By on June 13, 2012

After the positive response to Half-Price Bimmer, I’ve asked another guest columnist, whom we shall call “Bark M.”, to detail his recent attempt to buy a high-power American sporting car, complete with drive notes on both the Mustang and Challenger, and an almost convincing rationale for his decision to let his wife drive a Boss before he did. “Bark” is an SCCA National Tour autocrosser and former professional musician. — JB

“Are you still interested in buying a Boss 302? We just got one in stock today.”

That was the e-mail that popped up on my phone while I was sitting in a meeting last Friday morning. But in order to explain this e-mail, I have to take you back a bit.

Three years ago, due to the increasing size of my young family, I did something very sensible-I traded in my Mazda RX-8 and bought a sedan. Granted, the sedan was a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT with 361 HP, but there was no getting around the fact that it was a sedan. The MAZDASPEED stickers on the hood of the RX-8 were soon replaced by “BABY ON BOARD” sunscreens on the rear windows of the G8. The O.Z. wheels shod with Hoosier A6 tires that I used to carefully arrange in the backseat of the RX-8 on the way to the autocross gave way to Mom-Reviewed baby seats. Sure, there were times, when nobody was looking, that I would leave the kids at home with their mom, punch up the G8 to triple digits on the highway, and feel like I was driving a sports car again…but then I would get out and be reminded that I was, in fact, driving a sedan. I satisfied my occasional sports car dreams by autocrossing a friend’s S2000. That was more than enough for me.

Then, out of the pure blue sky one day about three months ago, my wife said to me, “You know, since we have the crossover for the family, I guess we don’t really need to have TWO family cars.” I started to say, “Does that mean Corv-“ but was interrupted by my four-year old son saying, “Daddy, I don’t want you to get a Corvette, because I won’t be able to ride in the front seat in my car seat with you.” It’s possible that I might talk a little bit about sports cars with my son.

I sat down with my computer, weighed all of my options, and settled on one car: The Dodge Challenger SRT-8. When I’d seen Paul Walker improbably dueling it out with Vin Diesel in a blacked-out SRT-8 over the credits of “Fast Five”, I’d fallen a little bit in lust with the car. It was bold, brash, and unapologetic for what it was. It drank fuel like I used to drink Crown Royal in my college days. Plus, it could pull. I’d once selected a white V6 Chally rental during a business trip-it was slow, it had mismatched tires, and when I posted its picture on my Facebook page, I had to delete three or four comments from young women who described in great detail what they thought of the car, and more explicity, the things they’d like to do in the backseat of it. Clearly, a no-brainer of a choice.

I built my own Challenger on the website, searched dealer inventory, and found one about a hundred miles away that met all of my requirements. White, manual transmission, summer tires, and an MSRP right around 45K. Having made my choice, I pre-arranged financing at a good rate with my bank.

During my search, I had also seen a few Mustang and Camaro listings as “Cars you might like.” I had no interest in the Camaro-no point in driving a perversion of the Zeta platform that I had already owned for three years. And despite the well-known excellence of the V6 Mustang on every ZOMG message board in America, I couldn’t get over the fact that the Mustang was largely considered by my friends and me to be the exclusive ride of rednecks, strippers, and secretaries when we were kids.

However, I had read great things about the Boss 302 when it was released for the 2012 model year. Something about how it was supposed to be an “M3 killer,” that it had actually run a faster time around Laguna Seca than the holy E92 M3 itself, that it wasn’t your typical Mustang, etc. However, a quick search online showed me that dealers all across the country were marking them up as much as 7-10K over sticker price, and they were actually getting it. When my insurance company’s car buying service (which normally finds dealers willing to sell cars at or below invoice) couldn’t find one in stock within 200 miles of me, much less a dealer who would be willing to sell it anywhere near sticker, I decided to stick with the Chally.

So it was with that mentality that I contacted the local Dodge dealership on a Thursday afternoon, told them I’d be back in town on Saturday, and that I would be up early with my wife and son to take a look at the Challenger that they had on the lot. If we liked it, they would go get it for me on a dealer trade that afternoon. Perfect.

I was all set when that e-mail arrived on Friday morning. “Are you still interested in buying a Boss 302? We just got one on the lot today.” Fudge. I had spent all week convincing my wife that the Challenger was the way to go. No worries, they probably were going to sell that Boss at 10K over sticker. I figured that I’d just give them a call to confirm my suspicions, and then go happily buy my Dodge.

“Hello? Yes, I just received an e-mail from you that you got a Boss 302 in stock?”

“Yes, sir, and it’s a beautiful car.”

“What’s the price on it?”

“$45,465.”

“…”

“Sir?”

“Does that include the Recaro seats and Torsen differential?”

“Yes, sir.”

“…”

“Sir?”

“Send me some pictures of it.”

