Why No Saaaafety Exemption for The Little People?

You may have caught my article about the brand-new 1960s Mustangs you can legally buy – upgraded in all the right places but left alone everywhere else.

They have modern, fuel-injected engines, high-capacity four-wheel-disc brakes and modern suspensions that make them the equal – or better – of a brand-new (2019) Mustang not only in terms of performance but also everyday driveability, low maintenance and long-haul durability, too.

Also their emissions – which are as low as the new Mustang’s and so Uncle-approved.

But they haven’t got any of the other stuff Uncle has been mandating since the 1960s that may have made cars more crashworthy but also less beautiful and individual. No air bags homogenize the steering wheels; no federally-approved bumpers mar the classic lines of these reborn Mustangs – which look exactly like the originals because they are original.

Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $50.00 (as of 07:45 EDT - Details) It’s the same sheetmetal, just newly stamped – fully authorized by Ford – and allowed by Uncle.

This is fine – but also not-so-fine because it’s effectively an exemption for the rich only.

These Mustangs – and a few other similar models, all of them reproductions of classic cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s – are priced well over six figures, chiefly because the exemption is granted for a very small number of vehicles (no more than 500 in a year).

The cars are hand-built to the nth degree of detail and fastidiousness. But the real reason for the high cost is  . . . the high cost. Building a small handful of cars for sale means you can’t exploit economies of scale. Every low-volume car is an expensive car, almost by definition. The manufacturer has to make a lot of money on each car because he’s only selling a few cars. A manufacturer of lots of cars, on the other hand, can make just a few bucks on each car and still make a great deal of money.

The best historic example of this is, of course, the Model T Ford – which sold for less with each new model year because Ford was selling more of them each year.

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