Fast Fords are the Corvettes of Great Britain
Boomer owners, questionable fashion and cars that don't get driven. Yes that's right i'm directly comparing our beloved Fast Fords to America's sweetheart, but this has nothing to do with performance, racing pedigree or model lineage but instead a look at the same but different cults that surround them both.
As a bit of background the joke goes that Corvettes are the least driven car in the US, they are bought to be parked and eventually get sold when their owner dies. Don't believe me? Take a look at a few of these articles from the last few years:
It's not just car journalists picking up on this phenomenon, a quick look at owners forums reveal page after page of people wondering why these car's don't get driven. The truth is that no one knows the real reason, many say its due to owners being retired and not having anywhere to go, other say people just want to say that own one and a few have suggested that owners just don't care about driving them.
Now back across the Atlantic here in the UK the Corvette doesn't really have a huge following, you might see the odd one around but for our little island its maybe a bit too much to drive a big LHD car. Instead we have the Fast Ford, the bastion of the working man's performance car that showed you didn't have to spend a lot of money to go fast. The Fast Ford hasn't been around for as long as the Corvette but their following is just as large if not bigger, mostly thanks to a deep range of models that has gone from family saloons, sleek coupes, hot hatches and road rally cars.
Despite them being the more usable car it seems they have been inflicted with the same ailment of the Corvette, neglect through lack of driving, a crime that should be punishable by forced track day. Now admittedly there will be some owners out there who drive the wheels off their cars and really do enjoy them, but when was the last time you actually saw one being used properly? I'm betting you've seen more go through auctions than you have exit a junction sideways. Next time one of the big auction houses announces a sale just count how many fast fords are in there, I guarantee there will be at least 5 and they will all have covered next to no miles in the last 10 years.
A selection of recent cars that have come through the auctions show just how dire this issue is.
Covered 632 miles since 2006, that's 37 miles a year.
Covered 1333 miles since 2006, that's 78 miles a year average.
357 miles from new, for Christ sake its a Focus!
These are some of the more extreme examples of automotive neglect, but they set a damaging precedent that creates the idea that all Fast Fords are worth a fortune. This is where the rot sets in, once you've poured your life savings into your dream XR3i you immediately worry about its value and what it'll be worth in 5 years time. Instead you should be driving it, doing all the things your younger self would have done with a car that was out of their reach, but no here you are sat with a metal box in a garage that has a stranglehold on you and your savings.
When it comes to owners both have been tarred with a stereotypical meme culture brush that doesn't seem to go away. Corvette owners are allegedly all fans of New Balance trainers and Jorts and enjoy the art of boring people to death at car shows about how rare their specific car is.
When it comes to Fast Ford owners Top Gear led the charge by linking the Focus ST to Burberry's infamous "Chav Check", a pattern that was supposedly favored by society's unfavorable characters.
Fast forward 15 years and the younger generation of ST owners are now a whole meme subculture, partially thanks to what Top Gear started but also because of the infamous "pops and bangs" ecu tunes that seem to be the hottest thing to do to impress your mates.
Both views are a little unfair and yes they pick at the fringe of owners, but as the old saying goes there's no smoke without fire.
Personally I love both Corvettes and Fast Fords and I've met many lovely people who own both, this is an observation that intrigued me. There's hundreds of other car cultures that all lean in to stereotypes and become parodies of themselves but none are so closely linked like Corvettes and Fast Fords, its Chevy vs Ford all over again.