The pictures arrived — of a Boss 302 in an absolutely hideous shade of yellow. Whew-I was set on a white car. I replied via text message that I didn’t want yellow, that white was my preferred color, and that I wished him luck on the sale of the car. The bastard replied and said that he’d happily dealer trade for a white one and still sell it to me at sticker. So I called my wife, told her that I just wanted to stop by the Ford dealership on the way to the Dodge dealer and quickly take a look at this hideous yellow car. She reluctantly agreed.

Upon my arrival at the Ford dealership, it wasn’t hard to find the car. Five salesmen were hungrily glaring at it on the lot, circling it like vultures. And the car was gorgeous. For some reason, the School Bus Yellow that I had nearly vomited at when I saw it on my phone was stunning in person. The 2013 graphics were flamboyant but not obnoxious.

My sales guy quickly bounded out of the dealership, introduced himself, and handed over the keys. I had heard rumors of Bosses being under lock and key around the country, and here this dude was going to let me take it out without him. I snatched the key, moved my son’s car seat from the G8 to the backseat of the Boss, and did what any smart married man should-I handed the key to my wife.

She gave me an “I already know I’m going to hate this” look, and got into the driver’s seat. I got into the passenger seat, gave my son a thumbs up as he sat happily in the back seat, and we left the dealership.
As we drove down the road, a surprising thing happened. She liked it. She really liked it. A car with cloth racing seats that one must manually adjust, no navigation, no satellite radio, no multi-disc CD changer…she loved it.

We pulled back into the dealership lot. I looked at her and said, “Honey, do you mind if I drop you guys off here and take the car back out by myself?” The sales guy immediately suspected hoonery, and volunteered to join me. He was not disappointed. Immediately upon exiting the dealership, we headed for an exit ramp. Expecting the normal understeer that one might expect from a Mustang, I put my foot down in second gear and the rear end damn near came all the way around on me. This was not a pony car. This was a bigger, faster, and meaner looking S2000. I had to do my best to temper my downright joy and enthusiasm. The car was loud, yellow, and drove like nothing I’d ever driven before. When I put my foot on the gas in fourth gear, something actually happened. The 444 HP was usable throughout the entire powerband. The steering rack was nimble and responsive. No one-wheel death peel around corners. This was the car I’d been looking for my entire life and had never known that it existed.

When we got back to the dealership, my wife and I patiently waited for their assessment of my trade. I told them that I wanted $18,500. I should probably mention that my G8 had 74,XXX miles on it, totally bald tires, and the backseat had been abused by two children for years. They countered with $15,500. I asked for my keys back and we left immediately.

While I was switching the car seat back to the G8, my salesman ran out to my car. “Listen, man, I’ll get you that $18,500. Even if we have to discount our car, I’ll get it for you. You guys go have some lunch and I’ll call you.”

We left, but not to get lunch. We went to the closest Dodge dealer I could find that had a Challenger SRT-8 on the lot. Sure enough, when we got there, my previously unbeaten dream car was prominently displayed-a black Chally with a silver stripe running right down the middle. A salesman approached us and introduced himself. When I told him that I was cross-shopping against the Boss 302, he invited us to drive his car and see what we thought. We pulled out of the dealership and headed down the road.

The Challenger was a great car. A GREAT car. The seats were comfortable, the large navigation and entertainment display were intuitive. One step on the accelerator was enough to let us know that it meant serious business. There was more room in the back seat, more room in the front seat, leather seating, SRT badging throughout, heated seats, a sunroof…and yet.

When I got out of the car to switch driving position with my wife, I walked all around the car. It was certainly beautiful. The brash red 392 logo screamed at bystanders. The slightly awkward stance of the car seemed to turn its nose up at BMW and Mercedes owners. This was clearly not a car to trifle with.

But it didn’t speak to me. On the return trip to the dealership, one word kept entering my mind. Safe. This car was a safe choice. Sure, it looked sexy. But inside, it was no sports car. It was a touring car. And frankly, I’d driven one of those for three years. Had I never driven the Boss, I would have loved it. Having driven the Boss, I knew I’d never forgive myself for buying the Challenger.

We returned the car to the dealer. As soon as we pulled in, my phone buzzed. Looking down, I read, “Would you take 17700?” I replied, “I’ll take 18. Make it happen.”

The sales manager came out, thanked us for visiting his dealership, and handed my wife a comparison test from a website he had visited which ranked the Challenger over the Boss. Of course, it was for all the reasons I didn’t want to buy the Challenger-it was roomier, it had a better interior, it had a real trunk. Each positive on this comparo was another nail in the coffin of the Chally for me. But the salesman and the manager were both so nice.

Almost on cue, my phone buzzed. This text was from a different number-my Ford salesman’s boss. “Call me with great news about your car.”

As my wife spoke to the salesman about the car, I excused myself and called back.

“Yeah, I got a message to call you back about some good news?”

“Yes, sir! I’m happy to offer you $17,200 for your Pontiac.”

“Are you serious? I just got a message from your salesman offering me $17,700.”

