Me and my car: Modified Ford Mustang convertible an American beauty

Dr Felix Li bought the Ford Mustang convertible in 2017 and he installed scissor doors and replaced the original blue accents with red ones.
Dr Felix Li bought the Ford Mustang convertible in 2017 and he installed scissor doors and replaced the original blue accents with red ones.PHOTOS: KONG YONGYAO

Aesthetic practitioner Felix Li waxes lyrical about his modified Ford Mustang convertible

The white Ford Mustang convertible, emblazoned with red racing stripes stylised to evoke the Singapore flag, is hard to miss.

Its owner, the equally well-dressed 34-year-old aesthetic practitioner Felix Li, greets me with enthusiasm.

"I fall in love with it all over again every single day," Dr Li says of his ride, which he describes as "beautiful, fast and iconic".

With what may well be professional acumen, he analyses the Ford's design. "It's beauty is in the long hood and short deck," he says.

"You could put a black sheet over the car and it would be recognisable a football field away. This design triggers emotions of freedom."

He has made some cosmetic modifications to the car, perhaps a force of habit given his line of work.

"The scissor doors were installed last year and the original blue accents were swopped out for these red 'Singapore' ones soon after," he says.

Sentimentality also has a big part to play in his appreciation of his ride. He says he fell in love with the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 when he saw it in the 2000 movie Gone In Sixty Seconds.

"It was a stunning beauty," he recalls.

  • What's in the boot?

    • Footballs

    • A football pump

    • Toys belonging to Dr Li's two-year-old son

    • Umbrellas

After reading all he could about the Ford Mustang online and from magazines and books, he finally got a first taste in 2011, when he rented an S197 Mustang GT Coupe for a road trip across Taiwan.

"We drove down the beautiful east coast, flanked by the majestic Pacific Ocean, stopping to share tea eggs and stories with many wonderful people," Dr Li says. "It was a childhood dream come true."

In 2017, when the new Mustang was launched here, he "did not think twice". He paid $238,000.

Dr Li is also the founding president of the Mustang Owners Club of Singapore. "This group of owners is wonderfully diverse and vibrant," he says.

"We have driven in a convoy to places like Pontian in Johor for seafood and snuck a group shot at the floating platform before being shooed away."

Not everyone in his life shares his passion for this symbol of conspicuous American capitalism, however.

His 34-year-old wife, a surgeon in obstetrics and gynaecology, "disapproves".

"She drives a hybrid Honda Fit," he says.

At the risk of offending Dr Li, this writer suggests that some people see the 2.3-litre Ecoboost Mustang as not quite the real McCoy as the full-blooded 5-litre V8 variant.

He says: "Quite the contrary. "The engine delivers a broad, flat torque curve and makes overtaking effortless."

He jabs the accelerator, letting the car kick this writer in the back in riposte.

"The Ecoboost also makes the car more attainable, which is part of the original ethos of the Mustang as a performance car for the everyday driver," he adds.

His love affair with the Mustang is set to continue.

"My dream car is the Shelby GT500. It does not get any better than that," he says of the 760hp monster powered by a 5.2-litre supercharged V8.

The doctor also loves his job. "I enjoy the difference I make in people's self-esteem," he notes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2019, with the headline 'American beauty'. Print Edition | Subscribe