One of the things that we love at Aerial Collective is that we have the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and hear their stories. We discover what has led them to embark on their adventure above the clouds, and have the privilege of seeing that dream fulfilled.
Not every story, however, is of someone taking to the skies. One such case is that of Paul Ralphs, who a year ago made a very special purchase… a Ford Mustang called Zyggy. Paul has always had a passion for cars and aeroplanes, and it got him thinking: what if a Ford Mustang could meet a P-51 Mustang?
Here is his story…
“Back in 1972, my late father was serving in the R.A.F. He was posted to R.A.F Cosford (an RAF / USAF Sculthorpe base in Norfolk). My interest in cars at that time consisted of Morris Marinas, Minis, Ford Cortinas and VW Beetles. Then some of the American servicemen stationed at the base shipped over their cars to the UK, and that was when I caught my first glimpse of a Ford Mustang.
I was so in love with it that I took it upon myself to ‘volunteer’ to clean the car every Sunday morning. This consisted of a hose down, warm wax and chamois dry, all for the reward of 25p; just the right amount to buy a Scorcher and Score comic and enough Bazooka Joe bubble-gum to last me all week. With the release of films like Bullitt and Gone in 60 Seconds, my fascination continued to grow.”
54 years later…
“I chose the car, a Ford Mustang 5 litre GT V8 450 BHP and my partner Tracey chose the colour: Grabber Blue. I had the stripes added along with a larger navigation screen and upgraded hi-fi. The number plate gave us the perfect name; Zyggy.
Taking inspiration from aircraft cockpit design, the Mustang delivers a thrilling drive. All the important controls are within easy reach, with aircraft-style toggle switches. The gear lever is perfectly placed with short shifts between gears, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel feels just right in your hands.
The 5.0 litre V8 engine delivers 450bhp on an epic scale, but the number fails to convey the endless power delivery that results in such flexibility, with a throaty growl that provides the soundtrack to every drive.
The Mustang comes with electronic chassis calibration and four driver selectable modes – wet, normal, sport and track – which govern throttle response, steering effort and stability to suit different driving conditions.
The look may say new, but its soul is pure Mustang; strong sidelines with wide shoulders, a noticeable set of haunches, and a racked roofline that combine for a powerful muscle car look.
The new Mustang changes the way we see things, but it’s a presence you can’t ignore.”
We certainly think that’s true, and when Paul got in touch with us to see if we could arrange for his Mustang to meet P-51 Mustang Miss Helen, we had to say yes. With the two powerhouses together side by side, you could really see the evolution of John Najjar’s initial Ford Mustang design in every curve, offset perfectly by the elegant bearing of Miss Helen’s outstretched wings.
Many thanks to Paul Ralphs for letting us share his story.
Words: Hannah Juggins