“Well, we called around to some wholesalers…”

“Listen, I’m at a Dodge dealership writing up papers on a Challenger. If you want to sell me a car, you’d better get serious about it and quit fucking around.”

“We want to sell you a car, sir, but we can’t lose money…”

“You aren’t losing a dime. In fact, you’ve got $3,500 of profit in your car plus 3% holdback. That’s $5,000. If you really want to lose my business over $800, I wish you luck.”

The conversation continued back and forth like this for another five minutes, and involved a lot more swearing on my part. The manager was determined to hold his number, and I was determined to hold mine. I hung up as he was telling me how much my Challenger would depreciate.

I thanked the salesman and the manager at the Dodge dealership, told them to work some numbers on my car, and that I would be back after taking my wife and son to lunch (shopping for cars with a four year old should be in the Olympics. It’s hard). I told them that I needed $18,500 from my car, and they assured me that it would be no issue.

While at lunch, my wife and I sat in silence, looking at each other. We both knew what we wanted to do, but we didn’t want to admit it. Almost simultaneously, we said, “Let’s call back the Ford dealer.”
Luckily, I didn’t have to. My phone rang. It was the Ford manager I had cursed out not 15 minutes earlier.

“Sir, you’re not planning to finance with us, are you?”

“No. I have financing in place.”

“If you finance with us, I can get you the money you want for your car.”

“$18,000? No surprises? No 96 month terms? No 18% rates?”

“No, sir. We’ll get you the best rates possible. No down payment.”

“Do it.”

And that’s how I ended up with a 2013 School Bus Yellow Boss 302 Mustang in my garage. It doesn’t have leather seats. It doesn’t have a sunroof. It doesn’t have navigation or an entertainment system. But it does have adjustable shocks, Recaro seats, a Torsen rear differential, and something else even more important. It has a soul. It has character. It has toughness, individuality, and it evokes passion in this owner. And somewhere at an autocross near you, it will have Hoosier stickers and “199 AS” on the side of it.

I have a sports car again.

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86 Comments on ““I Have A Sports Car Again” — One Ponycar Purchase Experience...”


  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Very nice! My dad wanted a Boss a few months ago, Larry H Miller Ford (they own the Miller racetrack) said it would take 8-9 months to get one in. He ended up getting a 12 GT with Premium and Track packages for $32k OTD, plus a $1k voucher for any Ford Racing parts…maybe an exhaust in the future. But he is happy, finally got the car he wanted after waiting 40 years and was able to pay cash. Also got $12k on his 07 Explorer V8 4WD with 87k miles(really not bad for a trade). My mom’s 11 Explorer replaces the need for a comfy cruiser to various destinations, and getting through the Wasatch (back) winters.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Awesome story. The color is better than white, it won’t show dirt as easily.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    “shopping for cars with a four year old should be in the Olympics. It’s hard.”

    Shopping for *anything* with a four-year-old should be in the Olympics. But four-year-olds are why sports cars have backseats.

    How does the backseat work with a booster? I’m going to have a lower-budget but similar decision to make in a year or so when I retire my TSX. The “safe” choice is another near-sporty, near-premium sedan (ILX, GLI, that new Buick with turbo). The “easy” choice is a 5-door hot hatch. But my eye keeps wandering to the likes of a BRZ, a G Coupe or a ‘Stang V6.

    • 0 avatar
      cacon

      I hear you!!

      Try it with an hyperactive 2 year old!! (hiding in the trunk, running inside the leather seats with its dirty shoes, touching all the buttons, levers and whatnot).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The RX-8 that “Bark M.” forewent to get the G8, on the basis he needed more practicality and a bigger rear seat (because of his children), is now somewhat at odds with buying the Boss.

      With my biases laid bare as a very pro-RX-8 driver, I concede the incredibly obvious fact that this 444 horsepower beast trounces the 8 (and most every other car with ‘sports’ and even many having ‘exotic’ in their description), and that it’s the Stang’s best effort to date by a mile (although I think a sub 30k Mustang GT is a better value even adjusting for the hp/torque and suspension differences).

      But the backseat in the RX-8 is far, far better suited for children (and adults) than the Mustang.

      That said, this is a beast of a car, even if it does have a live rear axle (which is quite lame of Ford), and questionable transmission quality/durability.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @DeadWeight

        A sub $30K Mustang GT is clearly the better value, but you’d be over $40K by the time you add Recaros, Brembos, KONIs, various suspension/exhaust upgrades and a tune to 444 HP (that may void the warranty). Then you still wouldn’t have the Track Key’s race calibration software and launch control. Not to mention the collectable status and higher resale (percentage).

        What’s “quite lame” about its live rear axle? The Boss 302 is considerably faster than the M3 around a track (with nearly identical facts sheets) because of it, not inspite of it. Poorly maintained roads aren’t much kinder to equally stiff IRS.

      • 0 avatar

        It is a beast of a car, as you say–in a good sense of course–and the RX-8 is very refined by comparison. The difference is cultural. Or to put it another way, the stang harkens back to the Kennedy era.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t remember being any trouble when my parents bought the ’57 Chevy when I was 4.

