Because Fr. Dwight Longenecker Is Wrong UPDATED

What the Sam Hill are you talking about Frank? How dare you say one of the favorite priests of the faithful is wrong about anything! Well, I remember a week or so ago folks were digging how to be a jet-powered, human dolphin. As if that would be a cool present to receive for Christmas. Humbug! How about something a little more practical? Like “cheap speed!”

Here’s the thing. Early in November, Father Dwight wrote a blog post about “Boomer Cars” resulting in us becoming Facebook friends. Sometimes this works out well, sometimes not. I’m saying that it has worked out well, except in one teeny, weeny, little department: he’s prejudiced… about cars. I mean, and trust me, I love Fr. Dwight like a “Father” and all, but he thinks the Chevrolet Camaro is better than the Ford Mustang. So I did the only thing that I could do.

I called him a heretic.

Don’t make me make an obvious religious analogy. Because, you see, the Ford Mustang is the original “Pony Car.” Lee Iacocca’s brainchild spawned the whole “Pony Car” category of muscle cars. Without the Mustang, there wouldn’t have even been “cheap” speed available to the motoring public. Besides, Chevrolet already had the Corvette, which, for the price, beats the pants off of any other sports car just about the world over, both then and now.

But I’m talking “cheap,” Joe Six-Pack affordable, speed. And that is where the Mustang shines. You say, “Frank, you are just biased because you own a Mustang.” And I say to you, “of course I do. Because it’s the original and the best.” And mine helped make me a Catholic too, in a mechanical, minor-miraculous, sort of way. But like Blaise Pascal said,

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.

So Fr. Dwight? Discover what looking at the Mustang’s tail lights at the end of the quarter mile feels like. Discover what the braking distances show. Discover what the road course lap times, and skid-pad numbers conclude. Did I mention discovering “power-to-weight ratios?” Heck, I’ll even throw in that overweight slug of the Dodge Challenger into the comparison in order to give your Camaro SS some (much needed) help.

The good editors at Motor Trend do all the heavy lifting for me on this one. Basic 5.0 GT Mustang (no, not the new Boss 302, or the Shelby GT 500 Camaro crushers) vs. the Camaro SS & the Dodge Challenger SRT8. Want to bet “pink slips” anyone?

Hmmm. I had also showed Fr. Dwight this old story of a one-off Godzilla Mustang vs. a bespoke Camaro (call it Rhodan) in which the Mustang won in 2 out of three categories, but he still didn’t “get it.” And when I shared the story with him that the wonderful folks at Ford plan on producing a Mustang that puts out over 650 horsepower? He still had scales over his eyes! Do you think showing him that the new Mustang came within the width of a hair on my head of beating a BMW M-3 in a comparison test would make a difference?

All I can say is…pray for him folks. Pray hard, for he probably thinks his motorcycle is faster than these cars. And remember, “hate the heresy, but love the heretic.” ;)

*Disclaimer time: Drive responsibly. If you race, do so under controlled conditions at the Street Legal drags in your area; or join a club that lets you drive fast on a racetrack, or take up autocrossing. But you can keep that dolphin jet-pack thingy.

UPDATE (10/6/2012): Let’s revisit this and take it up a notch.

The 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang can go 200 miles per hour?! You can’t do that on the 405. But guess where you can?

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And what about the Battle of the Top Dawgs? This one may make Fr. Dwight smile, but not after he lost his pink slip. Brake upgrades? It’s what Mustang enthusiasts do in their driveway on a Saturday afternoon. Randy Pobst knows.

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And how about this? “It was like watching Secretariat win the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths to take the Triple Crown in 1973…This is a performance so ungodly that the Vatican should launch an investigation.”

Yep. :D

  • Craig

    Love the Mustang. Love the Camaro.


    ’70 Cuda FTW!


    • Frank Weathers

      The Hemi Cuda? Practically “unobtainium.” I have to admit though that I love the fact that the Camaro came in third place. ;)

    • Kathy

      I agree Craig! Had one, they had to take it away, too many tickets :)

  • Nancy Larrick

    Now Frank, don’t you know that Father Knows Best? LOL! (Sorry- my husband works for Chevrolet.)

    • Frank Weathers


  • Magister Christianus

    I cannot wait to follow these links and watch that video when I have time later today. I have to agree with you, though. The ‘Stang is the original. And may I just add its cinematic credentials? Can anyone say “Bullitt?” Or how about its screen debut in nothing less than the iconic “Goldfinger?” More to say later.

