By on November 4, 2015


As I travel this great nation of ours on a weekly basis, I am often asked the same question by people I meet. Whether it’s a stranger in an adjoining seats on a planes, a fellow patron dining solo at a restaurant, or even a new colleague whom I haven’t met, they all ask me the same thing:

“So, where do you call home?”

When I reply that I reside squarely in the middle of the Bluegrass in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I can tell immediately if my interrogator has ever been there simply by the way that he responds. If he has never visited our great state, he’ll likely crack some sort of joke about missing teeth or southern diphthongs. But, if he has, he’ll nearly always reply, “Oh, it’s so gorgeous there. You must love it.”

To which I reply: “Yes. Yes, I do.”

However, even relatively frequent visitors to my home state — or even perhaps you, the frequent visitor to TTAC — are often unaware of the severity of the winters in Kentucky. I live only eighty miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. We get nearly exactly the same weather as our bordering neighbors to the north, only instead of the the snow that Buckeyes tend to get, we regularly get sheets of ice on our roads. As you can imagine, this can make driving a 444 horsepower, rear-wheel-drive pony car a bit treacherous.

And, as such, as I pulled out my iPad to make my rather oppressive payment on my Boss 302 Mustang, I wondered to myself: How often do I actually drive this thing? Do I drive it enough to keep paying such a large sum to own it? And how much will I really be driving it over the next four wintry months?

The answers to my questions led me to an ultimate answer that I didn’t expect, and I certainly didn’t like.

When I figured out the number of actual miles I’ve put on the Boss over the 42 months since I purchased it, I realized that I actually drive it around eight hundred miles a month. That hasn’t always been the case. In fact, at this same time last year, I was driving it considerably more — nearly eleven hundred miles a month. Then, I realized a truth that was self-evident once I chose to look at it: I have only driven the 302 three thousand miles this calendar year. And the reason was the rollerskate-looking thing that sits happily in the driveway, subjected to all of the elements while the Boss sits coolly in the garage.

Yep, you guessed it. Nearly nine thousand miles — or, in other words, all the workload that the Boss used to handle — have rolled their way around the odometer of my Fiesta ST in the nine months since I leased it. And, when I think about it, the only time I haven’t driven the Fiesta is when I am driving the Mustang for a specific reason; going to the track, driving it to a special event, etc. I never take it to the airport. I never drive it on trips. I never take it on trips to the store, or even to pick up the kids from school anymore. It’s been relegated to garage queen duty.

Which would be fine if I lovingly wiped it with a diaper every day, or if I admired it longingly as I leaned against the entryway to my door. But I don’t. I have too much seat time behind the wheel of the GT350 to really continue to love my Boss the way I used to. It’s not a classic car. It’s not a new car. It’s just … used. And that doesn’t do it for me anymore.

So, I sat down with Mrs. Bark, and explained that the 302 would be heading to a new home as soon as possible. While she’s no car lover, she knows how much I used to love it, and she could tell that I had lost my zest for the five-point-oh. She wasn’t the tough sell.

Neither was my daughter, Regan.

“Can we get another Mustang someday?” Maybe. “Okay.”

No, that was going to be my son, Kevin. When I tried to tell him that I wanted to sell the car, he wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence .

“No, we are not selling the Mustang.” He would not be dissuaded. He began to cry immediately. He didn’t stop for an hour. Once he stopped, he refused to talk to me for quite some time. He then woke up crying in the middle of the night.

It’s the only car he’s ever known. As a seven year old, he only has vague memories of the Boss’ predecessor, my Pontiac G8 GT, which he calls “the white car.” He knows that all the kids at school love the Mustang. His principal asks him every day if his dad brought “the cool car.”

I nearly caved twice. In fact, I did cave once, only to be brought back to a place of common sense by Mrs. Bark.

“Remember that he cried when we turned in my CX-7 at the end of its lease? And that he cried when we traded in the Equinox on the Flex? ”

She also gave me a piece of great advice, as only a wife can. “You know, the FiST is pretty cool. You’ve just never let Kevin see that it’s cool.”

She was so right. The Fiesta ST is a pretty damn cool car. Not only do I enjoy driving it on the street more than the Boss, I even enjoy driving it more on the track. It’s the most well-settled street car I’ve ever driven. The Performance Blue color is beautiful. Sure, it’s an acquired taste visually, but at the very least it’s unique.

So I sat down with Kevin and explained all that to him. I told him that he’d likely be too big to sit in the back of the Mustang soon (he’s already cramped), and that, most importantly, when the Fiesta lease was over, he and I could do some car shopping together, and if wanted to, he could help me pick out our next ride. (I already have it picked out: a Focus RS in Stealth Gray. He doesn’t know that.) He liked that idea, although he thought it should be less like a year from now, and maybe more like “a few days from now.” We’ll work on that.

The end result? Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bark M. Boss 302 is officially for sale.

I’m not going to advertise it on Craigslist or Autotrader. I don’t want endless parades of tire kickers, or people who want to take it on sweet test drives. No, I will either sell to a friend (internet or real), or I’ll dump it on my local Ford dealer, who’s been salivating at the thought of acquiring it. So if you think you’d like to send me a check for a few dollars over the wholesale-ish price that they’re likely to offer me, hit me up on the Twitters (@barkm302).

Damn. Do I have to change my Twitter handle? Hmm. Didn’t think of that.

You know what — no. I don’t.

The Boss was part of my life for three and half years; the longest timeframe that I’ve ever owned any car in my life. It was the first car I drove on track. It was the first car I ever owned that I would have called my “dream car.” Maybe, thirty years from now, I’ll regret that I sold it. But I’ll never regret owning it. It doesn’t define me, but it’s definitely part of me.

In the meantime, I can enjoy taking Kevin and Regan on spins to Tasty Time for ice cream after soccer in the FiST, and I can do it on 87 octane gasoline at 33 mpg. I can grab a set of snow tires and plow through the wintry mix. And even at less than half the cost of the Boss, it’s certainly more than half the car.

In fact, in many ways, it’s much, much more.

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153 Comments on “Long-Term Tester Update: The FiST Is So Good, It’s Become The New Boss of the House...”

  • avatar

    “It’s not a classic car. It’s not a new car. It’s just … used.”

    Eventually that beautiful Boss *will* be a classic car. The Fiesta will eventually be part of the hull of an oil tanker.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. FiST is timeless in the same way an E30 M3 or ITR are. Boss 302 is good, but not leaps and bounds beyond the same year Mustang. I don’t think either are headed for scrap.

      • 0 avatar

        Boss Mustangs continue to sell for a good price. Its not unusual to find them going for nearly as much as the original sticker. They tend to hold value a bit better than any of the pre 13/14 GT500s.

      • 0 avatar

        “FiST is timeless in the same way an E30 M3 or ITR are.”


      • 0 avatar

        The FiST is definitely special enough to be in the Integra Type-R / Sierra Cosworth / Peugeot 206 pantheon of classic hot hatches. The FiST has the added benefit of being a car that young people are buying, which they’ll associate with their carefree single years. In 20 or 30 years those folks will be past their minivan/CUV years and will want to recapture their youth by buying a FiST again.

        Not sure there are too many 25 year olds today that are lusting after a Boss 302, much less driving one.

        • 0 avatar

          The e30 M3 was a homologation special. It was the original M3, which is now among the most universally respected performance sedan names. The e30 is also arguably the most iconic 3 series, which is again iconic on its own. Production numbers per wikipedia for its entire life across in US is just over 5,000 cars. There is no comparison to the FiST.

          Integra Type-R is a better, but still wrong, comparison. Again, it comes down to the numbers. Integra Type-R, only 3822 in US.

          FiST shows ~5k cars a year according to a couple sources from a quick search.

          Both the Integra and e30 are also timeless designs. The FiST may be a great car, but it’s not good looking.

          I don’t know enough about the Sierra or Peugeot to reply.

          Better comparisons would be something like the first gen Sentra se-r, the Dodge Neon SRT, or whatever generation GTI you fancy.

          • 0 avatar

            The Sierra Cosworth was also an homologation special with 5,000 built, and competed directly against the M3. The 206 GTi was a routine hot hatch (I wonder if baconator meant the 205, which is the real icon?) and built in quantity.

            I agree the Fiesta ST won’t be as collectible as the Boss 302 but it won’t be far behind. Not many of the Boss’ won’t make it to 30 years old, but comparatively not many FiSTs will. Those that do will be sought after just like an early Civic Si or CRX is now.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      Agree with this. The Boss is a future classic that was only made in (relatively) limited numbers. How many more months do you have to make payments on the Boss? Keep it, use it lightly, and enjoy low depreciation Mustang ownership.