      Jack, what did the kid say after you got the boss?

  • avatar

    Jealousy, I have it.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Nice story, reminds me of some former in-laws who liked to get a salesman to leave them alone in his office and they would actuall use his phone to call the dealership they were just at to tell them what they had to do to keep them from buying car X and to buy their car Y instead. (Keep in mind this was pre cell-phone days.)

    I like the way your wife thinks too. The wonderful woman I’m about to marry has the right attitude also. When we were dating I mused; “What if I bought a Mustang GT or Corvette or Camaro?” She said; “Better be manual trans and you better let me borrow it.” That’s the right attitude for a woman to have…

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      My wife and I were looking at a new car for her a few months ago and test drove both a V6 Stang and a GT. I pointed out how the V6, in its current form, actually had more power than her ’95 Cobra and that 300 hp and ft-lbs of torque was really quite a bit, the V6 gets much better gas mileage, etc. She looked at me like I had grown a second head. Her responses boiled down to one family safe statement of “but it’s not the V8 you silly little man.”

      I must admit, that V8 really put a smile on my face. She test drove it first and was practically giggling with a huge smile on her face. Now, the salesmen were talking to each other before we took it out about “chirping the tires in 2nd gear.” I took that as a challenge. After settling in behind the wheel, I found out just how much rear wheel power the GT has when I revved it a bit too much on take-off (that is the correct term to use). I got the revs up again and quickly shifted into second where I got considerably more than a chirp from the rear tires. I broke the rear end loose in 2nd on my wife’s Cobra when I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, so this was no big surprise. However, when I did it again in 3rd, now I was impressed with the power. I can only imagine what it would be like in a GT500 – I truly mean that because I’m not going to spend GT500 kind of money on any car. I was able to get out of the dealership without buying the car that day despite being triple teamed by the salesman, his manager, and my wife. I am certain that a Mustang GT, maybe even a Boss 302, will be the car in our future.

  • avatar
    sching

    Bravo. Very entertaining read, even for someone who now lives in Hong Kong and will never have a chance to see, let alone drive a Box 302 or a Challenger (left-hand drive vehicles can’t be permanetly licensed here).

    Looking forward to more in this series, and more from Mr. “Bark”.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    what’s with the cheesy instagram filters?

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Here’s hoping that doesn’t become a thing, at least not here.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      I too was going to comment on this. Instagram is for hipsters. LEAVE IT ALONE.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Guys, this is just a consequence of the contributor using his iPhone to take the shots. I didn’t take the photos, they weren’t taken by TTAC staff, it isn’t a thing, or a policy, or the future :)

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        So this “Instagram” feature is just a way to make your digital photographs look like they were shot with a 110-series camera?

        Thanks for the clarification. I did enjoy my old Minolta 470′s ergonomics (was there any other 110 camera besides their SLR 110 to also feature a hot shoe flash attachment?) but I’m not about to dig it out of deep storage for that sort of nostalgia trip.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Felis, yes, pretty much that’s it, you get to have photos that looks like faded 110s.

        A massive step backward in photo quality … I refuse to partake in this abomination.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      I kind of liked the cell phone pictures, kind of made the story more real. Besides I don’t see many instagram pics.

  • avatar
    jjklongisland

    Great review… You sound exactly like me when buying cars. I am on a mission, know what I want to pay and what I want for my car and thats that. No BS. It can be the easiest 5 minutes sale or an arguing match in which they always give in the end. It really makes new car buying experience painful but worth a days worth of aggravation for getting what you want at the price you are willing to pay. Now as far as the Mustang, I was never a pony car fan. I always thought of them as “Disgustangs” and would take a MOPAR any day of the week over the Ford brethren. But I can tell you that something keeps drawing me to the Mustang. When I drove my friends Rousch Stage II it just felt like the only old school muscle car still made. While the Challenger retains more of the retro styling it doesnt exert that retro feel. I can tell you that after driving one I have been kind of hooked and keep looking for 2007 or 2008 low mile manual trans V8 as a 3rd vehicle. I have the exact same situation as yours with a 4 year old and a family and recently downsized from a huge Armada to a sporty family Maxima loaded with all the toys. I am just glad that my wife is a huge mustang fan so its an easy sell… Good luck with your new car.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I like the story . . . and the best part is this: if you are spending $33K net on a car you should get the car you want. Because there will be times when that $33K will weigh on you (like some month when the cash is tight and that payment hurts at little) and then you will say to yourself, “but I like this car.” If you can’t say that, everything becomes a whole lot harder.

    Apropos of little kids in the backseat, the Mustang backseat is great for little kids. My ’87 GT 5.0 (a rude and crude car if there ever was one) hauled around my 6 and 3 year olds just fine in the back. I think they thought of the experience as something like a ride in an amusement park . . . which it was . . . for all concerned. Ultimately, the need for a real back seat meant the Mustang had to go . . . but it was replaced by an SHO, so I didn’t suffer much. In real-world terms, the SHO was the faster car.

