Issue Dec 2006 – Jan 2007
There we were, two middle age boaties, charging up the Broadwater in a very distinctive fire engine red Mustang with an exhaust note that would do any offshore racer proud. Bill Fankhauser, who operates Mustang Marine at Runaway Bay and I were fanging it hard across the open water! The workmen on the building site at Ephram Island literally downed tools to watch as we swept past – we were loving it. You’ve probably guessed by now that this was no ordinary Mustang – it was an MPV 3000. And you’re right, MPV stands for Mustang Performance Vessel.
Holden did it originally with their V8s, so why not do the same with a boat ? It was Bill’s idea, he had some help from Ken Blunt who markets HSVs in New Zealand, and the boys at the Mustang factory here on the coast reckoned it was a good idea too. The result is the Mustang MPV 3000 and for all those Holden enthusiasts (sorry about Bathurst) who are about to cry foul, Mustang boats have nothing to do with Ford, even if the logo looks familiar.
The Mustang MPV 3000 is a very special boat, it’s a limited edition and only 10 will be built for the Australasian market.
The boat’s based on the Mustang 3000 hull and has the same basic fit-out in the cockpit and down below. The cockpit upholstery has been given a sporty look with perforated inserts and red piping in the seats. The sound system has been upgraded with bigger speakers and a subwoofer. Funnily enough we didn’t try the sound system out, the exhaust note was more than music to our ears. The Corsa sports exhaust leaves no doubt that this is a performance machine. Corso euphemistically calls the system a silent option. There is nothing silent about it, even with the muffler system switched on. The exhaust note goes from a satisfying throaty rumble to a full roar at the flick of a switch. Some of the vee has been taken out of the hull, but there is still about 20 degrees of deadrise at the stern. Which, as we were to find out later, was a good move. And the hull comes in any colour you want.
The dash is in a half round shape with analogue gauges. A Navman digital system could have been fitted but the analogue gauges give it a sporty look and feel. Steering is power assisted and the DTS throttle, as always, was a delight to use.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
A single MerCruiser 496 MAG, 425hp, high output inboard with a Bravo III leg spinning a couple of 22in props power the MPV. For a heavy boat, around four tonnes, it was up on the plane in 5.9 seconds and will sit on the plane around 14 knots.
The driving position is good sitting or standing; most people will probably opt to stand up to drive, if you do, invest in a pair of Barz goggles or something similar, because you will find that you will soon part company with your ordinary sunnies. The best cruising speed was 25 knots at 3400rpm, but at wide open and trimmed up to about half on the gauge, the GPS recorded 34 knots with the rev limiter screaming enough at 5000rpm. Bigger props will make the boat go faster but 34 knots is about as fast as you want to go on the Broadwater. It is just under the 40-knot speed limit and it’s a speed that won’t attract attention from the boys in blue or other regulatory bodies.
Rest assured the Mustang MPV 3000 will attract attention. It’s a boat that loves to be thrown about and it won’t get you into too much trouble if you get too enthusiastic. If the driver gets too carried away it’s an extremely forgiving boat and if the turn is overdone the back breaks out and the boat just stops. It’s a result of some of the vee being taken out of the original hull (I mentioned earlier) and serves as a good built-in safety factor.
Bill explained that when he thought of the idea he was thinking outside the square. He sees it as a boat for people who want to get away from the normal white hull and blue covers look. Now you would think that this boat would appeal to the younger set. Not so, apparently. There’s been strong interest from an unlikely source, middleage couples – especially the ladies – the spending the kids’ inheritance brigade.
The test MPV 3000, which is the first out of the mould, comes with a full tonneau cover and a bimini can be mounted from the Targa, clears could be fitted, but then the whole thing would lose its sporty image. As Bill summed it up: “It’s a good alternative to buying a Harley Davidson motorbike as you spend the kid’s inheritance”.
A MerCruiser 496 MAG, 245hp inboard with a Bravo III leg powered the MPV. Twin V6 MerCruiser inboards are an option. They up the horsepower to 440hp for a little under the price of the 496.
Fitted with a five-blade stainless steel prop, the 230 returned the following speed-to-rpm figures.
Words : Kevin Wolfe