aside postSeems obvious, doesn’t it?

Mystery Mule

I’m going out on a ledge here but I submit this mule isn’t even a GM product.

A couple weeks back my Italian buddy Paolo (aka PaoloGTC) sent me an email with some old spy pictures attached. We’re both big fans of 1980s era covert test car images and he’s collected many from what he described as the two biggest automotive magazines in Italy, at that time, Quattroruote and Gente Motori.

Mystery mule

This is the original photo sent from PaoloGTC.

The image was in a group of undated pictures, some of which he’d asked me to help identify (as with American magazines, Italian outlets sometimes erred or were at a loss as to what they were looking at). Some of the shots were challenging but when I got to this one, titled “Pontiac,” I confidently wrote, “Grand Prix” and moved on to the next. But something didn’t settle right.

I wrote again, a couple days later, telling him that I had likely gotten it wrong and no longer believed it to be a GM product—possibly a Thunderbird. His (translated) reply was priceless, “I’ll be back about your Pontiac-Thunderbird theme. It’s quite strange for me, I have to admit. That is not a Pontiac bumper?? When you have a bit of time, can explain to me why do you think that? I’m quite upset!!”

1989 Ford Thunderbird LX

A 1989 Ford Thunderbird mule is the car that I think was caught in that photograph.

Before the pitchforks and torches are mustered, hear my case.

Grand Prix - Thunderbird - mule compare

1) points to a false hood line (dotted) and the apparent true line; 2) the purple highlight presents the only serious hole in my Thunderbird theory, however, the wide B-pillar does not correlate with Grand Prix (or Chevy Beretta) either; 3) the green highlights indicate falsified window lines; 4) the orange highlight points to an apparently falsified trunk height; 5) points to discrepancies between the fronts of the mule and Grand Prix; 6) discrepancies with the A-pillar, side mirror and door handle; 7) discrepancies with the lower sill, size of the rear side window and rear fender/bumper dimensions.

Overkill? Possibly. I’m open to correction as it’s possible I’ve got it wrong, again.