    • 0 avatar
      Motorhead10

      I just did the same thing – had a 2004 Mustang GT 5-speed as a daily driver from the time my sons were 6 and 5. At 11 and 12 – it was just too small to haul them and their friends around. Got myself a Charger R/T with the road & track package. I actually like it better than the Mustang.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    When they went form $17700 to $17200…that was some hucksterish BS. Glad you didn’t give up there though. The right choice was ultimately made.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      These are the kinds of antics that give car dealers a bad rap but they must work. I’ve had to deal with some variation of the bait and switch each time I’ve set foot in a dealership.

      It takes me a good 5-6 years to recover from my last car buying experience, if it were less painful I’d buy a new car 2 years. In the end the sheisty car salesmen help me to save more money than a financial planner ever could.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        I’m no fan of this kind of sales tactics as well, but you have to understand the dealer’s insistence of making good money on that ‘Stang. It’s a rare vehicle, others are even marking them up and get away with it. It’s not one of the rows and rows of Fusions or F150s or whatever. It’s maybe once in a year thing to have such a desirable vehicle, and the sales manager probably had to answer to the owner if he let it go at too low a price.

  • avatar
    craigotron

    I just traded in my Challenger SE (mine was even white?) for a Mustang V8 GT. There have been a lot of TTAC articles lately validating my decision. Way to make a reader happy!

    I will say the “have to delete comments on Facebook for being inappropriate” line is true. When I had the car everyone was a fan, most days I’d get at least one comment. I’m unsure if I’ll miss the attention or not. For the most part no… but once in a while someone would come up to me and say “you may too young but there was this movie called Vanishing Point…” at which point I’d inform them I was aware of the film and it factored in on my choice of white and that the car actually came from Colorado.

    Oh and when I went to sell it someone actually followed me into the Ford dealership to ask me what the car was and tell me it was hot… in full of view of the sales staff. I’d like to thank that lady for helping with the resale value.

  • avatar
    MZ3AUTOXR

    I went through this same sort of thing, although to a different extent with my Mazda3.

    At the time we had two kids, a Trailblazer (which had been purchased to tow a Formula Vee), and a Mazda6 Wagon. Since the Vee was gone, we no longer needed the Trailblazer.

    Plus, after renting rides, I really wanted to get back to autocrossing my own car.

    Since I still needed (and still do) to put the kids in car seats a 4 door was required. Looked at (and dismissed) a lot of ‘C’ segment cars before narrowing my choices down to a Honda Civic and Mazda 3.

    Both would have been okay as daily drivers. Both would serve as a decent regional autocross car. But like “Bark”, it came down to soul. The Civic didn’t have any the Mazda did.

    I could write a whole article on the good and bad, but after 5 years, I am not disappointed with my decision.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    You have to play their game. I went in and drove the car. The salesman said, “$11k and your trade.”

    I looked at him and said “$9K and my trade.”

    He wandered off for a bit, and came back with “$10k and your trade.”

    I looked at him like he had two heads. “My offer is $9k and my trade. You have two choices, yes or no. It seems your answer is no.”

    He wandered off again for a while, and brought back the “manager”. Manager gives me the old sad story about needing to make some money. His offer was $9200 and my trade.

    I told him I wanted the car, and I wasn’t going to argue over $200. “You win.”

    Then this genius goes away and plays with the numbers to make it work. He comes back with papers in hand, ready to sign.

    The bottom line is $9142 and the trade. I shot him a look. “You came to me, practically begging for $200 over my offer. You just gave back 30% of what you were begging for. Where do I sign?”

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      I had the same thing when I bought my P5:

      I offered my out the door price. Had to negotiate with the sales guy and the manager. Finally got to the finance person, she ran the numbers, came up with a monthly payment. I calculatored term x payment and it came back $5-600 higher than my offer.

      She re-ran the numbers, new monthly payment, $2-300 LOWER than my offer. O.k., where do I sign!?

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “…..and something else even more important. It has a soul. It has character. It has toughness, individuality, and it evokes passion in this owner.”

    And the usual chorus of BMW and Porsche koolaid-drinkers knocking the ‘Stang’s interior will never ever get this concept.

    I don’t notice my cars’ interiors, ever. My cars have souls and character.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTheDriver

      Actually, as a “Porsche koolaid-drinker” … I completely understand where the author is coming from. I cant speak for the bimmer folks but I think the p-car folks get it when it comes to “soul” and “character”.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      I’m a BMW owner, and I have no problem with the Boss’s interior considering what kind of performance it delivers at a $45k price point. I’d consider owning a GT 5.0 once Ford resolves the issues with the manual transmission or simply uses a tougher gearbox.

