By: NEIL DOWLING on March 06, 2005
Original Article: SUNDAY TIMES, THE (PERTH)

More than 100 Mustangs are on the loose in South Perth. Neil Dowling lassos three before the muster.

Was there anything before the Mustang?

Did any car create so much passion, look so good, get driven by wild men taming longhaired chicks, win so many races and live on forever in films like Bullitt?

Probably. But you can’t doubt this is an inspirational car.

Today, at Sir James Mitchell Park, on Mill Point Rd, South Perth, a rare bit of the US comes to town.

The Mustang Round-up and State Concours expects to show 105 Mustangs in various degrees of affliction and affection, from youngsters to oldies, coupes to convertibles.

Three cars seen here are examples of what’s on show.

The newest is a 1998 Saleen convertible, the only one of its kind in Australia; a rare V6 LX 1984 convertible; and finally, the first Mustang convertible to reach Australia that was shown at the 1965 Melbourne Motor Show.

The owner of the LX, US-born retiree Brenda Martin, says her 1984 burgundy convertible is her absolute fun car.

It is pristine, partially because it is a low-mileage example and also because Brenda pampers it.

“Oh, no,” she said. “The roof doesn’t go up. It can go up, but I’m a show-off. I keep the hood down and don’t drive it in the rain.”

“That’s what this car is for. It’s a fun car.”

Brenda’s convertible doesn’t have a lot of outings. Originally from South Carolina, Brenda is retired and has the time to cruise.

But she has another car for big trips, winter, night time and when security is an issue.

She bought the car in 1991 from a US entertainer she met in Perth.

The V6 hasn’t got a lot of power, certainly not in the league of the more famous V8 Mustangs, but she prefers it that way.

“I drive slow, so people can see me. Isn’t that what a convertible is made for?” she winks.

The 1984 version was similar to the 1983 series. Brenda’s has an 84kW 3.8-litre V6 attached to an automatic gearbox. The hood is electrically operated.

At that time, Ford even offered a Mustang with a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine for buyers who wanted the look without much else.

The 1984 Mustang was mostly a carry-over from 1983, but there were some changes, including the 153kW high-output 5-litre V8 and a fuel-injected V8 with a four-speed automatic gearbox.

Joyce Allen has the first Mustang convertible to land in Australia.

It was the showcar at the 1965 Melbourne Motor Show that year and has since traveled across the country. Its colour has also changed from a blue-grey to a bright metallic blue.

She has owned the car for 28 years, having received it as a present from a friend.

It is the only car she has owned, and the only one she wants to own.

Unlike Brenda, Joyce drives the car each day. It is due for a bit of a touch up. There are a few spots of rust and the white leather upholstery needs restitching in places. It’s also on its second coat of paint.

Ford was shocked by the success of the 1965 Mustang, selling an unprecedented 559,451 cars that year, of which 73,112 were convertibles.

In 1965, one model year after the first Mustang, Ford introduced the 2-plus-2 fastback and offered a GT pack and power disc front brakes as options.

It also deleted the unpopular 260 V8 and offered the 289 (4.7-litre) V8 in three guises: the 157kW model as owned by Joyce, a 164kW version and a 202kW high-performance model.

A three-speed manual transmission was standard with the four-speed manual option. The 202kW V8 was the exception — it arrived with only the four-speed box. The other option was a Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission.

The third Mustang here is Harry Martin’s Saleen.

This rare 4.6-litre convertible is more likely to be seen at charity events than on the road.

Today’s Mustang show sees it on show, again, raising awareness and helping to raise funds for the Special Air Service’s Resources Trust that helps the wives and dependents of soldiers killed or injured in active service or training.

The raffle, to be run by SAS member Helen Doyle pictured with Harry’s Saleen, has as its prize a Saleen hamper full of rare merchandise from the US company.