In case you've been living under a rock the last couple days, Ford has a new Mustang, which finally has independent rear suspension, and an efficient 4-banger mill option, and aggressive new looks, and blah, blah, blah. We know this'll sound like sour grapes, but big whoop; we think as most of our readers know, Japanese brands have been offering these features in rear-wheel drives (RWD) for years, often in packaging that is timelessly stylish and modestly priced.
Yeah, the new Ford has the media buzzing. But we're here to ask, what took the Blue Oval so long?
As a counterpoint to the 2015 Mustang frenzy, here are five front engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) stunners that out-cool the pony car, from any generation, on any day.
Toyota AE86 Corolla
This classic from the mid-1980s is doubtlessly boxy and a bit frumpy but infinitely cool for its connection to tuning, drifting and its roots in Japan. Plus the chassis is super forgiving; sure, it's a "momentum" car, but there's nothing better to learn to slide.
Sold in America from 1989-98, 240s are far and away the most flexible low-buck RWD ever created. S13 and S14 chassis aftermarket parts are exceedingly plentiful and continually growing, including those to swap in General Motors LS V8s to turn the cars into beasts.
The pinnacle of Mazda's rotary obsession was arguably the FD version of the RX-7, produced from 1992 to 2002; it offered high-revs and sleek lines. While the only car on this list that's not an FR (it's technically a mid-front engine RWD), this purest of sports cars is close enough, flossing rear drive wheels and a mill in front of the firewall.
Engineers built the chassis to take track abuse, but the platform made from 1999 to 2009 has proven to be just as lethal on the show scene. It's also another high-rapping screamer.
Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
Probably what Ford was aiming for in terms of visceral visual impact, the car introduced in 2012 makes FR cool for a new generation. Rakish on the outside, under the hood is this list's only boxer-4, adding to the others' inline-4s and Wankel.