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Trading In A V8 Mustang For The 2021 Mustang Mach-E

Why this 70-something Mustang enthusiast and automotive technology expert made the plunge from V8 to EV. Why Mustang designer’s cousin chose the Mach-E for his next vehicle.

My friend Jim Halderman is a mentor in my life. We’ve worked on many projects together. We travel to auto shows in Detroit in and Chicago together and have for nearly 10 years now. I learn from his wealth of experience and his “miscellaneous useless information.”

Together, Jim and I collaborated on a book called Mustang by Design. It tells the story of the original Mustang from inside the design studio. Jim is the first cousin of Gale Halderman who was the main designer of the Mustang and worked 40 years at Ford.

Unfortunately Gale passed away this spring. But his friendship will not be forgotten. I remember Gale told me two years ago about this Mustang SUV he saw in the design studio. I asked him what he thought about that. He liked the look of it but thought it was different.

Of course Gale was talking about the Mustang Mach-E. Now, fast forward to the present day and his cousin Jim has ordered a 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT. And he even sold his 2012 V8 convertible Mustang GT to make room for it.

I wanted to pick Jim’s brain over this decision. There’s no one in the industry I respect more than him since he has decades of automotive experience both as an ASE certified mechanic and mostly as a retired automotive educator. He’s written 14 textbooks on automotive technology, so when I say he’s an expert, he’s an expert.

It was important to establish Jim as the knowledgeable, smart and automotive savvy guy he is before going into the Q&A with him about why he chose to buy a Mustang Mach-E which was just named a finalist for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.

2009 Ford Mustang GT convertibleQ: Tell me why you got rid of your V8 Mustang in favor of the Mustang Mach-E?

Jim Halderman: I had three vehicles and I thought it was time to downsize to two because there are just the two of us at home. I had the Mustang convertible for many years because I loved having something sporty especially having a six-speed manual transmission. I had replaced the very quiet stock mufflers with Mustang GT 500 mufflers which made it sound perfect. A little rumble and some nice sounds when accelerating but quiet on the road. The new Mustang Mach E was a natural change for me because my winter vehicle was already an SUV but a boring SUV. The Mach E GT has what I like about an SUV such as the higher seating position and cargo room, plus the added benefit of the instant and rapid acceleration of the electric drivetrain.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RedQ: Tell me what Mach-E you ordered?

Jim: I reserved a red Mustang Mach E GT. I wanted the fastest one available. The GT has a more powerful front motor compared to the other all-wheel- drive trim levels. I gave the local dealer the $500 deposit to reserve the GT. With the GT trim level, the only option I had at the time was color so I selected red for several reasons:

• I liked the color when I rode in a Mustang Mach E at the Chicago auto show in February. It was a nice red in my opinion as I am not a fan of the orange/red seen on many vehicles.
• I have had many black vehicles and I wanted a change.
• The red will be more visible than the black vehicle I have had previously which I think will be a safety factor as far as I am concerned

All of the options are included in the GT and all will have (at least during the introductory period) all black interiors. I like a fully loaded vehicle so this was a perfect match for me.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E chargingQ: Did you make any adaptations to your house in preparation for fast-charging?

Jim: In preparation for the electric vehicle (EV), I had an electrical contractor install a 220-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet to my garage. It has a 60-amp circuit breaker so I can charge the vehicle up to 48 amps. I purchased a Charge Point charger that is mounted on the garage wall and plugs into the outlet. It has a cord over 20 feet long so it can reach either vehicle in my two-car garage.

I calculated that it will cost me about $10 worth of electricity to completely “fill the tank”. That is a lot less than using gasoline to travel 200+ miles.

Mustang Mach-E logoQ: What do you think about those who say the Mach-E is not a Mustang?

Jim: Personally, I think that Ford should have selected another name for their electric vehicle but I can also see why they decided to call it a Mustang. It does have the styling and the performance of a Mustang and by adding black to the roof makes it appear to be a fastback. Gale Halderman, my first cousin who sketched the first Mustang, told me about two years ago that he saw a four door Mustang in clay at Ford and told me it “looked pretty good.”

I was 20-something years old when I purchased my first Mustang and now 50 years later, I am ordering another Mustang that meets my needs at this time. It is very practical, has great performance and will have over the air updates making it a truly connected vehicle.

Mustang Mach-E GT PerformanceQ: Your ordered the GT over the standard what was your reason for that?

Jim: I always try to purchase the highest trim level because let’s face it I like the “toys”. All of the options are included as part of the GT trim level. The GT also has a larger front motor giving it faster acceleration as well as the largest capacity battery.

Q: Will you add the recently announced Performance Edition to your GT?

