speed in bursts and love to listen to the gurgle of the Mustang as it announced itself with the massive V8.
Along the course of my drive with the Mustang, the car returned a displayed FE of 8.2 kmpl.

Such Fuel Efficiency from a 5L V8?!
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9299.jpg

This included speed runs on the highway, navigating narrow, winding state highways, idling for photoshoots, and also traffic in multiple places. The only fuel stop during the day was when we tanked up at Shell in Bangalore. So, this helps us conclude the Mustang is not as bad a guzzler as it has been made out to be.

Fuel requirements in Indian conditions? Check.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9252.jpg

All along our journey, and along the pan India tour this particular Mustang has embarked on, it sipped on normal octane petrol. Yes, you read that right. Fuel expenses for the Mustang in India would not be too different from that of an ordinary car, except ofcourse the lower FE owing to a higher displacement engine. This in itself is a big plus, coinsidering its touring potential.

Ability to handle bad roads? Check.
A point which has come up on both the Team-BHP reviews as well as GTO's drive of the car is it's relative ability to handle bad roads with disdain. While due diligence is to be applied regarding possible damage to the low profile tyres, the suspension in itself is supple and does not jolt you out of your skin on the bad roads. On indian roads, this is surely a trait worth having.

Performance? Check.
Even at idle the Mustang promises to be fast. The muted throb is like the slow start to an orchestra as it ascends to a crescendo with the pedal to the metal.

The Grand Tourer
Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-dsc_8817.jpg

Out on the highway, the Mustang revved freely as it made quick progress, only at times to be let down by the AT box which played spoilsport. Needless to say, there is the S mode which allows you to play with the paddleshifts, but even these had a momentary pause before the gearbox responded. Needless to say, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker. For someone like me, i got used to it soon enough, but in a garage where the Mustang shares space with more illustrious peers, this can be a bit of a downer. The Mustang does make a strong case for itself with the other advantages though, as described earlier.

Comfort and convenience? Check.
The dual zone climate control and heated seats help the Mustang take you around in comfort.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9296-copy.jpg

Sound from the speakers were a bit boomy, but i didnt spend time playing around with those settings to see if it helped. For me, the sound from that exhaust was music in itself. Quite divine, to my ears.

Ford has done a great job in getting the Mustang to indian shores. Just about the time i got to drive the Mustang in India, fellow mod moralfibre was driving a Mustang in red on American shores. Ofcourse, that wasnt the same engine, and was a convertible, but nevertheless, it's a great feeling to have access to an American muscle car sitting in India while your friends drive the same on foreign shores.

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9836.jpg

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9837.jpg

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_9838.jpg

Observe how the Mustang in the pics above are not the GT and hence do not sport the GT logo on the tailgate.

Meanwhile, I shall treasure this pic from the drive:

Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang-img_1939.jpg

Disclaimer: Ford India invited Team-BHP for the Mustang drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Certain pics from the drive were provided by Ford India for use by Team-BHP.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2017 at 11:41.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 11:47   #11
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd January 2017, 14:09   #12
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Wow! It must be a great experience. You got one hell of a Christmas present this year. I wish Santa becomes this clement towards me one day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
FE towards the beginning of the trip. Don't miss the direction indicated by the compass on the Mustang
Attachment 1596484
What exactly you meant by this? Does it mean that this was the predominant direction for this trip?
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Old 23rd January 2017, 15:44   #13
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Nice thread Ben! Your love for the car clearly shines through. Very entertaining.

The Mustang is eye candy for sure, especially in that red shade. Harebrained pricing by Ford, though! Else it'd have quite a few additional takers.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 16:05   #14
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Fantastic account of your small little trip to Chennai. How I wish I could trade with you to be behind those wheels. 8.2 kpl for a 5 litre v8 is amazing. Its almost as good as Duster petrol in the city.

That said one would rarely feel disappointed behind the mustang's wheels. The exhaust note is as you mentioned the icing on the cake.

Slightly off topic but does Ford plan to have the car assembled and localized? These tours are definitely an indication that ford wants to put its money in the market and quite frankly there would be no competition if they bring it close to say 35-40 lakhs.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:19   #15
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Default Re: Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
i had the power of the massive 5.0 Litre V8 begging to be let loose
This is 100% bang truth; may be Ferrari & Lambos might behave the same, I don't know. But this statement is 100% true, you get the power, torque whatsoever less than milliseconds on tapping the gas pedal; and the press & power are proportional!! If it weren't for this legendary car in 2007 Nov in Detroit...then I will not be even typing this here today, TBhp would've never had this member & my Son would've grown up without seeing his Father!!

Last edited by aargee : 23rd January 2017 at 17:21.
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