Mustangs are known for two things: being an iconic muscle car, and for being one of the most modifiable muscle cars in American history. Without that second bit, it could be that some of the most legendary muscle tuners in America may never have been. Legendary names may have never emerged. And special editions of the beloved Pony car may never have come forward.
Back in the day, very few people would actually tune up a muscle car, as it required a lot of knowledge, a lot of getting your hands dirty, and more often than not, a lot of money. It’s for that reason that most of the tuned Mustangs of the time were either drag racing quarter mile beasts, or used as stock cars for racing.
However, even in the days of yesteryear, if you knew exactly what to ask for, and who to ask for it from, you could still get special parts, OEM or otherwise, for your car.
The Power Of Networked Knowledge
There is a famous saying in the business world: “Network, network, network!” Get to know people. Shake hands. Develop relations with that person, and by extension, whatever company they represent. The same is true for cars.
Do you think that Carroll Shelby would have been able to make the GT500 if he didn’t impress the big wigs in Detroit? If he didn’t shake a few hands, pose for a few photos, and help build the original Ford Racing Program to victory at Le Mans? In those days, it was letters, phone calls, and flying across the country, or across oceans, to meet the right people and shake the right hands.
In today’s world, networking in terms of finding the right people is still important. However, it has become much easier to meet with someone across the Atlantic or Pacific. Instead of having to hop on a flight to see the latest and greatest developments, all you need do now is click a few buttons, send an invite, and suddenly you’re face to face with those people and developments via webconference.
Another thing that has improved drastically with the internet is the amount, and availability, of either OEM, OEM style, or aftermarket parts for pretty much any vehicle out there. In the days of Shelby, you often had to know the guy that knew the guy that knew the small company that made that one specific part you needed. And that guy was usually the one with the four inch thick catalogue of parts, and he or she had to know exactly which type of Mustang you had, with what options.
There is a counterpoint as well, that being the flooding of the internet with too many sources of parts. If you are looking for a head gasket for a Coyote V8 these days, you’ll get a hundred thousand and three results, all pointing to online retailers promising the best price, free shipping, buy now! And if you look for a guide on how to reseat a piston into that engine, you’re as likely to find a YouTube video that is professionally shot and done by an expert mechanic as you are finding one done by Billy Joe McEngineman with his smartphone camera.
So, as human nature tends to be, a solution has popped up.
Specialized Resource Websites
Everyone wants numbers in the modern age. How much power will this get me? How many stars did it get in this review? How much does it cost? What’s the delivery time look like? Numbers, numbers, numbers.
In the present, there are a whole slew of specialized websites out there for each and every type of car, bike, boat, or anything combining the three. Need to find an exhaust for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X? Carwrenching has a comprehensive guide finding the best exhaust for an Evo X. Need a set of headers and downpipes for your Mustang GT? Mountune Racing, a certified Ford Performance partner, has those and a variety of exhaust kits to go with them.
Those are just two examples of the hundreds, if not thousands, of websites out there that specialize in specific parts for specific vehicles. Want to know the official numbers for each year of the Mustang, what options were available, or even how many of a type were sold? Well, if you’re reading this, you’re already on one of the best sites for Mustang specifications.
It can even be argued, and hear us out on this, that YouTube could be considered a specialized resource website. The key with it is to filter out the wheat from the chaff. Find the videos that are made by people passionate about the car/truck/thing you are searching for, watch their videos, listen to their opinions, feel free to disagree with them. But if they are presenting it factually and providing knowledge about what you need to look for, that’s a valuable resource.
However, there is one key point that needs to be made about these specialized sites: Not all of them are in North America
Local Knowledge VS Worldwide Knowledge
While networking and the internet are both hugely valuable in finding parts for our beloved Mustang, there is always something about the human element of it all that makes it much more special. Referencing Mountune Racing, they’re based in Essex, in the UK. They have worldwide distributors, but for the average Mustang owner in America, it’s not exactly easy to just drive down to their headquarters and talk to the front desk guy.
There’s a reason that companies like Roush, Saleen, Shelby, Lingenfelter, Hennessey, and the like are all American based. The Mustang is America’s muscle car, and these companies are set up here specifically so they can gain that inside knowledge, that special invite to Ford’s research and development labs, and the like. They’re local.
While they may distribute their products worldwide, and have authorized retailers and mechanics all over the world, it all comes back to networking. Face-to-face conversations that can happen in real time sometimes convey more information in ten minutes than three months worth of emails could ever possibly hope to contain.
It’s the same when you go down to your local Mustang specialist, wherever you live. Almost every single one of them is passionate about the Pony, and if you ask them, they’ll probably chat your head off about the best bits to get. Of course, you’d have to order those parts from them or online, but they’ll know the best websites to get the best deals.
It’s funny, really, to look at how the internet has exploded. What was once a collection of a few thousand websites in the early 1990s is now a sprawling, interconnected network of nearly unlimited knowledge. Yet, despite using the internet to research parts, to look up videos of how to install them, to find the latest developments and read the latest reviews, it’s still the sharing of a passion, conveyed either with an analogue handshake or a digital click on the play button in the center of the video, that ties us all together as enthusiasts.
And that, if anything, is the power of the Mustang.