Car Video: Oversteer
I'm a Terrible Driver -- So I Bought a Ford Mustang
Before I'm run over by a fleet of Mustangs at the next Cars and Coffee, allow me to fully explain myself. Yes, I'm a terrible driver -- and yes, I recently bought a Ford Mustang. But the reason I'm telling you this isn't to make fun of Mustangs and their owners. I actually have ambitions to improve my driving skills -- and I believe my little pony purchase will help me achieve this.
The latest stallion in my stable is a 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1. With a completely redesigned Mustang on the horizon back in the mid-2000s, Ford created this limited-production retro tribute, giving the aged SN95 chassis one last gallop before it headed to the glue factory. This was much more than a badge special, as several performance upgrades -- like an aluminum 32-valve engine -- made the re-imagined Mach 1 an instant hit.
I stumbled upon this Mach 1 in the trade-in row at the local Hyundai dealer. Apparently, it was ditched in favor of a 2014 Genesis R-Spec sedan, as if the previous owner got a job as a junior executive and decided it was time to cut off his mullet.
Twice a month, the local Hyundai dealer offers trades they don't want to used-car dealers through a sealed-bid auction. After examining the vehicles, hooptie hunters such as myself write down a maximum bid on a sheet of paper and slide the bids into a sealed box. Once all bids are submitted, the used-car manager totals them and sends out a mass text to the winners.
"Winning" is a relative term, because most of these cars were rejected for a good reason. I was the high bid, at $4,500, which might make this the cheapest-running Mach 1 purchase in the United States -- but this reject has tons of problems. It's got shot tires, shot brakes, a shot suspension, body rust and a pretty beat interior. Given that these are already collectible, with showroom examples selling for close to their original $29,000 MSRP, it's hard to believe someone used this thing as a beater -- but this horrible condition makes it perfect for me.
I've signed up for a class with the Sports Car Club of America that will get me a license to participate in their driving events -- including a track day the same evening. I'm totally clueless about driving on a race track, and I really hope to soak up as much knowledge as I can. With this beat-up Mustang, I won't be scared to push myself. If I were trying to learn with my Porsche 911 or Acura NSX, I'd be terrified: Both cars' handling characteristics are well beyond my skill level, and I care about them too much to risk screwing up as a newb. But the Mustang should be perfect.
Maybe you're thinking at this point I just needed an excuse to buy another car -- and that my 911 and NSX are fantastic beginner cars for driving on the track. And to that I say ... Shut your pie hole! I don't need any logic clouding my judgment.
The Mach 1 was something I lusted after as a high schooler, back when they were released. Since I'm still highly immature at age 30, this is certainly like scratching an itch. Let's just hope I can keep this thing off the sidewalk.
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.
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