I enjoy marvels of engineering as much as the next fellow, but sometimes it's important to realize that not every facet of the weird car world was driven by different engineering ideas. Sometimes, a car's creation was driven by…er…can we blame this one on the '70s?
As I was flipping through another of my World Cars books, this time the 1976 edition, I noticed an automaker called Phaeton that makes both the Princess Limousine, a Continental styled to look like a Mark IV and the Wild Deuce Sports Convertible, a car that can best be described as optimistic.
Optimistic because, well, just look at it! Is it a Datsun-ized Mustang II? Or was the car exaggerated in order to look like a knock-off Matchbox version of the Mustang II? The enthusiast resource mustangii.net says that the car was made by the Dallas, Texas firm Phaeton Coach, an appearance package no doubt sold directly to dealers as an affordable "halo" car—or something ideal for a flamboyant pool shark.
- Eight hundred and fifty dollars got you:
- Hood and nose extension
- Rectangular dual headlamps
- Custom rear spoiler
- "Energy-absorbing" bumper extension
- "Wild Deuce" emblems and decals
Mustangii.net writes that, "For an extra $100 you could get color-keyed custom racing stripes as well." Oh boy!
But that's just what I was able to dig up on the Internet. Like I said, I first saw this car in World Cars, where it states that the car was also given a "heavy-duty" suspension and "reinforced frame member roof," both of which added 82 kg (182 lbs) to the otherwise stock Mustang II. Oh, and it sits 25 cm (10 in) longer, too.
What I want to know is: what socio-economic activity was happening in Dallas, Texas, in 1974 for this car to look like a good idea. A glam'd up but slower Mustang II? Were they for downsizing oil executives, pawn shop owners, moderately successful disco club owners…? My favourite theory is that it's what a younger version of Paul Newman's character The Color of Money would have bought for himself after winning his first major billiards tournament.
As coachbuilt.com notes, the company's bread-and-butter were its executive limousines—so maybe the Wild Deuce was a cheap "gift" car that an executive could give to his young bride, disenfranchised children, or sharp secretary.
Anyway, here it is: the "Wild Deuce"—be happy you're one of the few who know about this folly.