Having been thru so many new car introductions in our thirty year history in the hobby, it’s always interesting – and definitely more than a bit sad – to watch the almost endless cycle of great looking concept cars, followed by a so-so or often ho-hum production model.
The latest model to hit the sad fan is the upcoming 2014 Subaru WRX. The concept car hit the show circuit recently and it was more than fabulous, although also obviously not tenable:
And then the final production model was spotted at the Nurburgring. It’s a Legacy, with model-specific flared front fenders, hood, front cap, rear fenders, rear bumper, and of course the expected wing. Some fans who believed that Subaru would build something like the blue Concept above were let down – even though it was clear that it never could have happened, especially given the budget Subaru operates under for the WRX and STI. It had to be based on a production car.
Fans get disappointed a lot in this hobby. Take the current Mustang, for example, which was introduced for the model year 2005. Ford first released two concepts, however, styled as shown below, and on an entirely different chassis – the DEW-98 platform, used for the Lincoln LS, Thunderbird, and Jag S-Type – and originally developed for the Mustang but dropped due to cost concerns. What we were shown was a great looking car, with the DEW-98 state-of-the-art chassis ( all aluminum double A-arms up front, and IRS out back), and featuring a supercharged 4.6 DOHC V-8:
The inexperienced observer would be excited and hopeful because it appeared the Mustang was about to get everything every (sophisticated) fan could have hoped for. However, reality is a cruel mistress. What Ford actually delivered is this:
Not only was the uber-chassis lost, the sharp styling was lost as well. Were we cheated? Yes. When will Ford learn? We’ll see.
Meanwhile, Camaro fanboys were shown a concept in 2006 which greatly excited them – not only because their car had been cancelled permanently and was now unexpectedly resurrected from the dead, but also because the concept was a knockout (if more than a bit retro):
The production model for the 2010 model year was all but identical, including the huge bulk, terrible sightlines, enormous width, and the full concept interior with its terrible ergonomics. All that was dropped was some over-the-top orange treatment of the instrument gauges (which themselves retained the concept’s styling). But it was popular and as acceptance grew it finally out-sold the Mustang.
Now we are approaching a new round of ponycars: the Mustang will be all-new in 2015 (well, sort of all-new, being simply an evolution of the existing S197 platform), and the Camaro in 2016 (based on the all-new Alpha chassis, also shared with the ATS and CTS).
We’ve seen several Mustang development mules thanks to spy photographers, showing the Fusion-like front end, but not yet the final rear shape:
The styling of the production car, like the Fusion and all new Fords going forward, is based on Ford’s 2011 Evos concept. As Alan Mulally says, when he steps off a plane in another country, he wants to be able to instantly recognize the local Fords.
From spy pictures, including an underhood picture, we know that the 2015 Mustang has the same grill and swept-back headlamps. We’ve also seen pictures of several small-scale clay models in Ford’s styling studios – and while none of those are production (hundreds of drawings would have been made, and many of the most promising converted to clay), they do all show the same shape and dimensions as the Evo.
So the question is: will Ford deliver a concept of the 2015 Mustang before production commences (presumably in the spring of 2015)? And will that concept accurately preview production… or will reality again be cruel to us?
If there will be a concept delivered, we may see it as early as the LA Auto Show this coming November, but traditionally it would be far more likely to appear in Detroit at the NAIAS in January. And while most observers are assuming that the production model will be shown at the Mustang Club of America 50th anniversary celebration event in April 2014, it’s possible that only a concept could be shown there with the production car introduced later. No doubt this is all being decided now… and we’ll just have to be patient in the meantime. And that, folks, is the car hobby.
Read more 2015 Mustang news on DrivingEnthusiast.net:
- hashtag #MustangInspires
- 2015 Mustang posts