    • Frank Weathers

      I like the way you think, MC. And how ’bout the Hertz Shelby GT-350 that James Garner tools around in in the classic gear-head film, Grand Prix? But yeah, Bullit is the ultimate sighting of Velocitus maximus. And don’t forget to watch Randy Pobst wring that Mustang to within one tenth of a second of the BMW M3 at Willow Springs. Righteous!

  • Mary Eshelman

    You are totally right Frank!!! The Pony is the best hands down! I was born in 64 and my first memory of riding in a car was in a 1965 Honey Gold convertible and I’ve been hooked ever since! (doesn’t hurt that my Dad worked for Ford for 45+ years) Poor Fr. Dwight, he just doesn’t understand the obvious….maybe he needs to take a ride in a classic Mustang, then he’ll see how wrong he’s been!!

  • Christian

    OK, I’ve had a 1988 Mustang LX 5.0L 5-speed; a 1989 Firebird Formula 5.0 TPI 5-spd (, and now a 2002 Z28 5.7L Hurst 6-spd. All bought new.

    When my family needed a bigger car in 1993 one of the ponies had to go. I sold the Mustang. It was no contest. But also irrelevant to today.

    As far as I’m concerned, both of today’s ‘ponies’ are pigs, as are most cars lately. I like my 10 year-old Camaro better than either of them (or the Challenger).

    But until I drive them….it’s just my opinion.

    • Frank Weathers

      Denial…it’s not just a river in Egypt. The Camaro may be a pig, but the Mustang? Did you watch Randy Pobst flinging it around Willow Springs and coming within a tenth of a second of the BMW M3?

      Christian…I love you, man, but don’t make me send you some smelling salts. ;)

      • Christian

        3616 lb = PIG

        A nimble pig? Yes.

        • Frank Weathers

          Think of what a de-contented Cobra R-like (1995) version of this baby would weigh. Easily hundreds of pounds less.

          I pulled a bunch of weight off of mine. Even with welded on subframe connectors and roll bar, my convertible is 3400 lbs, which is porky, but you know about convertibles weighing more. And this is with torque arm/ panhard bar modifications to the live rear axle (far removed from the four link Fairmont setup on your ’88).

          That’s just another reason why I call mine the “Evergreen Mustang.”

  • John Borkowski

    Growing up, my folks had all sorts of cool cars. ’50 Ford, a few Alfa Romeo Spyders. My favorite was mom’s daily driver. 1966 Mustang convertible. The original “K” car, as it was a 289 HP Mustang, with the “k” in the vin.

    Loved that car! I was heart broken when they sold it at the tender age of 13.

    They were making room for a Jaguar XJS…

    bah humbug

  • Magister Christianus

    Okay…just read the comments and finally watched the video after a day of giving/grading final exams. When the guy in the video referenced Frank Bullitt and then let us listen to the engine, I actually squealed sitting there in my classroom. I do not like the look of the Camaro and am glad it came in 3rd. It just does not work aesthetically. The Challenger, for looks and sound, is a bad mamma jamma, and I am happy it came in 2nd. While I would not choose silver for my ‘Stang, there is just something about the 1964 1/2-1968 coupe, the 1965-1968 Fastback, the 1969 and 1970 Bosses, and the 2004 and onward models that is just…OH YEAH!

    I am not a gearhead in terms of being able to work under the hood, but I love the Speed network and I love looking at and driving cars. Our son, age 11, and I have quite the collection of miniature Mustangs and models, but, alas, we do not own one. Our daughter, age 6, has a pink battery-operated Mustang named…wait for it…Sally. One day when I grow up, I hope to have one. Either that, or help our son get one.

    I would say, however, with regard to John, that I love Jags, and that would be my luxury car of choice. The 80′s hair band Whitesnake reference the XJS in their song “Kitten’s Got Claws” off their 1989 album. “No matter what you put me through, I must confess/You got more style than a brand new XJS.”

    Of course, referencing pop culture once again, can there be a better muscle car song than “Mustang Sally?”

    Thanks for starting this enjoyable discussion, Frank!

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    “All I can say is…pray for him folks. Pray hard, for he probably thinks his motorcycle is faster than these cars. And remember, “hate the heresy, but love the heretic.”

    ;)”>Great article, Frank. I took my brother’s ‘Stang out once (dk green; have an awesome pic of it somewhere, can’t remember year; late 60s, early 70s) … ONLY once because he NEVER let me drive it … and I got a speeding ticket that ONE time … one of only two, maybe three, in my 40+ years of driving …

  • Laurie

    The camero goes vroooooom!!! :) 76 best year :)

    • Frank Weathers

      Ahem, I think, if memory serves me correctly, 1976 was one of the worst years...for everything. ;)