  • avatar

    I like the idea of the Fiesta ST. However, I can’t stand the ugly “robot sex” interior or seating that’s less than ideal for anyone over 6′ and mostly torso.

    • 0 avatar

      I want one really badly, but the tiny rear seat’s inability to hold a rear facing infant seat is a deal breaker.

      • 0 avatar

        I have fit both a rear facing infant seat and then a larger rear facing convertible seat in mine.

        My FiST serves double duty as a daily family taxi and weekend autocross car. $21k purchase price and 30+ mpg make for a tough to beat package. The interior size, materials and design aren’t glamorous and its suspension design can’t escape its econobox roots. If folks can accept that, they will find a car that is much more than the sum of its parts.

    • 0 avatar

      Best part about being 5’9″. All cars are designed for me!

      • 0 avatar

        My grandfather, who was a foreman at American Motors when he retired, told me something similar when I complained about not being bigger, as a HS football player.

        He said that almost all machinery and vehicles are designed for someone between five-eight and five-ten, and as I got older I would find being that tall to be an advantage.

        I couldn’t see that when I was an OLB getting creamed by a blocking back on sweeper plays coming my way, time after time. They were a much better team in many ways, and they found out that if they could block me they could get five to ten yards on every run. And of course the guy I had to get through was about six-three and two-fifty to my five-ten and a buck forty something. The starter got hurt and was taken out in the first quarter. That was the longest forty five minutes of my life up to that time, but at least I kept standing up and kept on preventing the blocking back from decking me and then getting to block a safety as well.

        I like being five-ten a lot better now that I am grown, and supposedly an adult.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m in the 6 footer neighborhood and I fit in a Fiesta ST when I did a test drive before getting my Accord. I really liked the car, I just thought the clutch pedal was heavy when compared to the clutch pedal from a Mazda or Honda.

  • avatar

    Thanks for doing your part to keep the economy rolling.

    This grouch is too cheap so I tend buy old and keep them for a long time (9, 15, and 23 years old). I would buy the Fiesta if it were at least 10.

  • avatar

    I usually drive my 69 Mustang more than 3000 miles per year. In the 26 years I have owned it, I have driven it 100,000 miles. You and I are exact opposites regarding car ownership. You trade often and I rarely do. I seem to get very attached to my vehicles. A strange addiction.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I somehow fall between the two of you. I have 5 cars right now because I have such a hard time letting go of them but I never drive them. I drive my Impala (which I’ve had since ’94) about 20 miles per year without any valid reason. The GTO (2012) gets just under 3,000 a year. My Subaru (2010) gets around 4,000 miles. I have only had my truck for just under a year and I think I’ve put about 2,500 miles on it. And the Lexus project I just bought to fix up for my mom has amassed about 100 miles since I got it in September.

      I consider selling some of them and if I even get it listed, it’s half-hearted and the ad comes down fairly quickly.

  • avatar

    Who cares what your entitled kid thinks? The weight you give his opinion on this matter is, uh, interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      How old are you, and do you have kids of your own?

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012


        Heck, I remember being upset as a kid when my mom got rid of a f***ing CITATION for a Celebrity Eurosport Wagon. His kid is 7, not 17.

      • 0 avatar

        With my 6 year old daughter it’s interesting. She has decided that daddy should definitely drive a 4 door car! For any readers here unfamiliar I currently drive a 2006 RSX Type S, and I think she is tired of climbing in behind the seat, and she isn’t entirely thrilled with her view out the rear window.

        Am I going to cave to her and buy a 4 door? I admit I have been looking, I admit that her case is logical. I found a nice ’08 Lexus GS460 locally that might be interesting, but that’s gone already. But really, I probably won’t because I like my Acura too much.

        Another fun anecdote was I saw an article about a motorcycle. I showed it to my daughter and asked if she thought dad would have fun on it. Her response: “No!” Me: “Awww,why not?” Her: “You might get hurt”

        I have to say, my daughter might have better sense than her dad at this point on these things. Maybe I should be listening to her :)

      • 0 avatar


        “How old are you, and do you have kids of your own?”

        I sure hope not. If he does, I feel bad for them.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I thought the same thing. I has never occurred to me to ask my kids about my car decisions. It is just none of their business.

      • 0 avatar

        My mom recently sold an early production Solstice. It had maybe 9k miles on it. She and my Dad consulted their thirty-something year old son before they dumped it. You know what? I love them that much more because they have always valued my opinion. I am also still very close with them even though I’m 1000 miles apart.

        Food for thought.

        • 0 avatar

          That is a good thing that you pointed out, Tresmonos.

          I intend to keep on being the way your parents are with my son when he is that age, which will be some ten to twenty years down the line. Though I hope he won’t be a 1000 miles away, and I hope I stay active and healthy that long, as well.

          Interesting side note: Comprendo lo que significa “Tresmonos”. It means “three monkeys” for those of you who don’t know Spanish.

          I have had a small set of the three brass monkeys, each reflecting one of the three saying, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. I keep it on my dresser as a daily reminder.

          And one of my martial arts teachers started his own dojo in upstate NY, and he called it “The school of the fourth monkey”, which was “do no evil”.

          How’d you get your handle?

          • 0 avatar

            spanish class in high school. I had three brothers. My teacher bestowed it upon us.

            Never did I think it would hold any significance later on in life until I worked 1.5 years in Districto Federal. Life was a full circle.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I don’t plan on selling my S2000, but every once in a while in a dark place I look at the +/- $12k parked in my garage and thing “what if…” Then I think about telling my 3y/o daughter, who EVERY MORNING begs me to drive her the 1/4 miles to school in it, who once a week says “daddy, will you teach me to drive red car some day”, who tells all her friends “look in my garage at daddy’s red car!” that we’re selling it. Nope. Never. Can’t do it. Call me whatever you want, but when your little kid is passionate about the same thing you are, even in a juvenile, fleeting, 3y/o kind of way, it does something to you man.

    • 0 avatar

      You must be a wonderful parent. Are you adopting? I can’t wait to be ignored and called “entitled” again. I really miss the times when my parents did that to me.

  • avatar

    With apologies to South Park’s underwear gnomes:

    Step 1: Sell Boss.

    Step 3: End up with GT350 in garage.

    “R” version, of course.

    Note: This may take a few years to transpire.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “The Boss was part of my life for three and half years; the longest timeframe that I’ve ever owned any car in my life.”

    Not judging, but maybe that’s the problem. I’ve dumped cars I didn’t like. Thing is, the cars that I really like I haven’t considered selling. The thought doesn’t cross my mind. Or maybe it crosses my mind for a few seconds when somebody offers me a lot of money for them (unprompted).

    Is there a “forbidden fruit” car that you’ve been subconsciously avoiding? Something that makes you want to trade-in any other car in less than three years? Tell me if I’m out of line, but maybe the car you secretly want isn’t even a Ford product. Not saying that’s the case, but it’s a possibility.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing out of line about suggesting I’m interested in something other than a Blue Oval! :)

      What’s weird is that I would normally feel the need to replace the Boss with something, but I think I preemptively replaced the Boss with the FiST nine months ago—I just didn’t realize it at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I was thinking of my cousin (same age as me) who grew-up in a Ford family, the type that had an old F100 in the barn, and always bought Fords. We were all shocked when he replaced his F250 with a Ram. The divorce and second marriage we all took in stride, but we never imagined he would switch brands.

        He seem happier now, although that may be because his wife is a sweetheart.

  • avatar

    While readily admitting I’ve never driven either car, I can’t conceive of a world in which a Fiesta, even in ST form, is more desirable in any way than a Boss 302. I live in New England, where we know a thing or two about nasty winter weather, but I’d have this 302 and a winter beater over the FiST all day, any day.

  • avatar

    The Fiesta ST is not some low-pressure turbo – you don’t run it on 87.

    If I were attending track days, then making sure I almost empty the tank just before the event, filling it up with premium, getting on it a lot on the way to the track so that the ECU can come up with a new map for the higher octane fuel…that’s a PIA.

    You’re driving a thousand miles a month – it would cost you an extra three bucks a week to run 91. C’mon – make coffee at home one day a week, or something.

    Good premium has a more comprehensive additive/detergent package, and this car is direct injection, etc…just no. No regular.

  • avatar

    I know you probably have, but you don’t mention the effect of adding the three to four thousand miles per year you drive the Boss to the FiST miles, and its effect on your mileage charges on the lease.