      I’ve rented 2011 V6 Mustangs and had no problems with those cars and what they are. The seats in a ‘Stang are far superior to the standard Marquis De Sade chairs in an E90 BMW without the sport seats.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    “It doesn’t have leather seats. It doesn’t have a sunroof. It doesn’t have navigation or an entertainment system.”

    That’s exactly the feature set I was looking for when shopping for my latest car, though I was actually looking for “speed yellow” color. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Agreed. A car shouldn’t be a smart phone with wheels; it should be a car–just a car.

      As often as not, the first question I get asked by old friends who haven’t seen me in forever is: “Still own that little yellow car?” It’s become the thing that defines me.

      • 0 avatar
        ovrtme76

        Exactly why I bought my Subaru BRZ. It has nav(they all do), but no sunroof, or leather. Doesn’t even have steering wheel audio controls.
        I’ve had it for 3 days and I haven’t even turned the radio on. The car sounds way too good from 4K revs+ to bother with any other “music”.

  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    Hello Bark M., nice to meet you. Say hi to your brother, Back J.

    I’m glad you found out that the Chally isn’t a real sports car. It’s a pretend one, a two door on a platform that was originally destined for 4. And for the life of me, why do all these women think it’s “hot”? Can’t quite figure that one out.

    Regardless, Boss 302 is an awesome car, enjoy!

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Not that I’m knocking the author’s choice, but I wouldn’t consider the Boss 302 a sports car, either. Nor an M3, for that matter. An Elise or an MX-5, yes. RX-8 would be pushing it …

      But maybe my terminology is too purist?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Strictly speaking, a “sports car” is anything that follows the old MG TC/XK120 pattern.

        Two seats.
        Soft top.
        Sporting intent.
        No exceptions.

        Which means that the MX-5 gets a pass, but the Elise, RX-8, 911, et al, don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      In the Challenger’s defense, Dodge doesn’t really market it as a sports car. They pretty much seem to understand that it’s at its best when used as a large burnout factory.

      It’s the blue collar CL600.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      The original Mustang was a 2 door on the 4 door Ford Falcoln platform. But point taken — it’s been almost forever since that was true of the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      My wife loves the Challenger too, I dont get it either. I mean, in pictures or far away they look good, but up close when you see how freakin tall and huge they are I just can’t understand the appeal.

      But funny, I just re-watched Fast Five this weekend, and during the closing credits I saw that same virtual race, made me want one too!

  • avatar
    gessvt

    “You aren’t losing a dime. In fact, you’ve got $3,500 of profit in your car plus 3% holdback. That’s $5,000. If you really want to lose my business over $800, I wish you luck.”

    Well done, sir!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Cool story, Bro! Not sure about the “arrest me; attention whoring” yellow, but hey at least EVERYONE will know where you are and where you’ve been. Behave now.

    You may want to side trip down to Texas…rural state highways are allowing 75+ mph….

  • avatar
    Boff

    If that Mustang is a sports car, then the X6 is a sports sedan and the Cherokee SRT-8 is a sports wagon!

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Good story and the dealer will make at least 3-4k off the trade in so their crying about not making any money on the sale is BS . The dealerships with a good service department that customers bring their new purchase into for service make even more that way and ensure repeat business . Saw a funny ad on Pittsburgh craigslist for a yellow one claiming it was made for a Steelers fan and they would not sell it to a Ravens fan!Since they are claiming it’s only one of 20 this color in the whole country I doubt they are selling it for sticker price!

    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/ctd/3039636658.html

  • avatar
    Mud

    Very nice, well done!

    One of my favorite lines:
    “My sales guy quickly bounded out of the dealership”

    LOL, instantly almost every dealership visit I’ve had came to mind!

    Enjoy the ride :)

  • avatar
    sudden1

    What a fun read! I lack both the skills and the fight when it comes to buying cars but having purchased six new cars, I was pleased when the finance manager at my Honda dealer looked up from his computer screen as I was buying my 2007 Civic si and told me “I’ve seen better deals, but you did all right…” I felt validated. He could have fibbed and said “What a great deal!”,or not said anything. But he also knew that by speaking the truth, I wasn’t going to get up and get go back at the salesman. Somebody, sometime, will always get a better deal. I have always left happy.

  • avatar
    jco

    the story held my interest to the end, but.. the image let the air out of the suspense right away. otherwise I’d have read it not knowing the choice until 3/4 in.

    having owned both an S2000 and an s197 mustang.. I’m
    intrigued. but wow is that not a great color. almost as loud as the day-glo green one from yesterday. that being said, the grabber blue really does well on
    this car. anyways.. good read

    • 0 avatar
      Number23

      Well I traded my 2001 S2000 in for a comp orange 2012 Boss 302 and while I love the car it feels a LOT bigger than an S2000.

