Today is Tuesday, April 17th, and to a certain segment of the population, today is also known as Mustang Day, 2018. That’s because, 54 years ago today, on April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang was introduced at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair! As an impressionable teenager and car nut 54 years ago, I remember the day clearly. The Mustang was all over TV that night, there were newspaper announcements, and the Mustang was even featured on the cover of both Time AND Newsweek magazines that week!! Ford knew what they were doing, using the NY World’s Fair as a backdrop to the introduction, and if you’d like to read my memories of seeing and even riding in a Mustang at the fair, check out my NY World’s Fair blog at this link.
But today is a day to rejoice in the Mustang, and what it means in our life, so let me give you a look into my personal relationship with a certain Mustang convertible.
In the fall of 1999, I decided to replace the Mustang I owned, a 1988 red convertible with a new 2000 model. I decided to do this because we had rented a 1999 convertible during a trip to Las Vegas that Spring, and we were really impressed by it. After researching the options, packages and colors that were going to be available for the 2000 Mustangs, I knew exactly what I was going to order. It was going to be red, and it was going to be a convertible. We favored a dark convertible top, versus a light one, so it would have a black top and a charcoal interior. It also would have an automatic transmission, and a few other accessories.
Factored into the decision making process, was, at the time, I had three teenage children at home, so my brand new 2000 Mustang was going to have a V-6, just in case any of my teenagers would ever be fortunate enough to get the keys from me, and having a V-6 would considerably lower their “temptation “ when they were driving it (not to mention the insurance costs).
One afternoon, after I returned from work, Susie and I went to Mineola Ford, and ordered the car. After hearing northing for several months, I received a call from them, saying my Mustang had been delivered. After speaking to the salesman for a few minutes, I realized something was wrong…..they had ordered the wrong color car! Instead of it being Laser Red, it was black. When I told them that I didn’t want the black car, the dealer was very surprised, but they told me they would get me the car that I had ordered.
After waiting several more weeks, and getting no clear answers, I came to realize that the dealer was just trying to buy time. They were hoping that they could wait me out, and that I would change my mind and take the black car. I’d had enough at that point and told them I wanted to forget the order and get my deposit back. They told me I needed to come to the dealership so they could credit my Visa card with the deposit, which I found out was just another ploy. When I got there I discovered that they had put the “mistake” Mustang in the center of the showroom! It was sitting front and center, all shiny and new with the top down, and they were surprised when they couldn’t get me to look at “my car”. Disgusted with the whole process, I just got my deposit back and left.
On January 5th, 2000, Susie and I went together to Park Inn Ford to order my 2000 Mustang. I had just turned 50 on January 2nd, so this was to be my “mid-life crisis” car, a red Mustang convertible! My experience at this Ford dealer was much better than at the first dealership. The owner himself explained to me about their Mustang allotment, and kept me in the loop from the day the order was accepted by Ford, to the day it was scheduled to be built, right up to the day he called to let me know my car was at the dealership. I picked my Mustang up on March 31st, 2000, which was just in time for some spring top down driving.
Over the years this Mustang has taken us to lots of places. From the beach at Ocean City, to the North Shore of Long Island, to the Long Island Rail Road station in Mineola. For many years it was my daily driver, and the car that Susie and I would choose to take whenever we were going some place without the kids. Speaking of the kids, the kids drove the car too, and for her senior year, it took Krissi to Mineola High School. She hasn’t lead a charmed garage life, has even had a couple of minor fender benders (one done by Krissi, and one by me), and has had her share of bumps and scrapes. Over the years, we’ve thought about replacing her with a newer model, but as she got driven less and less, we just never did it.
Now, some 18 years after that proud afternoon I first drove her out of the Ford Dealer, my Mid Life Crisis car, has become my Retirement car. As such, she now lives a much easier life. She moved to the beach in Ocean City before the rest of us did, and she now spends her life downstairs in the garage, but she still gets used all year long…just not in the snow. In fact, as she does many times, this morning, she took me over to Somers Point and Hot Bagels. As of that trip, she’s got a total of 84,441 miles on her. She obviously gets a lot more use in the summer, when we practically leave the top down all the time. She is our vehicle of choice for rides around town, going to the store, or on our Sunday exploring rides. This summer will be the 19th Summer she’s been a member of our family, and I expect she will be with us for many more.