    But if you haven’t considered that, it might come up to bite you later. If you have, you owe it to your readers to let us know how you made sure that losing the Boss wouldn’t add overcharge miles to the lease (or that you did figure it, and the amount doeesn’t change your calcs.)

    Two other caveats. The first: if Kevin reads your article later, he is going to feel betrayed when he find out his involvement in your next acquisition will be strictly a placebo to pacify him.

    I never lied to my son, and I told him I never would, and that he would never need to lie to me, even if it was something he knew I wouldn’t want to hear. I felt at the beginning that that was an important thing for him to know was operational for us. And I think that one thing went a long way towards the fact that his teen years were relatively untroubled, and untroubling to me. So as an online friend, even if I don’t rise to the level of a real friend, I would advise you to either open up the selection process, and be prepared to let him have a real opportunity to persuade you in another direction, or at least ‘fess up that the next choice is already made, and is your choice, but that he gets to choose the one after that. Your choice, but I really feel strongly that having that bond of honesty between you and your son will prove to be more important than for example, getting the Focus in a different color, or getting a different vehicle.

    It might end up costing you a good car for him when he is old enough, but that would be a small price by comparison.

    The other issue is less important, but I believe is real. You might end up missing the 302 more than you think, somewhere down the line. I did something similar with my 88 TBird with the 302 motor, and a lot of cool extras, opting for a Trooper to be able to haul my new family around in (one kid inherited and one home grown.) Years later I knew I had done the right thing for the time, but I still wish I had hung on to it anyway. It was real and it was unique, not just another car. And to replace it with an identical one in good shape would be either very expensive, or impossible.

    I can see the value of making the switch at this point in your life. But the plain fact is that no matter how much fun the FiST is, it doesn’t have the soul and the uniqueness of the Boss 302. The Boss is not just one more “yet another Mustang”, it is a special machine. The FiST is a good little mini-racer in street clothing, but it will end up being just one of many, one of many FiST’s and one of many hot street & track setups.

    So think long and hard before you let the Boss go, even if the FiST is a more modern and more fun car most of the time.

    But in the end, you can’t go wrong either way. But you will miss the Boss someday more than you think now, even if you feel you did the right thing.

    But I would definitely rethink trying to get over on your son about how the next car will be selected. Either go back to your original commitment and mean it, or negotiate some other deal he can accept.

    Or even consider giving him the option of having the Boss as his first car, or if it gets sold, getting to pick out another car within the range of cost the two of you agree on.

    But he is going to be a hardcore auto guy no matter what, to feel that strongly about wheels he likes. So much that he is willing to risk “cool points” for not crying, in order to deal with how much he likes the cars you have chosen.

    At the least, I would suggest that you show him the Stealth Gray car now, and tell him that is the one you think should be next. In that way, at least you have a good bit of time left to try to get him on board with your choice.

    Good luck with all of it, Bark. Be sure to please let us know how things play out as time goes by. Great article…one of the best I have ever seen about not just obtaining a car or getting rid of a car, but the tradeoffs involved, including the effect on your psyche and those of your family members.

  • avatar

    Financial logic wins in the end. Buying a new sports car as a second car just makes no sense. It won’t get driven enough to make the payment worthwhile.

  • avatar

    Sounds right to me ~

    You bought and enjoyed it , you no longer do so move on .


  • avatar

    Bark, I can feel the pain of your son. When I was his age, I would get very angry and sad at my father for selling his “cool” cars. When I was seven, I even wrote a letter to the new owner of one of my dad’s Fieros, telling him I would buy it back, once I saved enough money. It is hard for little kids to understand why us adults do the things we do.

  • avatar

    Don’t understand some of this article. Even though I don’t have children, I was one. My memory is excellent, so I reach the following conclusion:

    Tell your child, “Your mother and I have decided to sell the Mustang. It was no longer practical to keep it.” End.

    If he complains, point out that someday he will be old enough to drive, and at that time you and he will work together to get him a car he likes, given that it will have to be practical and affordable.

    He will get over it. You will have to do things that are much more painful to him than this. He may as well get used to it. Once he is an adult, other people will do things to him that are much more painful, and he will have to do some of those to others (think US Army drill sergreant, or soon-to-be-ex-wife).

    • 0 avatar

      You’re just old and out of touch. These days parents negotiate with even their young children about decisions that used to be adults only. It is ridiculous, but apparently the norm.

      • 0 avatar

        Sometimes I make my daughter think she has a choice. “Do you want to go to bed right now? Or do you want to take a bath, read a book, and then go to bed?”

      • 0 avatar

        A norm does not equate to being accurate or correct.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t wait to see how this generation of young kids will play out once they start getting drafted. Or, will the Army behave just like their parents do?

        How will that work, to have a regiment full of special snowflakes, each with his or her own special requirements and Individualized Combat Plans?

        • 0 avatar

          Um, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we don’t have a draft anymore. The military will be able to meet it’s recruitment goals for the foreseeable future and will continue to add machines and drones in order to augment downsizing of human troops.

          • 0 avatar

            I wonder how many soldiers it will take to occupy the Middle East and root out ISIS and equivalent entities. I think we are headed there, in force, and will end up maintaining a presence for at least as long as we kept one in Western Europe. The Russians have not yet established themselves clearly as on the other side from us, but that could be happening.

            I will be very surprised if there is not a major war in that area within my lifetime (I’m 53). I think such an event would change the recruitment goals of the US military and I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to see that it would require a US military draft, including both males and females.

        • 0 avatar

          Draft is possible but unlikely. Chances are if such a thing were enacted things are very very bad.

          Another thing which occurred to me if there was a draft and the nation was not under formal invasion, the overseas conflict would be a great way to drain manpower and leave the country open for colonization/invasion by Asian forces.

          • 0 avatar

            Draft isn’t going to happen. The military may be short on recruiting this year, but they’ve only been off three of the last twenty years. They can reduce the recently tightened requirements if they really need some extra frontline infantry.

          • 0 avatar

            Seems these days air power and black ops are what matter. Infantry seems to be used to hold positions and act as occasional cannon fodder. Short of serious armed conflict that is of course, then other assets come into play.

          • 0 avatar

            Well air power will be increasingly handled by unmanned aerial vehicles. The military is increasing Special Forces numbers as well. The issue with that is standards for some of those special operation military units are dropping. When I completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program, the pass rate was 30%. Some of the recent classes of it’s replacement, Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, have had 80% or better. There are soldiers that fail land nav that still passed. That is completely unacceptable. About the same percentage of soldiers are making it through Ranger School, which comes after RASP/RIP, but the quality of the candidates has gone down.

          • 0 avatar

            Watering it down is actually kinda scary.

        • 0 avatar

          Now you’re just being daft. In case you haven’t noticed, the point of basic is to break down any outside influences so that the resulting puddle of jelly is remolded in the Army way.

          • 0 avatar

            Basic Training intensity depends on where you go. If you are not enlisting in the infantry, pray like he!! that you don’t get sent to Fort Benning.

          • 0 avatar

            I can’t speak for myself, since apparently I’m physically unfit for duty (legally deaf in one ear), but a good friend of mine was sent to Fort Bragg and he was almost 100% a different guy coming out the other end.

          • 0 avatar

            Bragg doesn’t have basic training, but yes, if you are sent there, it’s because you are in the 82nd Airborne or a Special Forces Unit. You typically don’t come back from that the same.

            I’ve been there a few times for training. Ghosts live there.

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe I’m thinking of a different one, then?

          • 0 avatar

            You are thinking Fort Benning, GA. Home to the Army Infantry Training Center. H#ll on earth. If you are in the infantry, the walk from 20th AG to your basic training battalion, and everything that happens after that, is like being Dante’s Inferno. Every step is one step deeper into H#ll. The Drill Sergeant is God and Satan all rolled into one. You won’t be able to escape hell by crawling down Satan’s fur into Purgatory either. Satan is smarter than Dante ever envisioned. He tells you if and when you get out of H#ll.

          • 0 avatar

            “Joke’s on you, Drill Sergeant! I’m a Lutheran! We don’t believe in purgatory, so Dante’s Inferno is glorified fanfiction for all I’m concerned!”

          • 0 avatar

            The watering down is real, though the Marine Corps has been conducting real world studies aimed at preventing their being mandated to go along with that.

            And while I don’t think the Corps’ aim is to reduce you to a puddle of jelly, their aim is similar.

            My induction platoon was somewhat unique in composition, which resulted in our training DI being very candid with us at the end, and asking us to be the same.