Jim: No and the main reason is that the Performance package (PE) includes summer tires. Summer tires do provide increased handling but because of the rubber compounding (my son was a tire development engineer) means that they should not be used when the temperature is lower than 45 degrees. Because I plan on using the Mustang Mach E GT all year, I want high-performance all-season tires. I don’t think I could tell the difference in a couple of tenths of a second zero to 60 MPH so the standard GT is for me.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E charging at Chicago Auto ShowQ: As someone with a vast knowledge of automotive technology, what is it about EVs that interests you?

Jim: Why is an old guy (70 something) not the right age for a high-performance practical and economical vehicle? It is the perfect vehicle for all ages in my opinion. Flashback. When I delivered papers, I had a customer who had a Pontiac GTO. I asked him “Mr. Brown, what is a guy like you (white haired and retired) doing with a high-performance car?” He told me “I like beating high school kids at traffic lights”. I am turning into Mr. Brown.

Q: Did you consider any other vehicle, specifically the Tesla Model Y over the Mach-E?

Jim: Yes, I did consider most options including the Tesla Model X, 3 and Y. The Tesla Model Y is almost the exact same size and performance as the Mustang Mach E plus I get a $7,500 tax benefit by purchasing the Ford compare to a Tesla. Both offer access to high-speed chargers when traveling. Ford is offering free access for a few years to the Electrify America network of chargers which make travel easier. These level 3 charging stations are capable of charging the battery from 10% to 80% is about 40 minutes. Because they are usually located near shopping and restaurants, the charging is a perfect time to take a break and eat a meal while traveling.

Interior of 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-EQ: How was your ordering process and did you work with a dealer?

Jim: Very easy. Most do it online but I had questions so I visited my local Ford dealer and talked to the same salesperson who handled the purchase of my Mustang GT convertible eight years ago. That by itself tells you that the dealer is an excellent place to work if the sales staff is still there for many years. I used a credit card for the $500 to reserve my place for a Mustang Mach E GT in red.

Q: Last question, have you heard anything about when your Mach-E will be built/delivered?

Jim: It has been consistently stated that the GT trim levels will be “available late summer, 2021”.

V8 engine of 2012 Ford Mustang GT

This just goes to show there is not set demographic for the Mustang Mach-E and it’s certainly not a generational thing. Young and old will both be attracted to it and also be repelled by it. There will be those who want the visceral sound of a V8 and won't consider the quiet confident torque of an electric motor.

What do you think about Jim’s decision? Did he make the right choice? Leave me a comment below.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


Michael (not verified)    December 21, 2020 - 9:11PM

Putting a mustang logo on an SUV does not make it a mustang. Keep the Mach-E name but they need to drop the mustang name. And no I’m not saying the car is trash or crappy but the mustang was made to be the pony car, not an SUV.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    December 21, 2020 - 10:03PM

As you know, I am also not a fan of Ford using the Mustang name to sell their new EV crossover. But the Mach-E itself looks very competitive. Being a performance enthusiast I would get the GT Performance package and add snow tires for winter driving if I lived in a cold weather area. But I understand his point. Fun interview Jimmy. But now I'm expecting to read your follow up interview of Jim once he gets his new Mach-E GT. Nothing beats real world owner impressions of a car, especially a performance car.

Tom (not verified)    December 22, 2020 - 5:32PM

Doesn’t anyone from Ford realize that the name of this vehicle may be considered offensive? And I don’t mean “Mustang”.
The word “mockie” is a pejorative term for someone of the Jewish faith. I don’t think a religious slur is appropriate for a product.

Jimmy Dinsmore    December 23, 2020 - 1:31PM

In reply to by Tom (not verified)

From a Rabbi friend of mine: If I'm understanding it correctly, what the Mach-E sounds like is the Yiddish term "macher." (That sounds like "mocker," but with an H in the back of the throat, like the Ch in Chanuka.) A "macher" is a big guy, someone who gets things done, someone in charge. Usually the phrase is "a big macher," and that's a person who made a big donation, or who has enough juice politically or socially to evince change. I think the English equivalent would be a big muckety-muck. In Yiddish the word macher can be used to complain about someone who gets preferential treatment because of his or her status, but it can be thrown around lovingly or in jest too, as my mother did, "So, daughter, you're such a big macher now that you're on the Board at the temple, right?" That kind of thing.

