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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Smithology: Through a Powerpoint, darkly | Hagerty Media

The behavior of any president is by definition presidential, as the old line goes; a Supra is a Supra because Toyota says it is, and if we want to call that four-door blob with Mustang fenders a Mustang, we will.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/smithology/smithology-through-a-powerpoint-darkly/
16 REPLIES 16
MikeD
Intermediate Driver

You’re probably one of those guys who continues to think that the only real Porsche is a 911. How did that work out for you?
Jack_Hagerty
Gearhead

Imagine thinking that only 911s are Porsches, when in fact only *aircooled* cars are Porsches!
Swamibob
Technician

Right on Jack! Unfortunately some poor souls think a Dino is a Ferrari. The modern lack of education is disappointing sometimes. 🙂
Flashman
Technician

Reading your work puts me in a different dimension. Thanks.
iamwho2k
Intermediate Driver

All these words expended... when Mustangs have never always been "Mustangs". My first car, a hand-me-down 1980 Fox-body was good looking, but probably the worst car ever built by the Ford Motor Company. I don't think the engineers even cared, given the gutless 3.3-liter six, and certainly the UAW workers who slapped it together with apathy didn't. I bet you, though, that Ford sold more of these turds than they did the Cobra. The first Mustang was nothing more than a better-looking Falcon. The Mustang II was nothing but a Pinto under the skin.

The point is, Ford is in business to sell cars and if calling the Mach-E a "Mustang" helps them sell more, or at least lure a Tesla stan-wannabe away from the House of Musk, then it's totally OK. Porsche executives will understand, since we all know the Cayenne, Macan and Panamera funds the next 911's development budget.
Choptop400
New Driver

As one of those guys blessed in life to own one of those real Porsche 911, I doing quite fine, thanks for asking. Sam, you are so spot on, I have been working on building a legacy business to out last these old bones for over 30 years and am still not there. It takes bottomless fortitude to build a concept that is enduring as the Mustang. The stewards of that concept, Ford have forgotten what there mission is and are selling their souls for a few pieces of silver. We will find out, I believe sooner rather than later "How did that work out for you". Sam again, thank you for writing your thoughts in Smithology, one of the most insightful article I have read in years.
wdb
Advanced Driver

How soon we forget the Mustang II -- a woebegone slander of the Mustang badge that Ford sold for many many years. It kept the badge alive, that's about it. I suppose it was closer in concept to Mustangs before and after, but it's soul was as far removed as this new thing's to a true Mustang.

I'm too old to be fully aware of what Supra means to Gen Xers or whoever it is, but I had a 2005 STi and so have some immersion in JDM culture. While the new Supra may not contain enough Toyota parts to soothe the author, it seems to me that it fills the same niche the originals filled. I have also read that Toyota engineers pressed BMW for more reliable bits; time will tell how that worked out, and in the meantime I'd happily drive one. Not so much the "Mustang" E.
RayJorg
New Driver

Great piece of writing. Sam Smith is the new Peter Egan, the highest form of praise I can imagine.
Alico87
Intermediate Driver

I believe the Mach E uses the Mustang name to cause controversy, conversation and get press coverage as it seems to be the most widely covered new Electric vehicle next to Tesla. We always knew that the Mustang name would be used on more models eventually and as a longtime Mustang fan and owner I have made peace with it. Cars will likely change dramatically over the next 20 years and I think the Mach-E is a way to start the evolution without sacrificing the real Mustang before it's time.

As for the Zupra4... Toyota is a top level manufacturer above everything else (not a car maker) and the collaboration seems to be simple dollars and cents... do I like it? No, but you can always buy a Lexus LC500 for your reliable grand tourer
02-orignal-ownr
Advanced Driver

Apropos of your comments on the X Type Jaguar brings two similar situations to mind: Cadillac and its Cimarron--a debacle that Cadillac managed to survive--but forever cheapened the brand, and the more complex downfall of Packard--a process that took 22 years.

While Packard's 1936 introduction of the Buick-priced 120--and later the even less expensive 110, probably saved the company from bankruptcy during the Depression, it forever cheapened the brand in the eyes of those who could afford a "proper" Packard. By the early 1950s, once the post WW II pent-up demand for cars subsided, Packard couldn't compete with the likes of the Big Three and came (too) late to the table with the required V8 and automatic transmission, forcing first a merger with Studebaker, and then the final ignominy of Studebakers badged as Packards--the American equivalent of a Morris badged as a Wolseley.