            I was one of a few hundred people who had joined on officer training program on the way to college, but who later changed majors, making me ineligible for that program. Hence, I had to discharge my obligation to the Corps by starting as a grunt (as all Marines, except for band, do).

            My platoon consisted of entirely people like myself, who by the time we went to Parris Island had had some college, and had gotten there the same way I had, by switching majors.

            As a form of quality control (I suppose), they put two young guys from TN in with our bunch, one with a fifth grade education, and one with a seventh grade education.

            During the last couple of days of boot camp, the training DI told us that we were an experiment on the effect of forming basic platoons out of college-educated grunts, vs. blending them in with regular basic platoons.

            The two big takeaways were first, that we learned more quickly, but wanted to understand more of what we were doing and why, and second, that unlike their typical recruit, fresh out of Mom and Dad’s home and into the Corps, we were somewhat more self-sufficient, and hence did not respond the same way to their standard tactics.

            The standard tactic was to take highly dependent and emotionally immature kids and break them down til they realized that they could not expect to have things work the way they did at home, and then to build them up and form them into the “lean green fighting machines” that we were all expected to become.

            He said that on the one hand, we weren’t as easily intimidated, even though they had total control over our lives, 24×7, and that we seemed to understand that there were still limits to their power, but that we needed to, and would, go along with the program, as the most expedient way of getting the h#ll over with. (If you flunked out, almost always you were forced to repeat one or more times before they would consider giving up on you and sending you home.)

            But apropos the comment about reducing Army reducing the recruit to a puddle of jello, the Corps’ view was that as non-Marines, we might as well already be just a puddle of jelly. All they wanted to do was to make sure that you knew that “you weren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy”.

            Once they knew that you realized that the rules were all different, and that they knew them and you didn’t, you were ready to start paying attention to the rules of becoming a Marine.

            They didn’t want you to be reduced to feeling like you were a zero. They wanted you just to realize that as a non-Marine, you WERE a zero, until you did what you had to do, and learned what you had to learn.

            I was also lucky in that an older brother of a football buddy and his older cheerleader sister had been in the Corps, and he explained to me that they would try to make you feel like they hated you, but that they were doing it in order to make you into something worthy of respect, so I never felt like I was all alone in hell.

            He also taught me that when we went into the tear gas tent and they told you to take off your mask and sing the Marine Corps hymn not to try to be cute and hold your breath, or they would make you sing all three verses. Instead he said to shout it out as loud as you could, and they would give you a pass and let you out after the first verse.

            Great advice. While some of my “clever” buddies who thought they could hold their breath long enough found out that they were wrong, and ended up puking their guts out, I was standing under a tree with a couple of my buddies I had told about the singing, just rinsing the teargas out of our eyes with our canteens, but not having the other problems.

            Purpose of that drill: to teach us it was better to hit a problem head on and give it all we had, rather than to try to pussyfoot around, hoping to avoid damage.

            So to this day, I still say “God bless the Marine Corps!”

            Semper Fi! from an old 0311 infantryman, later Amtrac crewman, and finally NBC decontamination specialist.

            And yes, I learned something in the Corps that was useful in civilian life. Many things, actually. But one of them was that I could avoid ninety-nine per cent of the radiation from Three Mile Island just by hosing down my house two or three times a day.


          • 0 avatar

            I thought the Army got away from the whole “evil drill sergeant nearly killing you in basic” a few years ago. Sounds like not.

            I would never be cut out for such an occupation!

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe they have. I went to basic training over a decade ago.

    • 0 avatar

      Barring the adults-only game of real money and family budget, why shouldn’t the kids have some say in something that affects their lives?

      If the kids ride in the car a lot, and they liked it, why can’t they protest the decision to get rid of the Boss? Who am I to tell him to ignore his children? They may not have any right to the final decision, but if Bark can afford the car, why shouldn’t he allow and consider their input to some extent?

      • 0 avatar

        I agree. If you’re passionate about the car you drive and the process of choosing a new one, why would you not include your child as an opportunity to bond over the process and hopefully instill the same enthusiasm in them? I’m not saying giving them veto power or being bound by their preferences, but Bark’s inclusion of his son in “choosing” the Focus RS sounds like a great time. My daughter “picked” my 2015 GTI (although I’d already driven it and made the deal). I talked with her about why I liked the car and why I wanted a manual transmission. She just got her instruction permit last week and is busy wearing out the clutch learning to drive it. I enjoy the process of teaching her and just riding around as she’d driving. We’ve talked about what kind of car she would like to get (and what she can afford) and her primary criteria is that it’s a manual. Makes me smile.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      If my dad had a bada** orange muscle car and told me he was selling it for a (very nice) warmed over turbo tin box, I’d be indignant too. And I’m 33.

  • avatar

    Still drooling over the Focus ST and RS. I just need a bigger car than a FiST.

    • 0 avatar

      The Focus is just a damn good looking car. For whatever reason, even a more run of the mill Focus hatch just wears the current Ford trapezoid language the best of anything else in the Ford lineup. Add the slick touches of the ST and its damn fine.

    • 0 avatar

      I will have a Focus ST one day soon. I hope. (Replacing an ’03 Focus SVT.) I’d have bet actual money Bark M. would end up with a Focus RS, which looks likely; I’d love one myself but there’s that “actual money” issue.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with PrincipalDan. I just rented a Fiesta and was hoping it would be big enough for me to own. With the seat back far enough to drive, my elbow is behind the armrest, and there is no room for kids with legs in the back seat. Coincidentally, when I rented the Fiesta, I was traveling to see my favorite new musical artist in the last 25 years, Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson.

  • avatar

    Ouch ! Bye Bye Boss, you’ll come to regret it… you’ll wake up one night and scream “WHAT HAVE I DONE?” or not. Oh, and the new Camaro is pretty awesome.

  • avatar

    It probably a good time to sell the 302 as general availability of the GT350 will probably not be kind to its resale value.

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Good thinking. A good friend bought an ’08 Bullitt thinking it would be a collector car (and I agreed)…then the 5.0 Coyote came out.

      So he sold it and bought a GT500. 662hp. “This is it,” he said, “the muscle car that will never be topped.” And I agreed…then the Hellcat came out.

      I don’t know how much longer this can go on, but it sure is a fun ride while it does.

  • avatar

    According to consumer reports the Fiesta ST is a grossly unreliable car. Major transmission and engine problems from new. The bottom of the barrel.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fiesta is rated unreliable – and one reason is the automatic transmission. Which the Fiesta ST doesn’t have.

    • 0 avatar

      Consumer Reports — The be-all, end-all bible for buyers of FiSTs, FoSTs, FoRSs, Boss302s, GT350s and cars of that ilk…… :)

      Cars, at least ones even remotely based on something mainstream, just aren’t unreliable anymore.

  • avatar


    • 0 avatar

      He would tell Bark to buy a bunch of cars on credit, file for bankruptcy, then get right with Jesus, counsel church members on financial literacy, write a book, go on Opera, and make millions.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife has a Dave Ramsay sticker on the back of her van. It says “act your wage”. And yes, he has spoken at our church.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t mind Dave Ramsey. Most of his stuff is common sense based. At the same time, I don’t always agree with his views on credit and mortgages. 30 year mortgages and super low interest rate financing on cars is fine. Even if I have the money to afford a 15 year mortgage or buy a car with cash, I like keeping my cash or using it to invest.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree, the last new car I bought I financed through GMAC (remember them?). It was for 0% interest, so why not use their money.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Ramsey’s advice is irresponsible, IMO. The whole “you must pay off all debt before you invest” thing is absurd considering rates on things like cars, and things like employer match on 401ks. I’m not going to give up the 150% return (match + gains + tax benefits) on my 401k, or the time compounding factor on my ROTH IRA, in order to pay off my 1.9% car loan.

          • 0 avatar


            His advice made a ton of sense 15 years ago, and will probably make a ton of sense 10 years from now, but Dave Ramsey is out to lunch at the moment. Interest rates are freakishly low, take advantage of that fact, it won’t last forever.


  • avatar

    I don’t know about your choices in cars, but it sounds like you chose very well when it came to getting married.

    When I think of Kentucky (having spent very little time there except for part of a drive across the country when I was 8), I think of bourbon, and feel patriotic about it. I had some Blanton’s last night at my favorite restaurant/bar in the Boston area.

    And of course, Lincoln was born when his family lived on Knob Creek.

  • avatar

    First off, I am glad the FiST exists. Its truly an enthusiasts car.

