Something like this is long overdue, and as a Mustang owner not once or twice but three times, I feel obligated to share my knowledge and experience in the hope that lives might be spared. Failing that, this guide should at least tip you off to the best vantage points for setting up your cameras. You can’t fight nature, so when the worst happens - and it will happen - you might as well try to make some money on YouTube.
What you’re about to read is absolutely true. That’s right - every single word. There is no exaggeration here, no hyperbole, and certainly no sarcasm. Definitely no sarcasm. Nothing is made-up or pulled from thin air, even the bit about secret Mustang societies that require members to build cowl induction hood scoops from mashed potatoes.
Please don’t mistake this survival guide as some screwball attempt to make fun of Mustang owners for constantly crashing their cars. Lest ye forget - I am a Mustang owner. I would never, ever make fun of myself for the sake of perpetuating a cheap joke. So let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if Mustangs shall attend car shows and coffee gatherings for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘this was their finest hour.’ That probably sounds like something Winston Churchill once said, but it’s not. Trust me.
It should be noted that not all Mustangs are drawn to crowds like four-wheel drive sport-utility vehicles are drawn to suburban shopping malls. In fact, the vast majority of Mustang attacks stem from recent Mustang generations of the last 15 years. Nevertheless, a wise person must always be on-guard around any Mustang. Part of the reason they’re so dangerous is the sheer unpredictability of their actions. Even older Mustangs can be provoked by a crowd, especially if Camaros or Challengers are present. Or if a random person simply yells hey, do a burnout!
Mustangs generally aren’t aggressive until the rest of the pack arrives. Cars and coffee events are well-known hunting grounds for Mustangs, but Ford-specific car shows and similar events open to late-model cars are also common areas where Mustangs gather.
Be especially cautious around Mustang-specific events, as errant Mustangs are notoriously dangerous in these situations. If you’re not particularly interested in Mustangs or associating with people who think they can handle cheap horsepower, it’s best to avoid these areas completely.
Despite the danger, observing Mustangs in their natural habitat can be quite exhilarating if you’re mindful of your surroundings. While these creatures are at rest, take the time to examine the area. Note the newer cars, especially those with temporary or dealer registration tags.
Mustangs with automatic gearboxes are generally harmless, but be mindful of manual gearboxes, especially if the exterior is adorned with stripes or slogans such as hoonigan. Anything that says Shelby should be regarded with caution. Anything with excessive Shelby stickers should be reported to authorities immediately. In addition to being extremely dangerous, such Mustangs are also obnoxiously tacky.
You’ve spent time observing Mustangs at rest, but now they’re starting to act up. It’s not uncommon for these creatures to vocalise amongst themselves and others of different species in a kind-of mating ritual prior to leaving the den. Be especially mindful of the ones that incessantly vocalise over and over, hitting the rev limiter. Also be mindful of the ones that remain curiously quiet; both could be signs of an imminent attack.
When picking a spot to stand along the street, it’s best to remain near the entrance. Avoid curbside viewing between 50 feet and 150 feet away - studies by the Institute for Mustang Awareness have shown 98 per cent of Mustang attacks happen in this ‘gallop zone’. For those choosing to view the action up close, ironically the safest place to be is in the middle of the street. No matter where you choose to stand, always take a cow bell and ring it every time a Mustang enters the road. This will help alert your fellow enthusiasts to potential threats.
Despite the near daily Mustang attacks, take comfort in knowing that less than one per cent of Mustangs turn violent. For the average enthusiast, the odds of being a Mustang victim are about the same as me ever being welcomed to a Mustang meet after writing this article. That means there are plenty of skilled handlers and fabulously powerful Mustangs out there, just waiting for someone to yell do a burnout so they can do what they do best.
Still, that doesn’t mean you should ever take Mustangs for granted. We’ve all seen the videos - but now you know how to survive your next Mustang encounter. And you know how to build hood scoops from mashed potatoes. Like I said, it’s all legit. Every. Last. Word.