Time to Say Goodbye? Or not yet??

Downstairs in the garage at 854 Pennlyn Place in Ocean City, there is a red Ford Mustang convertible, that has been a member of our family since March 31, 2000.  In fact, on March 31st of last year, on the occasion of her 21st birthday, I wrote a blog entitled A Member of the Family, that detailed our relationship, now in its 23rd summer of our family with this car.  Here’s a link to that blog in case you’re interested. https://rnewadventures.com/2021/03/31/a-member-of-the-family/

She started back in 2000 as my “MID-LIFE CRISIS” car, and has morphed into my “RETIREMENT” car.  When we took delivery of her, there were 3 teenagers in our family, and indeed the first accident the Mustang was in was with Krissi at the wheel.  In those days, she went to the train station daily, out to dinner and church, and even on trips, like our 2 weeks in the summer to Ocean City!  When she moved to Ocean City full time, and became a New Jersey resident, her life got easier.  Now she was our fun second car, and many of her days were spent in the garage or out for Sunday drives.  She is strictly a summer car at this point in her life, spending the winters tucked into the garage with gas stabilizer in her tank, and a trickle charger on her battery.  Now that she’s in her 22nd year, she is entitled to slow down a bit and to be pampered. In fact, in the most recent year, since her servicing in May of 2021, she traveled less than 1,000 miles!  I guess for a 22 year old car to have just 91,000 miles on the odometer shows how her life has slowed down in recent years.

Every spring, we wait for the weather to get better and for some “Top Down Days” so that we can enjoy this old girl!  A couple of weekends ago, we thought it was a perfect night to take the Mustang down the island to Captain Bob’s on 55th Street, where we were meeting some neighbors on Susie’s Birthday!  We enjoyed the drive down there in the early evening with the top down, and were happy we’d decided to use the Mustang, rather than the new Honda CR-V.  However, all that changed several hours later as we headed north on the island towards our home!  

We had a lot of fun that night with Bob and Karen, Chris and Denise, and our next door neighbor Doc. They all had presents for Susie and sang Happy Birthday to end the meal.  As we said goodbye to all and headed out, we decided that since it had gotten a little colder and damp, we’d leave the top up on the way home.  We were stopped at a red light about 4 or 5 blocks from the restaurant when our night suddenly changed!  The light turned green, I stepped on the gas, and suddenly we thought there was a motorcycle in the car with us!  Once I realized the noise was us, I knew that I’d blown out part of the exhaust system, and that could be expensive!  We limped the rest of the way home, not wanting to give her too much gas to keep the noise at a minimum, and tucked her back in the garage.  You know how life is…it’s always something!

As I’ve said, the Mustang is a fun second car, but not something that we need to get through life, and at this point, we’ve pretty much decided that the idea of dumping a lot of money into her to keep her on the road is not something we want to do.  Because of this, for the past couple of years, when she goes to the garage to get her yearly service, I tell the guys to call me if she needs anything beyond her normal servicing, because there will be an amount we are not interested to spend to keep her around.  So that was the basis on which I dropped her off at Best Tire on Asbury Avenue, and Susie and I waited for their findings.  The next afternoon, Kyle called and told me that she had a cracked Y Pipe coming out of the engine, and that there were 4 catalytic convertors on that pipe, and that he was sure I didn’t want to go ahead with replacing the part which cost $2600!  Sounded like it was the end of the road for the 2000 Mustang, but then he gave us a ray of hope.  He said that he’d give me a card for a guy in Northfield who did muffler repair, and he bet that he could weld the pipe for a couple of hundred dollars!

So we picked up the Mustang and drove to Bargain Brakes and Mufflers on Tilton Road, and I explained to the guy there what my issue was, and who had sent me.  He took my keys and told me they’d take a look the next day.  About 2 the next afternoon, my cell phone rang and caller ID said Budget Muffler.  I answered and the gentleman said, “We took the pipe down, welded it and it still leaked.  So we took it down again, and welded it in another place, and it works fine now.  We saved you a few dollars. How does $175 sound?”  I told him it sounded great and that we’d be by within the hour to pick her up!  When we picked it up, he told me that as long as we have the car, they can fix the exhaust system!

She drives great, no longer sounds like a motorcycle, and Susie says that the exhaust smell we sometimes had in the car is now gone!  So, as they say, all’s well that ends well!  So, I guess it’s not time to say goodbye to the old girl just yet!  Win – Win all around!

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