      However, the 5.0 V8 in the Boss pulls like a train and revs like a sportbike. It just leaps to its 7500 red line.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Fun read, correct decision. I think the Ford guy was right about one thing, that Boss 302 won’t depreciate nearly as fast as that Challenger. Treat it well and sell it for $100k in 20 years.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Lovely story, I’m happy for you (as a Ford-man by hart) and I want to get something sporty again, as soon as I don’t need the space for two large child-seats and a 12 year old :P
    A quick calculation shows that a Boss 302 with Norwegian taxes would cost me around 192.000 dollars… and that’s without the shipping…dirt cheap compared to a GT500 :P
    Guess I’ll have to find a nice fox-body if I want a 5.0 v8…

  • avatar
    Jon Fage

    Hope the hood on your 302 doesn’t rust out in 18 months like the hood on my 2011 ‘Stang did.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Aluminum doesn’t rust, it corrodes.

      I’ve heard this issue on some other Ford models (Taurus X, Taurus) and I wonder if they didn’t get the process right for aluminum when they do the “acid bath”, prior to painting.

      I assume Ford is going to fix this for you?

      We’ve been looking at some 2012 Fusion Sport models (marked down to $24.9K before X plan). Seems a pretty good compromise for the wife and I since she’ll be the primary driver and I’ll be driving it on trips. She says the Taurus is too big. I’m tempted to wait for the 2013 but all that really buys me is a less torque and a pretty wrapper.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon Fage

        I don’t care if you call it “rust”, “corrosion”, or “Robert”. It looks like hell. Apparently a TSB exists that will fix the problem, but I think that they’re just trying to delay the problem until it’s out of warranty. Once the “worm” is in, I can’t see how they can eliminate it. I want a new hood, at the very least as a measure of good will.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Has the dealer taken any steps to getting you a new hood under the TSB? I’d sure hope so!

  • avatar
    robc123

    lessons learned:

    1. don’t get married
    2. don’t have kids
    3. buy a yellow car because they are great.
    4. don’t dicker with a small haggling- it’s a pinhole leak on the Titanic of depreciation. (if you are really sensible you don’t drive 40k+ cars from America that depreciate)

  • avatar
    webleyx

    I wanted to buy a Challenger Sxt plus in Metalic Tungsten. After the test drive I knew I ddn’t want the car. Exterior is retro cool. Interior is bagain basement boring. No color no contrast featurless black. Too expensive for what it was. Though in reality about as fast as my civic si the Honda feels quicker. I’ll wait til 2014 and see if Chrysler Fiat gets it right with Barracuda. I’d consider a Mustang if they weren’t so common. Might look at an Altima 3.5 coupe on a two year lease to tide me until 2014.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “I’d consider a Mustang if they weren’t so common… Might look at an Altima…”

      What?

      Anyways, I hear the ‘Mustangs are everywhere’ complaint all the time, but Mustang buyers don’t give a care. I never did, but I suppose that’s what the aftermarket is for.

      I understand the need to stand out and the current Mustangs do blend in quite nicely. There was a newer black Mustang in front of me at a drive-thru yesterday, and I didn’t notice it until I heard the burble of a V8. A manual, no less.

      If I do get a Boss 302, it’ll be black with flat black stripes.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Why does it matter if a car is common? Why is that a bad thing? I love the massive aftermarket, cheap parts, and the likelihood that people will know how to work on it. Their commonality also makes the pricing more competitive.

      We’re talking about cars, not pieces of art.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Do people really use the word “crossover” in conversation?

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    Jack, I’ve got two words for you..

    Hell Yea!

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    45 large for a mustang, plus tax tage etc, and being gouged for insurance, sorry, i dont get it. And i really like mustangs.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Four hundred and forty four horsepower. Redlines at seven thousand. Runs with an M3 for twenty grand less and will cost far less to maintain in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        coboss

        Redlines at 7500 RPM, not 7000.

        An awesome Torsen differential.

        Adjustable Konis, standard.

        Recaros that you stick to like you have Velcro on your butt.

        Forged engine internals.

        TracKey dual-path engine tuning for street/mileage or track/performance.

        Pirelli P-Zero Corsas on 19″x9.5 wheels

        Brembos

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Yellow is the one true color for a sportscar.
    Gaze upon that picture and know it to be true.

  • avatar
    Dugan_Nash

    Nice story, but I don’t buy it. The Boss is out of stock everywhere, and when a dealership gets one they go leaps and bounds to sell it to this guy? Not only did they lose the supposed 7-10k markup that other dealers were charging, but they voluntarily gave up $2500 in trade-in cash? I liked the “discovering the joy of a true sports car” angle of the story, but the embellishment of the financial aspect for the benefit of the author’s ego was a little rich.

    • 0 avatar
      Sgt Beavis

      There are always lots of factors that come into play on these situations. That is why you should never make assumptions when going into any kind of sales deal. That holds true for both the seller and the buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ve known this guy since 1977 or so and I was on the phone with him for part of the purchase process. It’s all legit.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    All is forgiven. Bow down to the Hurricane 5.0 (always preferred that name).

