Sam Philip29 July 2009

When is a Mustang not a Mustang?

When it’s a NASCAR Mustang, that’s when. Ford does bad things to its classic muscle car name…

NASCAR Mustang

Led by our muscle car devotee Richard Hammond, we love the Ford Mustang here at Top Gear.

So when news reached us that the Mustang was off racing in the US, it's fair to say we got a bit excited. The phrase ‘yee-haw' may even have been uttered, for which we apologise.

And then we saw this, the 2010 NASCAR Ford Mustang. Oh. Now, we know that NASCAR rules specify that manufacturers are limited to sticking near-stock plastic bodies over a fat V8 engine, but still - why call it a Mustang?

We know, we know, to generate a few sales. But this is no damn Mustang, Ford. What would Steve McQueen think?

Though the Mustang name is one of the most successful in Stateside motorsport - think of all those gorgeous Shelby racers from the 60s - this is the first time a ‘Mustang' has ever raced in NASCAR. It will compete in a limited number of races next year before an expected full campaign in 2011.

But it's still not a Mustang. However, this gives us an idea. Since all NASCAR, er, cars look more or less identical, what's the most ridiculous nameplate you could foist upon one? We love the idea of the Toyota iQ doing battle with Ssangyong Rodius around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway...

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