Taco Bell is apparently getting rid of the Naked Chicken Chalupa. That review I wrote about not writing might never be written. On to a less bitter topic…the roots of my fascination with Mustangs.
The windows were down. I could feel the Georgia summer air on my face as we cruised towards the park. I didn’t know much about the car I was in but I knew it was cool. Simply by virtue of being in that car, I was cool. At least I felt that way temporarily. I couldn’t have told you why. I just did. I couldn’t have told you what year or trim it was. I couldn’t have told you anything about the 5 liter engine or what it made it so popular and iconic. I was in 6th or 7th grade. It was my first encounter with a Ford Mustang. The Fox Body belonged to the older brother of a kid who lived in my neighborhood in Savannah, who I played basketball with on occasion.
It would be another decade or so before I realized my enthusiasm for automobiles and the Mustang in particular. In high school I drove an early 90’s Nissan pickup. My parents bought it and agreed to let me use it if I paid the insurance. I had a decent job for most of high school so it was a good arrangement. I didn’t know shit about the truck and looking back, I wish I would have taken more time to learn the mechanics of it all. My parents taught me how to change a tire and how to check the oil but I was probably too busy being a teenager to learn anything else. It served its purpose and eventually I upgraded to a 1997 Honda Accord. I won’t go into much detail about the car my friend Ben and I nicknamed the “altar to Satan” because I’d like to use it as an introduction for another post I plan to write about my enthusiasm for (some) Honda vehicles. When I was driving and (stupidly) dumping money into modifying my Honda Accord, my friends and I became involved with some folks in the car scene in Colorado Springs.
A few of the guys we hung out with had Fox Body Mustangs. In contrast to my first impression ten years earlier, I remember initially being unimpressed aside from understanding that they were pretty fast, certainly more so than my Honda or the econoboxes most of my friends owned. Over the course of the summer of 2001 (coincidentally this was when the first film of the Fast and the Furious franchise was released) I learned more about cars in general and about the world of modifying Mustangs. A big part of what makes Mustangs so cool is the plethora of aftermarket parts available. Bolt on parts, superchargers, nitrous kits, suspension parts, wheels and tires, body kits, cowl hoods, the list goes on and on.
That same summer, when I went to Minnesota for some military training, a guy in my unit had brought a few Mustang magazines. I distinctly remember flipping through those pages while sweating my ass off in the driver seat of my Humvee, marveling at all of the different ways you could modify these cars, both in terms of the performance and the style. The New Edge (1999-2004) Mustang had been on the market for a couple of years at this point but I remember the Fox Bodies and SN-95s (commonly used to refer to 1994-1998 Stangs) sticking out in particular. I was just so fascinated with the different variations of each body style and how changing the wheels or spoiler could make such a difference visually. I day dreamed about the different things I’d do if I had my own Mustang. Even with the other cars I owned, I never lost that interest in owning and modifying my own Mustang.
The following year I got my first opportunity to own a rear-wheel drive, eight cylinder “muscle car” but it wasn’t a Mustang. My first foray into domestic muscle was a 1998 Pontiac TransAm. Like the Honda, I’ll hold off on going into too much detail about the TA for now but I owned that car for almost six years and enjoyed the shit out of it. Yep, that’s me in the TA.
My friend Ben purchased his 2002 Mustang GT shortly after I bought the TA and for the next five or six years, we were in constant competition (I was always faster, Ben. Eat shit). We took a lot of trips to the track, helped each other and thwarted each other modifying our cars, and did what can best be described as “a lot of dumb shit”. I loved the TA and I poured a lot of money, sweat, and tears into that car. Even while I had that car though, I daydreamed of owning my own Mustang and this often manifested itself in me trying to convince Ben to modify his Mustang in certain ways (ways that I envisioned my own Mustang). I can still hear myself trying to explain why his car would look better with 99-01 Cobra taillights even if he couldn’t appreciate the subtle yet tasteful change. As much as I hate my friend Ben, the last time I drove his Mustang, I have to admit it was pretty fucking badass. Ben, if you’re reading this, just remember that if I ever win the Powerball, I’m going to hit your car with a wrecking ball.
It wasn’t until 2014 that I bought my first Mustang, a black 2014 GT with a 5.0 liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. I didn’t care about all the extra crap, the bells and whistles. All I wanted was that 5.0 and a stick shift. It’s been almost three years and I still get a smile on my face every time I take it for a drive. I try not to crash it into any walls or crowds like these guys though.