Icon of icons: Autocar Awards Readers' Champion – Ford Mustang

The Mustang’s icon status is also backed up by cold, hard numbers. Ford expected to sell less than 100,000 examples within its first year of production but, after 18 months, more than one million had been built. Fast forward to the end of 2018, and more than 10 million had rolled off Ford’s US production lines. For perspective, it’s outsold the Porsche 911 (that other long-standing, iconic sports car) by a factor of 10 to one. 

Admittedly, there are some dodgy moments in Mustang history. By the time the first-generation model had gone out of production, the Mustang’s swelling proportions had morphed it into a completely different car from the timeless original, while the second- and third-generation models are probably best forgotten about entirely. But even after those years in the wilderness, the Mustang still commands a huge amount of gravitas even today. 

A return to styling form in more recent times is arguably a big part of the reason why. So too is the fact that the sixth-generation Mustang was the first to be offered in right-hand drive. More than anything, though, I’d wager it’s what’s under the bonnet that’s elevated the Mustang to its icon status: the V8 engine

Sure, there are plenty of cars that remain powered by V8 engines today, but tightening emissions regulations mean the vast majority are smaller-capacity, turbocharged affairs. The Mustang? Somehow, it’s managed to retain a V8 of the large-capacity, naturally aspirated variety – which makes it quite a rare thing. The Lexus LC is the only other car I can think of that you can buy new today with a naturally aspirated V8 at its nose. 

So, the Ford Mustang is a bit of a dinosaur, then. A member of a dying breed. But the fact that it continues to be a champion of the old school is exactly why you should vote for it. Trust me, you’ll miss it when it’s gone. 

Click here to vote for the Ford Mustang to be named our ‘icon of icons’

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