Therefore, not a slur he's ever heard of. And pretty far fetched to make such a leap.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    December 22, 2020 - 10:57PM

Tom, I had to look the term up online to see if you were just joking or not. I have never heard Mokie/Mokey used ever in my life. Not in TV or movies, or real life. And being so amazingly obscure I wouldn't worry about Ford naming an electric crossover Mach-E. The original 1969 Mach 1 was named after supersonic speed, or objects traveling faster than the 767MPH speed of sound. This year Ford brought back the Mach 1 name for the sportier Mustang GT that replaced the previous Bullitt. The Mach-E makes sense, being the sporty Electric "Mustang".
Many car companies have to change the names of their cars in foreign countries because the names mean something else in a different language. Like the Nova, Kona, Jazz, Uno, Fit and others.

Matthew Richter (not verified)    December 23, 2020 - 1:16AM

To all who say it's not a Mustang: go look at the original Mustang concept. Two seat open sports car. The dreaded Mustang II of '74 was one of the best selling versions of all time! Over 380k units! According to that, a real mustang is an anemic 4 banger!

I have an AWD Performance extended range on orders and I have a modded 65 ragtop with a 5.0, Tremec five speed, Briggs Racing suspension and other bits. it's won car shows at the Nor Cal Shelby club. I know Mustangs..... I'm keeping that, but I'm happy to call the Mach-E a mustang. Heck, which of the big blocks could go 0-60 in 4.8 seconds? Um, none but maybe a Boss'9. The 1965 Shelby GT350 was about a seven second car.

Mach-E not Mustang? Red... Meet herring. It'll smoke most of them all. It's got the pony and the tri-bar tail lights. Great performance too. What else does it need?

Tim Gilles (not verified)    December 23, 2020 - 4:20PM

Nice article, Jimmy. I couldn't wait until next summer to check out the Mach-E, so I ordered a Model Y Tesla with the performance package. It is a rocket ship (0-60 in 3.7 seconds). Besides being loads of fun to drive (one-footed), the most important consideration for me was whether I fit comfortably in the car. I'm 6'6", so this is paramount. I'm always hemmed in by the console in most cars. I could not fit well in the Model S because of interference between my right knee and the center computer display screen. I was pleased to find out that Tesla has moved the screen further forward on the Y and that is what sold me.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    December 23, 2020 - 6:45PM

It's definitely not the Mach-E's performance that causes a conflict. It is simply the fact that it's a crossover. Porsche had similar image issues when they introduced the Cayenne in 2002. Porsche had made it's reputation on building sports cars and race cars, and the idea of a SUV/crossover was sacrilege for Porsche purists. Ironically the Cayenne (and later Macan) provided a HUGE cash infusion to Porsche so that they could stay in business, and later build cool supercars like the 918 Spyder. The key difference with Ford was that they called their new sporty EV a Mustang. That is like Porsche calling their new SUV a 911. That's the point that doesn't work for Mustang fans like me. Sure, this was done as a branding move, and similarly GM marketing goons also wanted to separate Corvette into a separate brand before, but cooler heads prevailed and they reinvented it as a mid-engine performance car. I would have been happy if they had a separate Mach-E lineup, and hopefully a real Mustang coupe and convertible with the EV drivetrain. Maybe they will go there in the near future, once they sell a ton of these sporty EV crossovers.

Jimmy Dinsmore    December 24, 2020 - 9:18AM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

Dean, I've heard this argument about Porsche and I don't really agree. Porsche is the company name, just like Ford. They created a new name for their crossover and SUV. They didn't call the Cayenne 911. I really don't think it would've been an issue if Ford had just called it the Mach-E or Model E (which they own the name to). I think Porsche fans would've been outraged if they had put the 911 name on a crossover similar to how some Mustang enthusiasts are upset with the Mustang name being used on a crossover.

Steven Rounds (not verified)    December 27, 2020 - 5:34PM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

You’re too hung up on the term “SUV” or CUV. The Mach-E is’s a hatchback. My current car (2016 Ford Focus RS) is the same. I’ve raced the RS against Mustang V8’s on the drag strip (quarter mile, not eighth) and on a track, and blown past all of the Mustang and Camaro V8’s. 2wd cars have a VERY hard time competing with AWD cars. The Mach-E will outpace your V8, unless you have a very long straight. In the corners, it will eat you alive (where torque is king). Does it look like an SUV to you? “The only constant is change”.

Jimmy Dinsmore    December 28, 2020 - 9:27AM

In reply to by Steven Rounds (not verified)

I have slowly grown to accept things. I am actually an AWD snob myself. I love vehicles to have AWD to grab onto the road, take turns fast. The worst thing (and in some way the best thing) to happen to the auto industry was the Fast N The Furious franchise. Now everyone thinks they can drift or should drift. It's hard and not safe to drift a car.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    December 24, 2020 - 10:22PM

Jimmy, we are in agreement. That is exactly what I was saying. Even though Porsche fans were upset, it would have been much worse if they had named the Cayenne the 911 Cayenne.