With the prospect of owning a driver’s license rapidly approaching, cars began to take priority in my imagination. Specifically, the Mustang was my entrance drug, and whether I knew it or not at the time, I was hooked from a young age.
My mom got a 1986 Mustang when I was a little kid. After parting with her, she often loudly dreamed of owning a 1967 convertible. We’d occasionally go to the local “Night of Cruises” to appreciate the first generation Mustangs – my mother had the idea in mind…
Of course my mom was brainwashing me. I blame her directly for believing that owning a Mustang is an aspiration for life and a symbol of fulfillment. what ever. It could be worse.
When I was in my early teens, I vividly remember being fascinated by the 2003 Mustang Cobra “Terminator” at the Toronto Auto Show that year. I wanted to have as many templates and stickers as possible. movies like bulit And Gone in 60 seconds It helped burn the Fastback’s distinct Mustang silhouette into my soft, pubescent brain.
So when my 14-year-old spied my first S197 Mustang—a silver hardtop car—from the school bus window on the way home from school (I know it’s pretty cool, but I’ll swear by every word), I became obsessed with the idea of owning one. This is an obsession that I have not left yet. And I guess I’ll never do that again.
We feel everything more intensely when we are teenagers. Raging hormones, heightened emotions, and the development of minds tend to anchor teenage preferences for life – like writing with fine cement before it dries up. That’s why everyone thinks that all music was better when they were teenagers and that kids today have dirty music.
I can sit here and tell you that I like the S197 better than the modern S550 because of its “old” design. I can make a lukewarm, ill-intentioned argument that the S197 is more faithful to the spirit of the Mustang, and is a more exciting and unique car than the current generation. The truth is, I love the S197 because of nostalgia.
In the summer of 2005, my mom finally bought a convertible Mustang – not a classic 67, but an all-black convertible. Classic styling cues (read, “a taste of nostalgia”) for the then-new S197 were enough to satisfy her childhood dream of owning a first-generation Mustang. My mother was undoubtedly the target market that Ford was considering at the time. But I wonder if they know they’re indoctrinating my knots as well.
I have many fond memories of the 05 Black Mustang. I learned to drive in that car. I went on dates in that car. When my mother moved to British Columbia, I drove that car from Toronto to Vancouver for her – an epic and unforgettable road trip through some of the most beautiful parts of North America.
But that car was only a V6. It was also automatic. And I’ve never been crazy about convertibles. I remember that summer day in 2005 when she picked up her Mustang from a Ford dealership – sitting next to her was a hardtop, manual, V8 GT, also in black. This was the thing I really wanted. This was what I was determined to have in the end.
This year I finally had a way to buy a Mustang GT. And if I’m being honest, my initial instinct was to use the latest S550 Mustang GT. Because I know objectively that they are great cars.
But between the inflation, dealer coding, and the realization that I simply wouldn’t use a sports car much (I live in downtown Toronto, don’t commute, have access to compact cars, and certainly wouldn’t drive my Mustang in poor weather months) the idea of spending an arm and a leg for a car became New Mustangs get less and less attractive over time.
Then I found the 2014 Mustang GT/CS Listing. Hardtop. In black. With a six-speed manual. With less than 40,000 km on the odometer. This was the last year that Ford produced the S197 chassis. And he had the right engine. And the right options. and handle…
nostalgia for the past My thread has been suspended. I bought the car.
Worst decision ever.
Besides spending what I felt was an uncomfortable amount of money, the car has many inherent flaws (which are beyond the bumps, bruises, and other cosmetic defects that I’m now evaluating the benefits of a patch).
The car is like a tractor. The 5.0-liter V8, though generally a go-go, is a big fat block of American wrought iron slung over the front axle. Feel every bit of that weight as you plow the Mustang’s bulbous nose around the corners.
The direct rear axle travels around the road and because there is some curvature in the wheels, the car will track uneven surfaces. Traction control is a joke. This Mustang has busier thighs than a pole dancer, and that would all be fine…if the steering wasn’t as numb as a fresh powder nose. There are more notes in the video game console.
Movement on the gear selector makes the car look like a pickup truck. The quality of the interior is pretty awful – even with the ‘California Special’ top-rim package. A thing that drinks fuel as if standing on a barrel.
Also stick driving if you live in the city center will get annoying at some point. I don’t care who you are or what kind of insecurities you are about to bring up in the comments section. Any living person stuck in traffic on a 400-series highway or in the heart of downtown, while driving, craves the gentle hug of their left leg cut off. Any “nice guy” who tells you otherwise is a liar.
So my Mustang is uncomfortable, uneconomical, aesthetically imperfect, and lacks true merit as a sports car.
still… Best decision ever.
This big, dumb metal nugget is all I wanted as a teenager and driving it puts me in a state of blissful bliss.
Firstly, this Mustang is a great analogue. Which is something I can’t say about the S550…or really any modern car.
Get this. To start the car, you have to depress the clutch and Turn on the actual key. Old technology, I know. But between push-button start and electric cars, I’d actually forgotten how satisfying it is to feel like the person breathing life in a grumpy, lumpy, and confused V8.
There is no “sport mode”. Your right foot is in “athletic position”. The live back end reminds you that your actions have consequences. And every time you hit the clumsy transmission, you’re reminded that your body is currently connected to the engine…to the wheels…to the road.
Look, I know how fast and exciting the new S550 is with the 5.0-liter, 10-speed engine. I have driven one. I got a speeding ticket in one. I get it. It is a nice.
But there’s a certain excitement and fun of dropping the hammer on a (mostly) 5.0-liter V8, gripping the rear end as power to the direct rear axle forces the car to the sides and the clutch kicks in while rowing. Gears – the angry bellows of the Coyote engine driving you on the road is It happened which is described as “casually violent”.
This balance between danger, power and the need for control makes the car feel special in a way that very few new cars do.
In the same way, the opportunities I had to drive amazing new sports cars highlighted the S197 Mustang GT’s many flaws (on my first drive of my ‘new’ car, I thought, ‘Oh, This is amazing That’s why journalists always thought this was junk. Because they are! cheerful for fun Excited cars used to be before manufacturers started chasing lap times and letting computers sort everything for you.
It definitely has Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and a button that says “traction control” on it (I’m convinced nothing is connected). 2014 was not the stone age. But everything else reminds me of what I initially found attractive about cars in the first place. courtship. bravado. Character. Energizing. Reward or reward.
Do I see all this through the lens of nostalgia, personal taste, and the thick layer of uncontrollable prejudice? defy.
But… as well you.
I am not trying to say that you should buy the S197 Mustang. For the same reasons, I don’t think I can recruit any new Alexisonfire fans (seriously, 2004 ruled hard). You have your own fingerprints written in cement that has been wet for a long, long time.
I’m also not trying to prove that cars need to go. They won’t. They can’t. should not be.
What I’m telling you is, despite the fact of owning your teenage dream car — the sticker price, the maintenance, the objective flaws, the leaps and bounds in performance that modern cars offer you — you should buy it anyway.
Because nothing will be as good as the thing you’ve convinced yourself is as cool as a teenager.