The car from two years ago before I was StangTV editor. In this form it had won several car show awards including best ’94-’98 Mustang at the NMRA World Finals in 2010.
For six months now I’ve struggled with the idea of selling my ’98 Mustang GT, or keeping it. I’ve owned the car for nine years, longer than any other Mustang I’ve had. The car came into my hands while I was working at of all places a Nissan dealership. It had been about 3 years since I’d owned a Mustang, having sold my ’86 LX and doing what I thought was a good idea by taking a “break” from the Mustang life.
When I bought the car it was an automatic with what I would later find out were 3.73 gears in the rear. The rest of the car was stock. A couple of years later in ’07 I did a complete low-mileage PI engine swap, which was the hot thing for those cars at the time long before anyone ever uttered Coyote in the hobby. I also took the time to convert the car to a 5-speed, and put 4.30 gears in the rear diff. There were other upgrades as well including mostly new interior, Cobra brakes, and later a K-memberand somenew wheels and tires. Some of those you can read about in old StangTV stories linked above.
Part of me feels like a little piece of my soul dies every time I get behind the wheel of something that I always associated with clueless soccer moms.
For the past two years I’ve been focused on a few things that have kept from behind the wheel of my ’98. One of those is my family, with the birth of our daughter my wife and I haven’t had time to drive the old ’98 much. Then there’sProject Rehab, my Fox body street/strip car, which gobbles up most of my wrench time.
We also decided to move into a larger home and that we wanted to have a second child. Both of those decisions were made within the last 10 months. With the family expansion in mind I sold my regular cab pickup truck and bought a used, low mileage van that a family member was looking to part with the beast. With the move and the need to clear our stuff out of the house the ’98 went into a storage unit where it has languished for nearly six months.
The PI engine I swapped in has a few bolt-on mods. This is shot was taken during some suspension work a few years back.
Prior to its move, the car spent the particularly rough winter stored outside due to my need for space in the garage to get Project Rehab up and going. The excessive snow and ice leaked through my cheap car cover and through the vented Cobra R hood and got into the spark plug tubes, rotting a few wires and rusting the plugs. With that remedied I fired the car up recently and took it for a drive. It sounds corny but this car is starting to get that old friend feel. We’ve been apart for a while and I had thought about severing ties completely, in this case selling the car, but one drive, one blast through the gears and I’m reminded why I’ve held onto this car this long -it just feels right.
Driving the car daily will hopefully make me appreciate it that much more. I also think it will keep me connected to the rest of the Mustang community a little better.
Then there’s the other issue. My van. Part of me feels like a little piece of my soul dies every time I get behind the wheel of something that I always associated with clueless soccer moms. It could be a mid-life crisis as well as I approach 35 and feel like I shouldn’t be driving something boring everyday. So I’ve made the decision to keep my ’98, and to make some changes that will make it more daily-driver friendly. This is part of what I’m calling Mustang Every Day. For me personally over the past decade owning a Mustang has been about driving it only when the weather is nice and the streets clear. Driving the car daily will hopefully make me appreciate it that much more. I also think it will keep me more connected to the rest of the Mustang community.
The '98 in its most recent iteration blacked out and wearing Mickey Thompson Street Comp wheels and tires.
While some might scoff at the idea of putting my kids in the backseat of a car that is now 16 years old, has a very loud exhaust system, and doesn’t feature all the modern safety frills I can only say the following. There is not a nut or bolt on this car that I haven’t touched. I know this car inside and out. If a breakdown occurs chance are I can have it fixed quickly. The cost of owning this old car may be far less than many others as well.
In the end I think that my family and I will enjoy having the old car around to use as it was intended when it rolled off the assembly line. Whether I’m dropping the kids off at grandmas for the day, driving to the track to hang out and see what’s going on, or headed out on a long drive to catch a story, I know all those drives will be more interesting and more enjoyable riding with my old friend.
So my question and challenge to those readers of this editorial is do you Mustang Every Day?