In a similar vein, BMW marketed its E36 Three series hatchback (the 318i) as an entry level BMW, equipping it with the least powerful engine available in the US market despite more powerful versions being available overseas. In doing so, they shut out the enthusiast market who would have snapped up the more powerful 6 cylinder versions in the lightest body (their previous success with the 2002). And the resulting poor sales caused BMW to forever eschew the "hot hatch" market in the US, allowing domination by VW and other brands.

WRT the Mustang E--to use a shopworn phrase, "putting lipstick on a pig..."
Spuds
Advanced Driver

That 'mustang' is still an abomination.Lets glue a tablet on the dash....give me a break.Its not even a decent electric SUV.
Mike_B
Intermediate Driver

Ok, I couldn't read the whole article because I kept getting tripped up by the implication that Ford gets to decide what is and is not a Mustang. No, they don't. We decide.
Let me explain.
I'm old enough to remember when a letter writing campaign resulted in the Ford Probe NOT becoming the new Mustang. And while I'm not old enough to remember this one, I'm told that a letter written to Mr. Iacocca had an impact on the trend of larger and larger Mustangs, resulting in the down-sizing that gave us the '74 Mustang II.
Look through ANY group of comments regarding the Mach-E and you will clearly see very few people defending Ford's choice to call it a Mustang and slap a pony on it.

Don't get me wrong. I have no beef with electric vehicles, and I look forward to the day when we get a REAL electric Mustang and not an SUV with phony pony on it.
MoparMarq
Advanced Driver

I guess if they say it's a Supra, then it must be a Supra. But I doubt that in 34 years from now - like my Supra - it will still have the original, operative wiper motors, window regulator motors, seat adjustment motors, headlight retraction motors (if it were equipped), differential, or transmission. I'll grant that an original engine may or may not make it that long. Mine didn't - but it did go out in a traffic-eclipsing cloud of blue, black, and white smoke. But its replacement (a different Toyota engine) was an improvement. Kaizen indeed.
Billygoat33
Pit Crew

Two summers ago when we still had car shows to attend, we were parked next to a beautiful '65 mustang convertable. When my wife was a teen, she and her brother shared a '65 mustang coupe, and she loved that car. Talking to the owners of the convertable, they told us about trying to get the body parts to fit correctly, finally giving up and declaring "it is what it is." They told my wife, the cars were so popular they were just thrown together in the rush to get them to the dealers, and just enjoy her memories, because they are better than any Mustang she will find.

The new Mach-E and "Zupra" are not the cars they claim to be. Personally I am fine with the cars existence but not their names. A Mustang is a 2-door car, sporty, muscle, race maybe but either way it would be considered a RWD 2-Door sports car. Lending the Mustang name to a crossover does not make it a Mustang. Why they didn't give it a different name like Mach E or some other name I don't know. Now if they had released a 2-door RWD electric motor car that would still be a Mustang. There has been two different Mustang's in my extended family a '71 and a '98. I have never been a Mustang owner but I love them. The new crossover is not a Mustang, though it does look like a nice electric crossover.

A Supra is (well, was) an all Toyota car, designed, engineered and built in Japan. The new one is not in any way. The best you can do is slap a "Tuned By Toyota" sticker on it if you wanted to be accurate. There is no Toyota DNA in this thing. Heritage? That got outsourced. Sorry but it has no Toyota in it, it's not a Supra. The few people out in the automotive world (like Jason here) who are brave enough to say it have my respect. I call "BS" on it's a Supra. It's a Zupra to me. If Toyota wanted to release this car under some other name it would not have Toyota or Supra enthusiasts passionately crying foul. Imagine if the Corvette got designed by someone else or if Porsche gave the 911 to someone else to design a car and cost share and then slap a badge on? You can't if you care. Names have a heritage and Ford poo-pooed it and Toyota just pissed it away.
driverdude98
Intermediate Driver

Once again, Smith, you capture the exact perfect center. Not bashing the new, understanding it even, yet recognizing what it isn’t and not blaming others for doing the same. Well said.