    That said, I don’t get it. No, thats not fair. Its just not for me. Its got the almost inescapable B-Segment ugly factor. I’ve ridden in one and I wouldn’t care too for long distances. I don’t track, and even my rare jaunts through the Rockies don’t overcome my priority of comfort over tight handling.

    When myself and the esteemed Mr. Kriendler met in Calgary and he had the green Tresmonos press fleet FiST, we took turns in each others cars, and the consensus was “I can see what you like about it, but I wouldnt want to daily it.” I thought the FiST pulled hard, and it surely did corner well but it was too harsh for my liking. Same thing, he appreciated the Buick’s torque and comfort, but would be bored of it.

    Its nice to see a car and driver come together like Bark and his FiST.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t really get the harshness, but then again, I’ve never owned a Buick. I found the FiST plenty comfortable for uninterrupted-except-for-gas LA-Bozeman; then another uninterrupted return. It is an absolutely amazing street car. I personally prefer higher revving NA mills, but I know many don’t, and for passing at altitude, the turbos are convenient.

      The biggest “fail” I could find on the FiST, is the ridiculously low first, and subsequent big jump from first to second. It’s noticeable enough to make me wonder if the responsible engineer rolls coal in a Ram HD with G56 on his off time, as it just doesn’t make much sense in a passenger car. But aside from that minor niggle, I bet warm memories of a 2 year FiST lease, will stay with an enthusiast at least as long ditto on a Boss.

  • avatar

    This is why I didn’t like Corey using Kentuckian to describe my car tastes. I know nothing about Kentucky, so I had no idea what his meaning was.

  • avatar

    Bark, what does your current garage look like? Is it basically Flex and FiST?

    • 0 avatar

      After the Boss sale, that will be accurate.

      • 0 avatar

        Do you happen to know off hand the differences in your Boss vs a GT? Seems like a slight bump in bhp, maybe a brake, suspension, and handling package but otherwise similar to a GT.

        • 0 avatar

          Here is a summary of upgrades/changes from the GT to Boss 302:

          Boss 302R Intake
          Forged Pistons
          Upgraded Con-Rods
          Race-Spec Main and Rod Bearings
          Larger Sodium Filled Exhaust Valves
          Hi-Lift Exhaust Cams
          7500 RPM Limit
          CNC’d Heads
          Oil Cooler
          Larger Radiator
          Revised Radiator Plumbing
          Revised Oil Pan Baffling
          Race Inspired Clutch
          3.73 Axle Ratio
          Finned Aluminum Diff Cover
          Limited Slip Diff with carbon fiber plates (Torsen Limited Slip Available)
          Quad Exhaust
          Higher Rate Springs (lowered 11MM front – 1MM rear)
          Adjustable Struts/Shocks
          25MM Rear Anti-roll bar (GT is 24MM)
          Tuned Electronic Steering with 3 Settings
          Unique traction control system settings
          Unique electronic stability control settings
          TracKey – Additional Key that enables the PCM setting of the 302R (dealer flash required)

          Black or White Roof Panel and Coordinated C-Stripe
          Unique Front Facia with Blocked off Fog Lamps and Splitter
          Small Rear Spoiler

          Alcantara Steering Wheel
          Unique Shift ****
          Unique Cloth Seats (Recaros available)
          Cloth Door Panel Insert
          Dark Metallic Instrument Panel Finish
          Unique Guages
          Unique Door Sill
          11 Pounds of Sound Deadening Removed
          Brakes, Wheels and Tires
          Brembo 14 inch vented discs front
          Boss specific rear compounds pads rear
          Vented Brake Shields
          Unique ABS tuning
          Reinforced Brake Lines
          Lightweight 19X9 and 19X9.5 Wheels
          Pirelli P-Zero Tires 255/40/ZR19 Front 285/35/ZR19 Rear

          Laguna Seca Package
          Available in Black or Silver with Red Accents
          Rear Seat Delete
          Standard Recaro Seats
          Rear Body Stiffening X-Brace
          Softer Front and Firmer Rear Springs
          Stiffer Damper Settings
          Larger 26MM Rear Anti-Roll Bar
          Unique 19×9 Front and 19×10 Rear wheels
          Pirelli Corsa Tires 255/40/ZR19 Front and 285/35/ZR19 Rear
          Larger Front Splitter
          Pedestal Rear Spoiler
          Brake Ducts
          Torsen Diff Standard
          Auxiliary Gauge Package with Oil/Water Temp and Lap Timer
          Unique Laguna Seca rear medallian

          Keep in mind that some of these things could have been on the GT performance package.

      • 0 avatar

        Nice, A truck and fun sedan are my goal for our car disposition over the next couple of years, and I like your mix.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Bark, didn’t you also mention somewhere that you also had a Chrysler van? I can faintly remember that some TTAC writer (other than T. Kreutzer) had one, much to my surprise; was that you or am I imagining things?

        Also, good timing on the sale. As “carguy” already said, the Boss might not be worth as much once the GT350s hit the showrooms. It’s much better to cash out while the going’s good, especially since you seem so satisfied with the FiST.

        One last thing: Since you are so set on leasing a FoRS once the Fiesta lease is up, do you no longer plan on having a GT350, or do you intend to do the 2-car thing again?

  • avatar

    This is the same reason I got rid of my Z06 – between Chicago winters, no backseat, 2 kids with all their activities keeping me busy – I was barely driving it.

    Kudos to you to recognize this. Best luck with the sale.

  • avatar

    I hear you on Kentucky winters. I’ve never been *in* Kentucky but I’ve been to lots of places *around* it, and one of the most bone-chillingly cold days I’ve experienced in the last decade was in the Nashville area. And this is from a guy who spent three years of the last decade in Boston.

    I also hear you on the rate of return on car purchases. I take the bus to work (which saves me $500 a month between gas, tolls, parking, and my employer’s bus-pass subsidy). Most of the driving miles I do put in are in our kidmobile Forester, which clocks about 10,000 miles a year despite not being used to commute. My Lexus has acquired about 500 miles in the three months since it rolled into the garage after the 800-mile trip home. It doesn’t make any sense for me to have that much cash in it or to be experiencing even used-car depreciation on it. I have it because I’m a car nut. Someday, even that may not be enough. I’m looking to buy an old G2 Acura Legend as a toy… and I have a suspicion that if it proves reliable it may become the second, rather than third, car at some point.

  • avatar

    Do I see a flat-crank GT350 coming?

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    What Bark isn’t telling us is he’s secretly planning on buying the new Z crossover when it hits Nissan showrooms in a couple years.

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    Good idea not selling it on CL. Just to remind you what you are missing:

    “Hey, I will give you $23,000 for your Boss. Will you take my 97 Honda Nighthawk in trade and give me $4,000 for it? Hit me back!”

  • avatar

    I cringed when I read that you’re running 87 octane in the FiST. you realize that you’re not getting the 197 hp on 87 octane? Please stop abusing your Fiesta ST and give it the 93 octane that it was meant for. Your fuel economy may actually improve.

  • avatar

    Bark, it sounds like you’ve come around to my camp – muscle cars are awesome but all wheel drive turbo cars are the best performance compromise for the day to day needs on the street.

    I’ve read your jabs in the past at WRX’s as the preferred car of wannabe drivers taking them to track events. Fair enough. But it’s a great street car with four doors, five seat belts, turbo wine, and it’s super fun to drive. Resale value is surprisingly good too because it’s got a niche fan base that pays top dollar for cars in good condition.

    The Focus RS looks awesome – it’s everything the STI should be (my finger is wagging at you Subaru).

  • avatar

    My sister got very angry when my dad brought home a Ford Fairmont. She was 17.

  • avatar

    But have you tried the FiST ejector seat feature like this guy did earlier this week in LA?

  • avatar

    We have a ’13? Fiesta at the office with an automatic. The handling on that thing feels off. like it just doesn’t want to turn, and can’t handle very well, and it feels off when accelerating/decelerating, like the automatic doesn’t know what gear it wants to be in. The clutch slipping a bit as it takes off at low speed is disconcerting till you realize it’s normal.

    The FiST is much better in all regards, right?

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it actually is. Drive one – every single control responds differently from the base Fiesta. If you drove them blindfolded (hypothetically!) you’d never realize they were on the same basic chassis.

      I’ve had all kinds of cars, including full-on track cars and exotics, and the Fiesta ST is special enough that I am looking for an excuse to buy one.

      • 0 avatar

        Figured it had to be :) I drive a ’10 Fit Sport, and the base Fiesta feels slower and drives worse than that, even though it’s actually a bit faster in a straight line.

