There’s a memorable episode of Alan Partridge where the eponymous radio show host becomes increasingly exasperated by a Liverpudlian named Tex (Terry) who gets his Dr Pepper from the cooler, manworships John Wayne and calls his lone pick-up truck ‘Convoy’.
For the past half a century, buying a Ford Mustang in this country has come with the same Route 66 ‘he likes American things’ whiff. Most people, I’m sure, will have filed the distant icon into the same ambivalent head space that includes baseball, bull riding and pumpkin pie.
For much of that time, Ford did little to counter the sentiment. Almost immediately, the original ‘pony’ car concept (an American descriptive fraught with peril) was reborn as the Capri – a significant success in its own right. The Mustang itself remained a million miles away, its status an apparent quirk of Hollywood, longevity and mountainous sales volumes.
The model’s limited re-emergence in recent years has hardly softened the ground, either. The previous generation, as decent as it was, hardly dispelled the notion that it remained too big, too thirsty and, yes, too unsophisticated for an Anglo-Saxon sensibility set permanently to wry. Its ‘over there’ reputation has hardly been enhanced by the repeat experience of good-naturedly climbing into one only to find the pedals mounted ‘over there’ in the passenger’s footwell.
Fixing that, of course, like staging an NFL game at Wembley, is representative of the sixth generation’s first mighty stride into wider buyer affection. The Mustang is global now, Limey – and it’s got the independent rear suspension to prove it.
Precisely what that means is the reason why, in a fog so sumptuously thick that even air traffic control has bent to its will, we’ve congregated on the eastern tip of the Peak District.