Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

by Jimmy Dinsmore 

A quick introduction as this is my first entry for The Gentleman Racer®. I’m a long-time automotive writer with a syndicated new vehicle review column. While I’m proud of that, I’m equally proud of my book Mustang by Design, which tells the story of the Ford Mustang from design inception through the eyes of the designer of the original Mustang, Gale Halderman.

By telling his story of his 40-year career, I became quite close to Gale. Unfortunately, Gale passed away last year, but his legacy lives on in the book and more impressively at his Museum where he turned his family’s barn into an homage to all things Mustang design. It’s located in Tipp City, Ohio, and should be a destination for Mustang enthusiasts and even car history buffs. 

Why the back story? Well, as part of my weekly car review, I was loaned the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Prior to this, standing up for the car community, I had been quite the vocal critic of the name Mustang being used on a crossover. But after driving it, my opinion was changed somewhat.

Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

But that’s only after driving the all-electric crossover on a road trip from my house in Cincinnati, Ohio to the Halderman Barn Museum. It’s about a 70-mile trip one way.

I picked up my friend and mentor Jim Halderman just south of Dayton, Ohio. Jim is actually Gale’s cousin and is also buying a Mach-E GT for himself. He and I have made many road trips together, but this was our first in an electric vehicle. Truth be told it was my first real seat time ever in an EV. I had driven a mile or two in a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Model S, but this was the first time putting miles on an EV. Range anxiety was looming over my head.

I was armed with the extended range battery that’s available in the 2021 Mach-E and that allotted me some additional mileage. With a full charge, the Mach-E was good for just over 200 miles. Having picked up Jim, my range anxiety was still full-blown as I watched the miles tick away to the left of the odometer.

While driving up I-75 we got plenty of glances from people who acted as though they spotted a unicorn in the wild. In some ways they had, as the rollout of the Mustang Mach-E has been slow and methodical. 

Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

I switched from Unbridled mode (which is the best mode by far for the Mach-E) to Whisper mode to determine the difference. I’m told by Ford that there are no performance differences between the two modes, and it’s only related to the artificial sound that’s piped in for Unbridled mode. But, on the highway, Whisper mode felt less aggressive but more refined. Never had I been in a quieter vehicle or a smoother one. It felt as though we were gliding, not rolling on wheels.

We arrived at the Halderman Barn Museum with one goal solely in mind. To get THE SHOT. On the side of the Barn is a giant Mustang logo. The museum regularly hosts car shows and is a Mecca for Mustangers who want to get their car with that backdrop.

I wanted to be the first Mach-E to get that shot. Gale’s daughter Karen, who curates the museum now that Gale has passed on greeted us and was impressed with the Mach-E. She owns a 2019 Mustang GT with a 5.0 V8. 

Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

I took Karen for a ride in the Mach-E to show off the instantaneous torque. She had heard plenty of good and bad about the much-maligned Mach-E and I think after I drove her around she was impressed. She did say, however, that it wasn’t Mustang.

The #NotAMustang crowd has their opinion and the right to it. It’s easy to reject a four-door crossover Mustang. It’s certainly not a muscle car or a pony car, no matter what emblem you put on it. But one thing is for certain, it definitely drives like a Mustang in that the 2021 Mach-E is fast, torquey, and fun to drive.

Taking the Mach-E On Road Trip To Mustang History

Having interacted with so many Mustang enthusiasts I know how passionate they are about their beloved car. The Mustang is an icon. The Mach-E is not an icon. It probably never will be. But it’s a super important vehicle for Ford Motor Company. The road trip up to the museum, which is full of Mustang history was really cool for me. It was like a trip through time. From Gale’s sketch that became the 1964 ½ Mustang to the #NotAMustang Mach-E.

Gale Halderman isn’t around, but he had seen an early version of the Mach-E before he passed and he told me he liked what he saw. Gale said the number one thing a Mustang must be is fun to drive. The Mach-E has that in spades. My 175-mile road trip showed me that and frankly won me over about the Mach-E. There was no range anxiety. There was only fun, technology, and torque. Who can’t get on board with that?

Is the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E a Mustang? That’s not for me to say. Take a drive, a long drive, and you’ll likely form your own Unbridled opinion.