  • avatar
    pb35

    I purchased a sedan about 6 weeks ago for my growing family (Dodge Charger R/T) and I already know that it’s not “the one” though it is nice and I am enjoying it. I will drive it like a taxi for a few years and trade it for something else, bald tires and all.

    Nice read, I love a good car purchase story.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    I wanted a Bullitt a few years ago and when I heard from a friend at Ford the 5.0 was coming with 100 more horsepower I waited… very glad I did! Shifter can be a little notchy but with the 3.73 gear I’ve only had one or two axle hops, and that’s driving around suburban Detroit.

    I did stay with the 18s for ride and pothole concerns, might get a set of 19s and summer tires at some point but the thing freakin’ PULLS in every gear. I don’t like the 2013 front end but I want the blacked out tailamps. My fiancee insists on riding it in for our wedding next year… she loves it too.

    Now insurance… that’s another story… you have to pay to play, I guess.

  • avatar
    etrnlrvr

    “This was not a pony car. This was a bigger, faster, and meaner looking S2000.”

    This is so ludicrous I nearly stopped reading the article.

    • 0 avatar
      blackberry422

      I’m curious why you say this. If you read the beginning of the article, it looks like the author has some extensive experience autocrossing an S2K, which would certainly teach him a lot about the way that an S2K behaves. Sounds credible to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Well, the assertion comes from a fellow who has SCCA National trophies earned with an S2000. What’s your counter-opinion?

    • 0 avatar
      coboss

      Your opinion would matter *if* you had tracked a Boss 302. Obviously, you have not.

  • avatar
    Tim Burdick

    “I couldn’t get over the fact that the Mustang was largely considered by my friends and me to be the exclusive ride of rednecks, strippers, and secretaries when we were kids.”

    This alone is reason enough to get one in my mind…

  • avatar
    midlifeboy

    So Jack, what does your brother actually do? I mean for a living, not for fun, like guest-driving for Changed Mon… :P

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Not sure if it’s the Instagram, or a desire to be artsy, but I have no idea what the car in the article actually looks like.

    Get a wide angle lens with minimal distortion and get some pictures that actually show the car and interior from different angles, or just leave out the garish photos from your articles and I’ll surf the web for my own pictures.

  • avatar
    mffdoc

    As a recent convert to TTAC from print rags, I do like Mr Baruth’s view of things. Thought I’d add my own recent experience at (attempting despite Ford’s best efforts to prevent me from) buying a Boss 302. I live in a military town and wear a uniform to work, and am no stranger to the peculiarities associated with dealerships serving this population (something akin to using a shop-vac to empty our pockets). Anyhow, a Grabber Blue 2013 Boss appeared at one of the local dealerships. I went in prepared to demonstrate solvency in order to test-drive the car, as I’d already exposed myself to the thriving ebay marketplace for these at substantial markups and with 5 miles on the clock. I was faced with a non-negotiable $5K ‘market adjustment’ (conspicuously absent on the black 2013 Shelby sitting next to it) and an adamant refusal to let me drive the car until I’d signed a contract to buy it. I channeled Nancy Reagan and just said no. A week later I drove 100 miles to another Ford dealer in NC that had some Roushes on the lot. I was greeted by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable salesman in a Roush / Ford shirt. No, they didn’t have any Bosses, but could get me one, if I was patient. In the meantime, would I like to look at this thing over here…

    It seems this dealership has a nice agreement with a local speed shop on it’s way up–they provide a mustang GT, and in a few weeks get back something unique, complete with dyno graphs, and, in my case, two large color foam-core posters from Mustang Week 2012 in Wilmington, NC. It was black, all stripes deleted, aftermarket suede inserts in the seats (front and back), lowered on FRPP springs (which, amazingly, prompted no rub on the test drive where I deliberately crossed some railroad tracks), ludicrously expensive forged wheels, Shelby wing and exhaust, FRPP 2.3L supercharger…and more. It was so black you couldn’t really get your eyes around it. No unsightly side vents. No garish stripe packages. No “Roushcharged!” sticker on the hood.

    “Can I drive it?” I mumbled, thinking that I’d wanted a car like this since I was 13, but couldn’t possibly spend the money, but I was safe because something unique like this couldn’t possible be let out of the air-conditioned safety of the showroom without…

    “I’ll get the keys”. I drove it home later that day and haven’t stopped grinning since. Everytime I turn the key, I feel 18 and have to suppress the urge to do a big nasty doughnut in the parking lot at work. Ultimately, it ended up costing a bit more than a Boss with the ‘market adjustment’. Yet not a single regret. The saleman showed me his 2010 Shelby, freshly updated. The performance manager showed me his Roush. The owner showed me his Roush (I know, it sounds kind of inappropriate, but you had to be there). They loved what they did and what they sold, and made sure I drove a couple other cars for comparison. Ford could learn a lesson from this. I’m sure the collector market for Bosses is thriving, but wasn’t this a car built to drive, and drive (on occasion) foolishly? What a waste, but I’m glad to hear someone got one who will use it (and enjoy it) to it’s potential.


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