I have to admit, I’ve rarely been as personally disappointed in a feature of a new car than I am right now with this Mustang GT California Special. This car is the only car you can buy in America right now with this one particular feature, and, somehow, Ford managed to fuck it up. I’m so hurt and confused.


I’m hurt because I’ve always thought of myself as America’s leading proponent of this feature, the external indicator tattle-tale. Tattle-tales are insane little details to most people, fender or hood-mounted little indicator repeaters designed to show the driver that a given turn signal was blinking, without forcing the driver to crane his neck downwards and look at those miserable, mocking, blinking green arrows on the dashboard.

Tattle-tales were the way that a true connoisseur of turn indication preferred to be reminded and informed about the state of his precious turn signals, and I was delighted when Ford announced that the 2016 Mustang GT would be reviving the concept, with a modern version of the original Mustang’s optional “Deluxe Hood,” which featured a pair of wonderfully-designed tattle-tales.


So, when I took delivery of this bright red 2016 Mustang GT California Special convertible, I was eager to take it for a test drive, and really indicate the shit outta some turns. I knew that, as the only modern car to offer external tattle-tale indicator lights, the experience would have to be sublime.

Boy, was I wrong.

I got in the car and took off, eager to start being informed of my blinker status by gazing across that vast red expanse of hood. I got to my first turn, a left-hander, and was rewarded with the deeply satisfying image of that small amber rectangle blinking at me.


This, this is how you indicate a turn, I thought, the rhythmic clicking of the indicator keeping time with my beating heart.

Eagerly, I approached a right-hander, and pulled the indicator stalk up. I gazed out over the hood, ready to feel the warm glow of the tattle-tale pulse through my body, when a terrible realization hit me:

I couldn’t see the damn thing.

Panic. Bile pumped up in the back of my throat as my eyes scanned feverishly over the hood. The right-side hood crease, a pretty dramatically large styling cue, was completely blocking the indicator tattle-tale.


Completely blocked. I turned my head, I adjusted my seat height and distance, I raised my head up until it was touching the headliner – it was only if I was looking over the rear-view mirror that I could see the thing at all.


At this point, I was so consumed with rage and frustration that I drove off the road, onto a median, let the car stop by bumping into a tree, then flung myself out and vomited, lavishly, bitterly, and with the pain of a man betrayed.


Why would Ford do this to me? What would they stand to gain from my pain? For them to come so far, to offer the only tattle-tales in the industry, and then to fuck up the execution so badly—it made no sense.

How could they not have seen this? How could anyone testing the system not have noticed, hey, a full 50 percent of goddamn indicated turns are effectively invisible to the driver?


It’s almost as if this hood is just some gimmick to them, and they don’t really care about giving the driver the absolute best turn indication experience possible.


I’m sick with betrayal and rage. To think I was on the verge of awarding the Ford Mustang the coveted Torchinsky Award for Excellence And Innovation in Turn Indication—that’s right, the first and soon-to-be-coveted Torchy Award. Ford has used the Mustang as the test bed for all manner of advanced turn indication: they brought back sequential indicators, a brilliant move, and with their re-introduction of the tattle-tale, I was sure they had it locked up.

But now I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. Ford needs to make this right. They need to move the hood-mounted indicator tattle-tales closer to the windshield so that both are visible to the driver.


This mistake should never have been made. By offering these with so little attention to use or detail, this is telling the global turn indicator fetishist community that, despite teasing us, Ford is not really interested in our business.

I have no intent to return this press car in its current state. It’s downright dangerous: I almost rammed it into a crowd of people just from the rage it caused me. I’m making arrangements to have it crushed.


If anyone in the Turn Indication Department at Ford wishes to get in touch with me and propose a solution to this crippling problem, I’m willing to listen.

Until then, I’ll be rage-vomiting out back.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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