As the 50th year of the Mustang winds down, the mythos surrounding the car shows no sign of doing the same. The documentary, “A Faster Horse” from director David Gelb, chronicles the inception and subsequent reign of this American automotive icon. This 90 minute offering, which can be found on Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube, shows just how much pressure the automotive engineers are under when trying to design a new Ford Mustang, which always evokes such strong emotional reactions from enthusiasts who seem to have definite notions of just what is and what is not considered a Mustang. Ideas that were quickly and harshly shot down in 1994, such as the rear-wheel-drive and 4-cylinder engine, prove just how passionate fans of the Ford Mustang can be, as this movie illustrates using a clip of an angry mob from the movie “Frankenstein”.
The film does a great job capturing the feeling of the country and it’s consumers during the time when the first Mustang was introduced and it is amazing to consider all of the factors that had to converge to make the launch of this car the huge success that it turned out to be. Interviews from chief engineer David Pericak and chief technical officer Tom Barnes provide rare insight into the mindset of those who are responsible for continuing the tradition of this American and now global institution, while footage of the headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan provide impressive access to day to day operations of this manufacturing giant. The film also does a fine job conveying the social impact the Ford Mustang has had on American culture, using clips from classic Mustang movies such as “Bullitt” and “Gone in 60 Seconds”, which, as noted in the documentary, gave the Mustang “instant street cred”.
Also found in “A Faster Horse” is some great old footage and insight into the lives of Henry Ford, Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca, whose very public firing from Ford in 1978 had tremendous implications on the future of the automotive industry for years to come. Overall this film is a wonderful look inside the way Mustangs are imagined and designed from clay figures to the modern pieces of “rolling art” we see on the highways and is a must watch for any fan of the Mustang or cars in general.