        My wife’s ’11 Focus is definitely faster in a straight line, but scares me when it comes to turning compared to the Fit.

  • avatar

    What a vacuous & empty existence.

    • 0 avatar


      (This post was supposed to be a rumination on all things ‘Murica, extending to my own existence and set of perceived problems, as a general philosophical musing, and not specifically aimed at anyone in particular; I’m entering a much more calm, less frenetic, and hopefully more purposeful phase of my life, where feverishly deliberating 1st, 2nd and 3rd vehicle choices will be relegated to “not that critical” status.”)

  • avatar

    Just tell the kid the truth. You’re making a spot for the GT350, but will drive the FiST followed by the FoRS until the GT350 gets here. And… May the FoRS be with you!

  • avatar

    Well, if Boss is sold, it frees space for that 370Z NISMO.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Kids are really, really creatures of habit. I had forgotten that. Don’t know why. I remember it as being a loyalty thing somehow.

    If the car isn’t depreciating much, its keepable.

    I sense in your heart you just don’t like it much. It’s just a car.

  • avatar

    RE : Kids , Cars and Parents :

    My Son grew up a car lover , I know it was tough for him , being the Son of a VW mechanic , to be dropped off at Elementary School in a VW/Porsche 914 ~ his mates asked him if it was a _Ferrari_ , they thought it so cool , he was ashamed that I Liked , being it was just another VW .

    Growing up I’d point out the other old vehicles on the road and mention I used to have one of those and detail it’s attributes or lack of , he’d say . ‘ jeeze pop , if you had all those cool cars , why are we riding in _this_ piece of junk ? ‘ .

    Kids should be allowed to come along when you’re car shopping but not have overly much input to the final decision .

    They simply do not have the wisdom of experience to make good choices yet .

    Now that he’s 37 Y.O. (turns 38 next week) I seek out his input on almost everything I do transportation wise and consider his input as he’s usually right and often sees things clearer than I do .

    Remember : you’re your Children’s _Parent_ , not their Friend .


    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Remember : you’re your Children’s _Parent_ , not their Friend”

      These days, on the internet, unless you are openly salivating over the prospect of getting to tell your kid the truth about Santa Claus and crush their little souls over it, you’re going to be told you’re raising an entitled little brat and you’re the problem with America today. I’m a parent, not a friend, but that doesn’t mean I go out of my way to be an a-hole because it “keeps them from being entitled.”

    • 0 avatar

      @Nate I too used to wrench on VW’s, back in the day.

      I was lucky with cars and my son. He was too small to remember the Thunderbird, but he liked my dark blue Trooper, the tan and gold Trooper with an AT I found for my wife, the Cherokee Sport with the 4.0L inline six, and now the Panther Aero Grand Marquis, though he would prefer a Tesla S. He does understand the difference in cost thing, though, and understands he will have to work hard if he wants one.

      My experience has been that if you are a good parent, there is also plenty of room to be his friend a lot, as long as you are willing and able to switch to parent mode when it is needed. And as long as he understands why you need to do that sometimes. He can be stubborn but he is also realistic, so we seldom butt heads on anything, yet he does chores, makes good decisions, etc., even though he is 21 now and legally could tell us to stuff it and go move in with some friends.

      Happy Birthday in advance to your son.

      Isn’t it a strange but satisfying thing to have happen, when you realize that there are times that your son is making a better decision than you were making?

      I was complaining while in line for a breakfast taco with him, about how slow they were. Then he reminded me that I had said I was going to try to be more understanding of where other people were coming from, when I was frustrated by things around me.

      He did it in a nice way, and he was right. But it can be humbling when you realize that not only are those eyes on you most of the time, but at times they see things that you have missed.

      FWIW, I only had to be a hardcore parent about a dozen times in twenty years…when he ran for the first time in his life in a parking lot, straight for a highway at the other end. When he kept trying to stick things into electrical outlets. I showed him they worked when he was still a toddler, and he was satisfied. When he started to catch feelings at about fourteen for a girl I knew was raised in a way that would lead to her being an attention-whore and a heartache for him. He thanked me after for warning him, and for being right.

      When he started experimenting with various things around sixteen…let him know that I couldn’t stop him, but that he needed to understand the difference between e.g. a little grass and something like crank or huffing glue. Also told him that if he did get drunk, I would come pick him up, and wouldn’t embarrass him in front of his friends. And would let him go to bed, and we could wait til the next day to discuss whatever happened. But that he would be in big trouble if he rode with someone who had been drinking. He grew out of that phase in less than six months

      I believe that because I always tried to be honest and straight with him, and because he saw fairly early that even though kids today were different, that some things were the same, over and over, throughout time, or at least modern time.

      And I believe he has turned out to be a really kid person. He certainly hasn’t been much trouble, especially when compared with what I hear from most parents these days.

      So for me it is friend when I can be, but parent when I have to be. I believe each one can reinforce and help the other role.

      All these posts about how parents interact with their children just make me realize even more how much I am grateful that he is who he is, and that I got to be a part of making that come to pass.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanx Chris and Volando ;

        If you’re a good Parent , the Friendship will come automatically .

        I firmly believe in _never_ lying to your Children ~ it teaches them reality from a very young age .

        Don’t ever say ‘ maybe -or- we’ll see ‘ etc. when you know damn well you mean ‘ NO ‘ .

        My Son knows that ‘ entitled ‘ means you’re to get a thing you have WORKED or PAID for in advance , not what the good ball lying haters want it to mean .

        FWIW , I did tell my Son to never get into a car with drunks and he did call me out of bed once during High School , I didn’t make any comments other than to ask if he was O.K. when I showed up to take him and his GF home .

        Kids always know more than you think .

        Yes , my Son too seems to make better choices in life than I did so I’m confident his life looks bright ahead .

        FWIW , into his Teens when we’d go out for burgers after work or on a tip , he’d often ask me if I wanted ‘ Moon Cheese ‘ on mine =8-) .

        My Father was a jerk and a very unhappy Man to his death , I wanted to make sure my Son and i weren’t that way .


        • 0 avatar

          @Nate As allows, all good stuff.

          You lost me on the “Moon Cheese” though…sounnds like an inside joke. Maybe from hearing about “Munchies”?

          My father was not a jerk, though not open at all about his feelings. I came to understand why as I got older, since when he was 16, and the youngest of five sons living on the same farm, his father either (a) hung himself or (b) was murdered for failing to go along with a movement among some of the other farmers to form a communist style collective out of all their ranches.

          Sort of a case of an enterprising young communist with knife and fork wishes to meet a successful young capitalist with steaks. Object: dinner.

          My mother’s mother, who was from around that part of the WI/IL/IN corner of Lake Michigan, said that it was widely suspected that he had been murdered but that it had been covered up, because of who some of the people who were guilty were.

          Fortunately, when he knew he was dying of cancer, but had a couple more years left, he began to open up a bit, and our relationship became a tighter bond. But it was only in the last months of his life that he ever was able to say that he loved me.

          That made me also want to be sure that my son would know how I felt about him. By design, also, although I am mostly English and one quarter Danish, and my wife is mostly Irish with some German and Swedish, and hence not noted for great openness about our feelings, we made a conscious decision to adopt the idea of “un abrazz\'”, a big hug, between family members.

          I think men in our culture (hetero men, that is), are often afraid to even touch, for fear that someone might think that they are “less than hetero”. But I wanted our son to not be afraid to hug someone he was close to, regardless whether it was a man or a woman. Fortunately, my three brothers-in-law all go along with the program.

          My son and his friends came up with a very practical, if not PC, way to address the issue of possible confusion about motives.

          When one of the male friends does something that they really like, or think is really good, the will tell that guy that they not only like him, but love him. But they do it by saying something like: “I love you, man, (no homo)” to indicate that it is a sign of closeness and not a comeon.

          Like I said, not very PC, but they do not mean it as hatred for homosexuals, just that they don’t want to be confused with one. I think that is preferable to being afraid to tell a good friend how much they mean to you.

          As they have gotten older they have developed some sensitivity about when and where they can use that device, but I am glad that they don’t feel like they have to bottle up their feelings out of fear of being thought a closet gay.

          And so far, no one has showed up to picket our house, and none of them ever got in trouble in school for it, so overall it seems like a good way to “adapt and overcome” as Clint Eastwood said in one of his better films.

          I don’t know how widespread that custom has become, but it has enabled a set of him and his friends to talk about their true feelings, while not feeling any less manly for it, so I am not going to register a complaint. In fact, I think it was a good innovation on their part, regardless of where it originated.

