“How on Earth did we end up with a Mustang and an M4 as direct competitors?” So asks our trusty host early on in this episode of Jason Cammisa on the ICONS.
For science – and to answer that question and many, many more (“Is ‘Dark Horse’ just another marketing term?) – Cammisa has gathered in the California desert an unlikely assemblage of machinery that includes the S650 Mustang Dark Horse, a first-generation 1966 Mustang convertible, a second-generation Mustang II, a third-generation Fox-body Mustang, an SN95 Mustang, an S197 Mustang Boss 302, a first-generation Ford Probe GT, a B1-chassis Volkswagen Fox, an E30-chassis BMW M3, and today’s G82-chassis BMW M4 Competition. There’s a lot to unpack here.
Following a bit of fascinating history on the Mustang’s deceptive origins and its long, rather rudimentary evolution as a sports car built on decidedly un-sporty cars, we arrive at a side-by-side comparison of the Fox-body Mustang and the E30 M3. “The 5-oh and the M3 were in showrooms at the same time,” Cammisa says, “but it’s safe to say NO ONE cross-shopped them.” So, when did people start cross-shopping Mustangs and BMWs?
Maybe it was when Ford finally gave the Mustang its very own platform, with the sixth-gen car built from 2014 to 2023. After all, like BMWs (and nearly every vehicle everywhere that isn’t a lorry), the Mustang finally(!) had independent rear suspension. It was also built specifically for export – with right-hand-drive configuration. More than likely, however, it’s right now, with the debut of said Dark Horse and the very latest Mustang generation. Because, as you’ll see, the Dark Horse and the M4 are eerily similar, inside and out. You might even say they’ve morphed into the same car…
As always, Cammisa is joined at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway by Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame race car driver, Randy Pobst, and, as always, the two frolic, drive fast, and brake things for our entertainment.