Car enthusiasm is a global cultural phenomenon that never runs out of ways to show appreciation for favorite models. Sometimes those ideas start from one thought, become increasingly twisted, and end up as a very different kind of horse than anyone expected.
Matthew Ungar, who lives in China and is a regular Jalopnik reader, was bicycling between Dongguan and Shenzhen when he spotted this unusual silhouette in front of an auto parts store. As he got closer, the car proved to be even stranger than the shape initially promised.
Ungar thinks that the basis of this homebuilt sportster may be some sort of Volkswagen. It's very hard to tell at this point; almost every body panel has been heavily modified. That's not tint on the windows; that's opaque sheet plastic. It's likely that those taillights are there just for decoration. That enormous intercooler? Your guess is as good as ours.
Whatever the platform, the original inspiration is as clear as the windshield banner and grille ornament: Someone who loves hot-rod Mustangs wanted to build a tribute to Ford's pony car. The end result is much more Mandarin than Mustang, but it's oddly endearing.
Ungar spent fifteen minutes examining and photographing the creation and has posted some remarkable pics (along with a few other interesting cars) in his blog's gallery.
Laugh if you want at this proud little project — and the clash between the shape and the labeling probably will take a bit of time to process — but it won't be long before China moves way beyond extended-wheelbase sedans and disposable Lamborghinis into its very own authentic take on auto culture. The potential and desire are already there.