          • 0 avatar

            RE : ‘ Moon Cheese ‘ ~ when my Son was very young he only liked plain burgers , no nothing on them , just meat and bun .

            When I introduced him to the joys of cheese burgers , I made sure it wasn’t McDonald’s crap but a high end burger joint then I asked him if he wanted to try the fancy-schmancy ‘ Moon Cheese ‘ ~ you know the kind of cheese with the holes in it that NASA brings back after every Shuttle launch =8-) .

            He thought that was terrific and who doesn’t like a Swiss Cheese burger ? .

            I always tried to make things fun for him ,we were dirt poor but managed O.K. judging by how well he turned out .

            As far as men hugging etc. ~ I was raised in one of those cold as ice families where that never happened nor did anyone every say ‘ you did well there ‘ much less ‘ I love you my Child ‘ ~ who gives a shit ? I love my Son and those few Women I dated who said ‘ ! you can’t kiss your 12 year old Son good bye like that ! ‘ were quickly given the gate .

            Whatever I choose to do , think , wear etc. , automatically become Masculine , if you’re gay that’s fine , again who cares ?.


          • 0 avatar

            Nate, now I get the Moon Cheese. Should have figured it out.

            I agree that if you are a man, you can wear what you want and you will carry it off.

            On one of Dylan’s early albums, he had some liner notes about some people being afraid of something or other, dying, maybe. Other people, he said, were afraid of being seen carrying a copy of Silver Screen magazine.

            I have taught my son to go where he wants and to do what he wants, as long as he doesn’t start trouble or do anything stupid. Told him we weren’t in the sh!t business…we don’t give any sh!t, we don’t take and sh!t…we aren’t in the sh!t business!

            I believed in the abbraz’ thing, but I stopped kissing him when he was about five or six, and aware of other young people…didn’t want to embarrass him. But on the other hand, he is not afraid to not only hug his mother, but me, all three of his uncles, one of the two aunts (the other being a bit standoffish), and his nieces and nephews. To him, it is just something you do with the people you love and care for, and that love and care for you. Still, if it didn’t bother you son to kiss, no big deal.

            When my son was about six months old, I took a back road home from South Jersey to central Delaware, where we were at the time. On a local road, I looked over and saw a middle-aged man give an old man a hug and a kiss. My first thought, having lived in NYC for a decade, was a couple of gay men…but after I re-assessed it, it was a father and son, saying goodbye. I decided then and there that it would be better for my son and I to end up like that, than to be cold and uptight all our lives.

            Courage isn’t just about not backing down when challenged…it is also about living free from the constraints other people want to impose on you, when that is not how you really feel.

            Teaching your son to appreciate better food at a young age was a great gift to him. Mine wouldn’t eat baby food when he was leaving the breast with bottle supplement phase.

            After three tries, I tried all three flavors (the two major brands) and decided it was yuck. After a quick conference with the pediatrician, he went straight from breast and bottle to adult food, with a few restrictions for the first six months to a year. As a result, he could be satisfied with drive in food if we were in a big hurry, but I could also take him to any kind of restaurant with us, from the time he was a toddler. He was even eating sushi before he was a year old. Not only that, but other people at the sushi bar were amazed to see that not only did I order everything on the menu, sooner or later, but that he would eat all of the same things, including the ones that the menu described as “challenging”.

            And one time, when he was about fifteen months old, I took him and his older sister to an Indian restaurant while my wife was in class, and he ended up with his own plate of Lamb Koorma…and he had it literally up to his elbows and all over the front of his shirt. But he still managed to get ninety per cent of it in him, without any help from either of us.

            People used to try to guilt trip me that we were making him eat raw fish, spicy dishes, etc., but he would have complained if we didn’t let him join the party. And he has never been a fussy eater as a result.

            Happy memories.

  • avatar

    You’ll be sorry … 40 years from now!! Just read my story ..

    • 0 avatar

      Bark may be sorry that he parted with the Boss 40 years from now, but it is equally likely that he might look back and regret having passed up an opportunity to have had a GT350 that he never got, because he hung onto the Boss.

      Hell, I still have moments of nostalgia when I think about how I was looking at a Harley XLCR cafe racer, a Willie G. special project. It was 1977 and I also had just met a very bright and very hip and lovely young woman who was built like Little Annie Fanny (I know you know who I am talking about, even if you read it for the articles, you preverts).

      I knew she (the woman) was going to be high performance but also high maintenance, and I figured (correctly) that I probably couldn’t afford to keep up with her and get the bike on top a car in NYC, at the beginning of my “serious” career. Even so, and fully aware of the limitations of the XLCR, I still sometimes wish I had bought the bike, even though the relationship lasted the equivalent of probably 150K miles +/- (run up in less than three years…)

      The relationship was a bit of a roller coaster, but good in a lot of ways, and one of the best of my then young life, perhaps one of the top three until I finally met my “real” wife, the love of my life, and settled down.

      But on a nice autumn day with the leaves turning, and the temperature in the sixties, I think about how great it would be to have the XLCR in my garage.

      He could end up looking back at the GT350 longingly, the one he didn’t get and should have, if he keeps the Boss and misses out on the GT350.

      He has a real dilemma on his hands, although it is the kind of problem that is good to have. But no matter how the ball bounces for him, he will always end up feeling like the central character in “The Road Less Traveled”.

    • 0 avatar

      That is a great story about a great car, and with a happy ending. Makes me think I might still end up finding an 88 Thunderbird in silver with blue interior, moonroof, V8, etc.

      Main problem is that I am getting close to your age, Harry, and still have a family that I am heavily involved with day to day. Younger wife, son just past twenty. So I probably have so many other things on my plate that I best forget about it. But I understand the feeling all to well, and am very glad you got yours back.

      Mercurys RULE! Mine’s a 97 Grand Marquis. One of the great years for the Panthers. But the Eliminator is really unique.

      What kind of times is it good for in the quarter?

    • 0 avatar

      Nice Story Harry ! .

      Somewhere out there *might* be a 1960 VW # 117 DeLuxe Sunshine Roof Sedan……

      I didn’t bother looking too hard , I simply bought another one in the late 1970’s in car crazy Southern California for $250…. my Son has itg now in al it’s faded 36hp and crashbox tranny 6 volt glory…. the original one was tag # LTV 560 .

      Volando , forget about the Sporty XLCR , got find a bone stock K Model and enjoy that…… kinda – sorta my dream Moto , I rode Harley’s back in the day , a ’65 FL PanHead and a ’37 EL Knucklhead , restored both long before anyone cared about old Harleys and rode the snot out of both of them =8-) .

      Sportys and K – Models were both light weight and fun to ride , you’ll have no problem keeping up with 90 + % of the other Riders on one bone stock , I do this now on a Ural Solo sT for God’s sake .


      • 0 avatar

        @Nate I have a younger brother in law who has been ill lately, plus he has his plate full with two special needs children that he has done a wonderful job with, and he owns two Harleys, a full dresser more or less, and a stripped down K that he modified to make it like a more upright riding variant of an XLCR. I am hoping that he might decide to pass it over to our son, as it is unlikely his son will end up being coordinated enough to handle the challenge of a hi-po cycle. Plus of all his other nephews and nieces, he seems to like Matt the best.

        Then I hope we can double up and have my son get something a bit newer, and pass the K over to me. Then we will get to go riding, if I am not too old by then.

      • 0 avatar

        I used to have a 59 Sunroof VW. I had forgotten about the 36hp and the 6v system, but your comment brings back memories. Mixed, at best. But part of a long run of VW’s in my early days.

        Had a 68 Bus. Hated the Type III’s…had an ex- with one, computer boxes were a pain in the butt and not repairable.

        The Type 4’s were even worse. Battery under the driver seat, which had metal springs. Battery would short out on bumps. A/C belt replacement required transmission removal and engine lowering, or vice versa, an 11.5 hour flatrate job that nobody wanted to touch, as it was the only bookrate a good mechanic was guaranteed to take a loss on. One of the worst cars of all time.

        But the 36hp/6v jobs were like a part of history.

        Did you have John Muir’s Compleat VW book? It was my automotive bible in the early days.

        The early Rabbits were OK, had a 76 carb model and an 82 diesel. After finding that the quality had gone down hill, I reached the end of my love affair with things VW.

        • 0 avatar

          I still have my Muir Books , in several versions and languages .

          The 25hp engines were a little too small but a 36hp was fine , you’re not racing , it’s an economy car…

          Again : few ever bothered (? knew how ?) to properly tune them so they could run doggy , I vividly remember catching and passing many Sports Cars in the twisty bits in my various 36hp VW’s .

