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Since my last posting, I’ve put on another 200+ miles and have gained even more perspective into this amazing piece of Americana.
When you drop 40 large on a car, you have expectations – but they shouldn’t go unmanaged. Most of us assume if a car’s price crosses a certain threshold, then it cannot have been designed with compromises in mind; it should have been engineered and assembled from the ground up to serve a specific purpose.
My S2000 is a purpose-built car whose only compromises come in the forms of an air conditioner, rag top motor, and power steering system. The rest of the car, as every good track vehicle should be, has been designed using minimal/no insulation and is made of lightweight material. This car has been designed and built for the purpose of living on a race track, and guess what – that novelty wears off quickly when you daily drive it. If you can imagine what it’s like to attach a steering wheel and tires to a bathtub, then you can imagine what driving one is like. At speed, the interior is filled with ear-numbing drone from the tires, motor and exhaust – none of which are pleasing to the ear by themselves. The stereo system, while more than adequate for any other vehicle, is useless, as it cannot be heard above the din of the road. You will not have a conversation over your mobile phone, either. Don’t get me wrong – this car is amazing, but…
For the typical Mustang demography, the Ford pleases right out of the showroom – but for the guy who buys one to augment his ego because a turbo Civic whizzed past him on the road while his old bucket was wheezing near redline, these unmanaged expectations may lead to disappointment. For those jumping out of their BMW, Lexus, etc, mismanaged expectations can cause resentment and buyer’s remorse. So, what did Ford do right, then? Why are people still buying these Mustangs?
The answer is that Ford hasn’t changed a thing. As they have continued to improved quality and the manufacturing process, they are still producing a car that a true enthusiast will embrace. Hey, it’s not Ford’s fault that the car has become such an icon – and the fact that I see so many on the road used to turn me off, but now it fills me with pride. I do still cringe when I see that occasional broken down 95 GT on the roadside engulfed in plumes of coolant steam.
But! What has Ford done with these new Mustangs? They have given the masses a very livable and capable performance platform which can also be endlessly customized to suit any enthusiast. You say you don’t like the way your MT-82 is shifting? Well, looky here: change the bushing or shifter. You feel the suspension is too soft? Hit the internet and get your debit card ready. Do you think that spending additional money to make a new car perform to your standards is beneath you? Well, maybe you should’ve been more patient and saved your money for something more expensive – something German Actually, you’d better lease because once you go past 60K on the odometer, these cars will cost you a fortune to maintain. Ask anyone who owns a Merc SL or BMW M how they feel about taking care of that aging machine.
Getting back on point, this new 2014 GT Track Pack has been phenomenal – and I love everything that comes along with owning this car. I love spending time researching parts and modifications. Reading posts on these forums is part of the joy of ownership for me. Some of you guys are putting your money where your mouths are and are blazing new trails for guys like myself who prefer to let the other guy blow up their car first. I can appreciate balls like that.
I also love that I can modify this car to my liking myself – Ford has given me a platform that, for my purposes, is 90% where I want it to be. I am only improving on the things that Ford has implemented to make this car more w i d e l y marketable. For me, this translates into getting slightly stiffer shocks/struts, replacing the rear shifter bracket/bushing, and maybe something else minor down the road. It’s these little things that make being a Mustang owner wonderful; it’s these things that make the car truly yours – if you haven’t busted your knuckles and bled, cursed, cried, or sweat over your car, is it really yours and have you earned the right to complain about it?
My S2000 is the perfect track car right out of the box; it needs nothing and all I’ve had to do is maintain it. While this may sound ideal to 95% of car owners out there, the remaining 5% of us out there on the fringe – the enthusiasts – may see things a little differently. This is largely responsible for what has made owning the S2000 a detached experience. I reckon I’ve come to realize that I don’t appreciate perfection as much as I appreciate pouring myself into something to make it perfect for me. I’ve matured to the point where the experience of owning a car must add to my joy and I’m glad that Ford didn’t set out to create a perfect car.
My Honda? It’s just parked in my garage and I’ve forgotten about it. When I park my Mustang I still think about it. It’s as if it has become part of my spirit. At this point, the car is just starting to settle and is breaking in - and I think it’s breaking me in, too. I saw a YouTube review whose narrator just nailed it when he said, “When you are driving the Mustang it’s like you are breaking in a wild horse”. This is the spirit and the legacy of these cars.
12blackgt - yeah, I was atually bucked off and almost trampled, so I can only imagine what you wnet through! Hopefully you are still able to reproduce and have offspring haha.
blackandgud - Good things we aren't friends on Yelp! "F***, Frank! It's a slice of pizza - get over it!" I'm an idiot and I still see things as though I was in 3rd grade lol. Hard not to get all emotional about this damn car, though!