good motoring
 The Mustang is coming
H. Kishie Singh

Ford is bringing the Mustang to India, a right-hand drive. It was a wonderful news that warmed the cockles of my heart. In its 50-year-old history, the Mustang was a left-hand drive car because it was made for the US market. Americans drive on the right. All Commonwealth countries (read ex-colonies) drive on the left, except India. In India, we drive in the centre of the road.

What is it with keeping left or keeping right? In days goneby, when a gentleman walked arm-in-arm with his lady love, he offered his left arm to the lady because his scabbard was on the left. When he drew his sword with his right hand, he was free to slash at his opponent.

Mounting a horse was from the left. He rode on the left so that his sword-arm would have a wide sweep. Keeping left meant he had to dismount on the left. Dismounting from the right meant he would be standing in the middle of the road.

Around the 1700s, farmers in Europe began hauling their goods to the market in wagons. The wagons were hauled by four animals. The wagon did not have a driverís seat, so the driver sat on the rear-most horse on the left. His right arm was free to swing the whip.

Since he sat on the left (and had no ORVM.), he preferred to be passed on the left. So he kept to the right. There was a problem here, especially in France. The right-hand side of the road was used by the peasantry. The space on the left was for nobility, (red beacons had not been invented at that time). During the French Revolution, many nobles lost their heads (literally), the survivors came to their senses and became aam aadmi. They decided to walk on the right to keep a low profile. This was a boost to "keep right". Why do Americans drive on the right? Maybe everyone was left-handed and wore their swords on the right. That is just one theory. Definitely, the early European settlers brought their customs which may have a bearing on "keep right". Whatever be the genesis of this custom, the fact is that Americans drive on the right and all their cars have the steering wheel on the left.

That was what the Mustang was all about. All American and it became one of the greatest American icons. Lee Iacocca (i-a-coke-ah!) is hailed as the father of the Mustang. Iacocca left an indelible imprint on the auto industry on how to design, build and market a car. In its first two years of manufacture, the Mustang generated a profit of $1.1 billion for Ford. The Mustang appeared simultaneously on the cover of Newsweek and Time. Mustang also brought out a special model, the Corvette Killer. Carol Shelby Cobra 350 G.T. Again, one of the most ionic cars to come out of Detroit.

An amazing car, in looks, in performance, prestige and street presence. Fast-back shape, jet black with a broad gold stripe that ran from the nose to the rear bumper. Awesome! I should know. I owned one! Happy Motoring!