* Prices may differ from that shown
I own a 2000 Mustang 3.8 V6. The car itself is a testament to American fit and finish guidelines, e.g. look down the side car and none of the panels really line up. The engine is noisy, the headlights are an absolute joke and the fuel economy makes you want to go and hold up a petrol tanker to get your weekly fix. There you go, the bad points are out of the way. Now the good points:
Bang for the buck - Where else can you buy a 190 horsepower car that is 4 years old for under £8k?? The car is suprisingly speedy for an automatic and will happily out accellerate most cars you meet on the street
Looks and appeal - I have never owned a car that get's so much attention, 99% good and 1% bad. The car attracts a crowd in Asda carpark!
Insurance - £204 for a 27 year old with 1 years no claims bonus fully comp, yes, a 190hp car worth £8k, insured for less than a 5 year old Focus
Interior - The car I have came "Fully Loaded" apart from the upgraded stereo. The various extras include Cruise Control, traction control, electric windows all round, full leather interior and electric seats. There are two main detractions from the interior, one is the dated dashboard and switchgear (it has been the same aside from small modifications since 1994) and space. The front seat space is fine, more than this 6'4" bloke needs. However, the rear seat should not be sold as a seat, it is more of a perch. I have had 2 people in the back, but both front seats needed pulling forward and it made for an uncomfortable ride for all four of us (as there still wasn't enough room in the back)
Availability - Mustangs are fairly numerous in this country, especially now that the 2005 model has started hitting the shores. My advice is to buy a car that has already been registered here, rather than importing your own. There are cost savings to be taken into account when importing, but you have to be aware of the extra charges you will have to pay (Shipping, VAT, Duty, conversion (The lights have to be changed to conform with UK standards, e.g. sidelights and side indicators need to be fitted, as do amber turn signals at the rear, the angle on the headlight beam also has to be adjusted so it points to the left rather than blinding oncoming drivers!).
To find the car you want, try Autotrader.co.uk. There is usually a nice selection on there in all price brackets. Another piece of advice is to join an American car club (preferably the Mustang Owners Club), they have a huge wealth of knowledge, and often have someone local to you that knows their cars and will help you look one over.
Spare parts - There are several American car parts suppliers in this country, most carry an extensive stock, and generally have containers arriving regularly from the states. When I needed new brake pads and discs, I did a bit of searching on the web, found two or three suppliers and had the parts within 48 hours. That time, I had a local garage fit them (gave the mechanic the haynes manual for the car!). When it came time for the rear sets to be changed, I did these myself.
Handling - There is an old wives tale that American cars cannot go round corners. This is not true any more. Yes, the car has a "Live" rear axle (i.e. not independant rear suspension), but it still handles remarkably well. The only hair raising times are in the wet, it can take the traction control a second to kick in, by which point you have corrected the slide.....then the traction control corrects it for you again, trying to put you in a ditch!! This is just a learning curve, like any car, you have to know it's traits and behaviours in any circumstances.
This car goes down as the best car I have owned. The power, coupled with the fact you are driving a very rare (over here anyway) car makes you feel like you are a football player (which I can assure you I am not!). It is extremely comfortable on long journeys and you can occasionally get it to return over 30mpg.
Ford - Built for the road ahead