          I have several Typ III’s , all were pretty damn good cars , esp. the dual carby ones (early models) and the 1971 Fastback I owned . the computers were robust and rarely gave troubles , the fuel pump safety relay not so much , the quick fix was to by pass it , a very unsafe thing I know but .

          Different vehicles for different times .


          • 0 avatar

            You are an amazing guy, Nate. I have seen the Muir book in Spanish a couple of times, but never owned one other than in English.

            And 25hp VW? Never even heard of one. What years and displacements?

            FWIW, I was just in my local mechanic’s shop. Wife had a minor fenderbender with a Walmart wall when her foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas. She’s shaken up but OK, car has gone from one bad motor mount to three, and needs a corner light replaced.

            While at the shop, I saw my man Chad (of Cherry Hill, for anyone local…a great mechanic, Chad’s Auto Repair), and he has a Nov 15 copy of Hemmings. Article in there about suppliers and vendors for parts for VW’s. Might be useful to you if you need anything. Did you say you still have an old VW?

            I also saw a mint condition Thing for sale…in the low $20K range. Nice, but no thanks.

            I think during the first year or two of type III fuel injection, they had more problems with the computers. Another of my memorable ex-es (probably #3 on the Bronx Tale spectrum) went through about three of them in a couple of years. Used to cost well over a hundred for just the part, in real 1960’s US dollars. Close to equivalent to a grand now. Ouch!

            She is another whole story, but (a) I’m not in the mood to write/remember another one, and (b) it might be appreciated over on the Green, but probably would just get ripped up/ridiculed on TTAC.

            Suffice it to say we used to see each other around town in a college town all the time, when we were both married, ending up seeing each other all night in the waiting room of an ER. Her husband for kidney stones, my wife for having had an upright piano fall on her toe. Was trying to tow it home to rebuild, from a streetside throwaway and it got away from her and hit the toe.

            We talked all night, fascinated with each other, but didn’t tempt fate by taking the tiger by the tail.

            A year later, I went to pick up a date who had once been married to a biker friend, just a casually catch up with the news date, and when I walked in, I found out she was renting from Penny, who was now divorced, as was I.

            That was the start of another couple of really special years that eventually burned out.

            But as Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote:

            “My candle burns at both ends,
            It will not last the night.
            But ah, my foes, and all my friends,
            It gives a lovely light!”

            She was a lovely six foot Swedish blonde potter and graduate art student with two small children and a penchant for rosé and pills, a combination that boded ill for both her and the relationship, though it burned brightly for a couple of years. In my younger days I was much more willing to overlook what seemed like minor imperfections, but which were often the seeds of destruction, at least of the relationship.

            To quote Dylan again, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

            For the last couple of decades plus, I have been blessed with a perfect relationship, as long as I am willing to do my part in working on it.

            But back then I was like a moth to the flame, with nary a thought of what lay ahead.

            When I hear that Seeger song about the sound of distant thunder, sometimes it puts me in the mood to remember the bitter and the sweet of that time.

            Definitely one of the big three of the Bronx Tale theorem of three good women in every man’s life, along with Barbara Annie-Fanny and the lovely Bunny I have lived with now for over two decades, and who is the mother of my only son. The best came last, but at the time, I thought it might be all downhill after the other two.

            Funny how no matter how jaded you are, if you keep your eyes open and are patient, life can sometimes hand you something beyond your imagination. That is who I live with now, and will love for the rest of my life, and for eternity.

            ‘Nuff said.

            BTW, for your aches and pains, check out what I wrote over at the Green about that Chinese liniment that I found…might help with some of the aches and pains of your accident.

            Full details there, but it is called Zheng Gu Shui, under ten bucks, Chinese pharmacies and grocery stores have it, made by Yulin Pharmacy on the mainland, identical to a formula from a thousands of years old book called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine.

  • avatar

    I have concluded that Bark really doesn’t care whether or not the sale of the Boss will put him into over-miles on his lease, as he seems to pretty much have his mind made up that he wants to drive the FiST as much as possible, and (the long game) he wants to set the stage for a GT350, maybe even an R, and it will be an easier sell to Mrs. Bark if he can point out that they all are missing a Mustang in their lives.

    Not a bad strategy really. After all, getting into that GT in the future is obviously going to do more to float his boat, than hanging on to a possibly collectible older, and less powerful, Mustang ever could.

    I envy you, guy. I sincerely hope it all unfolds for you the way you seem to want it to.

    But I will bet that if you let your son in on the long term game plan of a newer and better Mustang, if he will only be patient for a year or two, I bet he will learn to love the newer Mustang, even if it is delayed gratification, a whole lot more.

    It all starts to make sense to me…if you have to, you can always give up a replacement lease vehicle when the FiST lease is up, to help offset the cost of the GT350. And since you will already have cut expenses by getting rid of the Boss, when you use them to offset the cost of the new Mustang, it makes the net cost look that much more reasonable.

    But I hope I haven’t taken the wraps off of the strategy too soon, if in fact that is your strategy, and you were hoping to wait to spring it a bit later on in the game.

    But if Mrs. Bark sees this sooner than you had planned, you can and should tell her that she should be happy and secure in the knowledge that you have put together a sound plan for managing the acquisition of what promises to be THE CAR of this generation, even more so than a Hellcat or whatever.

    All this noodling around is interesting, and makes for some good copy. But I am dying to hear what will be happening when you get behind the wheel of your true “project car”, that incredible sounding flat plane crankshaft GT350, hopefully with the R option.

    If that is the plan, congratulations. Nicely conceived, and hopefully successfully executed.

    And if that isn’t your plan, why the H not?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I do not remember my parents consulting any of us about when to buy a new car or get rid of a car. My parents would keep a vehicle 10 plus years and our cars were a full size station wagon and a four door compact car. I now appreciate the fact that my parents kept their cars a long time and were thrifty because all of their children had their college educations payed for. I would much rather have my education paid for than to have ridden around in a new car every couple of years. I keep my vehicles at least 10 years as well.

  • avatar

    I really enjoyed that article, thanks Bark!

  • avatar

    Those who grow up hungry tend not to be picky eaters =8-) .

    I still hate Chitlin’s tho .

    Tripe too .

    Both are parts of tasty animals that have _SHIT_ in them .

    Anyone who tells you different , has never been to the Slaughter House .


  • avatar

    Hey BART M.! I’m your twin!

    Bart, It’s exciting to read a Journalist’s Article about his ownership experience with the same car you own. It’s even more exciting when that guy writes about (2) cars he owns that are the same as you own! I rarely comment on anything, but hey, the stars have aligned.

    I own a 2012 Boss 302, aka “The Boss” (I know, real original), and a 2015 Fiesta ST, aka “the squirrel”, but we’ll call it “the FiST” like others do.

    So your not in love with the Boss anymore, I get it, especially if your writing out a big check monthly for it, and a lease payment on the FiST. The FiST is a better daily driver, urban driver, economy driver, and in some ways, fun driver. But it’s not a Boss! And I still love mine.

    For the most part though, I agree with all that you said. Full disclosure though, my Boss is paid for. Maybe that’s why I ran out and bought a FiST! I couldn’t stand not having a car payment! But I think your smart, get rid of a payment, keep what you love (or even better, buy it and make double or triple payments on one car at a time).

    That being said, and from a guy with the same garage as you but with one less chain around his ankle, I offer an alternative perspective for you and the (3) other people out there that might care:

    Fiesta ST

    -It’s a car I find myself having fun in no matter were I’m driving it!
    -I’m not use to driving small cars. I see it and say, “that’s a little car”.
    -The hatch space is great for daily tasks, but I wouldn’t expect to get the Bowling team in it.
    -It says Fiesta on the back, and most people are perplexed I spent 23k and change on it.
    -Probably the funnest Urban, run about, park anywhere, zippy car I’ve had EVER.

    Boss 302

    -I love looking at it. I like the FiST too, but it’s not quite the same.
    -The sound of the side pipes makes me giggle. This car has character. I traded in my GT for it.
    -My wife and I would road trip the Boss over the FiST every time. It’s a more comfortable cruiser.
    -It gets attention and I like sharing it. Strangers and Store Attendants come out to take cell photos.
    -Overall just as fun as the FiST, but less convenient.

    I’ll keep my Boss for now….One day I’ll drive a GT350, but then again, is the next “better” thing worth the perpetual payment? ..oh wait, the RS is coming.

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