2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Intimidation Factor

February 28, 2012

2012 Daytona 500 L2 crash by NASCAR_1600.jpg

In an apparent post-Daytona 500 celebration of some sort, a BMW tried to wreck me on the San Diego Freeway today. Fortunately I escaped.

The traffic was backed up in one lane, so the BMW driver decided to plunge into my lane of 60 mph traffic from a dead standstill. Like so many, he seems to have thought that the possession of a BMW key fob automatically makes him a smarter, more skilled driver – one protected by a little bubble of protective entitlement.

I wriggled past the broadside. (He made two attempts to wreck me, actually.) But it got me to thinking that part of the reason to drive a Mustang is to intimidate such drivers into refraining from similar stunts.

2012 Daytona 500 L197 crash by NASCAR_1600.jpg

You’d never guess, but when the traffic gets really bad, you’re looking for a little visual intimidation factor just to create a little wiggle room for safety. Muscle cars, commercial-grade pickup trucks, fancy German grilles – that’s what you want. Indeed Walter da Silva brought the full-frame grille to German cars expressly to move slower drivers out of the fast lane on the autobahn. You’d figure the Mustang’s forbidding grille would make most drivers freeze into passive mode.

But apparently you can’t rely on this anymore, in L.A. traffic at least. Maybe we could get some visual attention by painting up the Mustang in the full Sam Bass-designed, package-goods-from-the-supermarket NASCAR style, only this doesn’t seem to protect the Cup drivers very well.

I’m not sure what the best automotive expression of intimidation happens to be at the moment. For now, I’ll just keep driving like I’m coming up through the pack. Wankers ahead, no one that you can trust in sight, and your spotter must be on a bathroom break because there’s no reassuring advice in your ear.

Hope some BMW driver doesn’t wreck me.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 21,704 miles

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