By on December 18, 2015


My cruise was set at 68 mph. For my very last drive in my Boss 302, not only was I driving on a relatively straight and flatter-than-Taylor-Swift interstate, I wasn’t even doing the posted speed limit. It was a stark contrast to the way I had spent the previous forty-two months in the Recaro driver’s seat of what was likely the best pony car that had ever been built on the day it rolled off of the assembly line in Flat Rock.

For forty-two months, every time that I made the 90-degree left turn out of my failed, half-empty subdivision onto the curvaceous country road that intersected the neighborhood’s exit, I did it in a full drift, burning up the excessively overpriced tires with banshee-like screams that acted as a rubber alarm clock for the entire street’s residents.

For forty-two months, I revved the Boss’ motor all the way to its previously unheard of 7,500 rpm redline with every launch, creating a soundtrack that was equal parts Beethoven and Stravinsky in its cacophonous composition.

For forty-two months, the speedometer’s needle rarely saw the left side of 85, and set up a near permanent residence to the right of a hundred any time that the Boss’ retro-inspired nose had an open road in front of it.

But not on its last day.

No, on its last day, I had to make sure I kept my nearly septuagenarian mother’s 2008 Ford Focus sedan in my rear view, and she’s not comfortable driving any speed that exceeds her age.

After making some half-hearted efforts to sell my car to an actual human being, I decided that the extra $1,000 or so I would have made by dealing with endless Craigslist shoppers just wasn’t worth it. I found a dealer in southern Kentucky that specializes in American muscle cars and was willing to pay me about $3,000 over the Boss’ going wholesale auction price. Done.

I made an appointment to drop off the Mustang and asked my dear mother to follow me for the 70-mile journey down to Corbin, KY, so that I would have a ride back home. As a result, a drive that might have normally taken about fifty minutes became a leisurely hour-and-a-half cruise down I-75 South. And as the red Focus drifted further and further out of sight, I was forced to slow down even more.

I wasn’t driving the Boss at 10/10, like I normally did. I was leisurely with my pace. I was relaxed. And that gave me time to think.

I thought back to the day I bought the Boss. It’s funny — I’ve named most of my other cars (My Fiesta, for example, goes by the name “Zippy”), but the Boss was always just The Boss. I remembered how my then four-year-old son spent much of that day asking me to take pictures of him with the car, like this one:


That photo, taken just moments after I signed the indentured serv… erm, loan paperwork for the Boss, show’s the very moment that my son fell in love with the Boss. (I believe it’s also Mrs. Bark’s first appearance here at TTAC.) I bought him his own remote control version to play with around the house.


He talked about the car from day one as though it were his — and I think that I started to think of it that way, too. I almost assumed that I’d keep it forever, and that maybe someday, when he had proven that he was old enough and responsible enough to be handed the keys, that it would be some rite of passage moment for him: the First Boss Drive.

As I drove the Boss down to the dealership that day, I wondered if I was stealing his birthright from him.

I thought about the very first day I drove on a track in my entire life. I’d been autocrossing for seven years, but I’d never taken a single lap on a race track. Then, one day, my brother told me that he had the opportunity to drive the new BMW M6 Gran Coupe at Nelson Ledges and asked if I’d like to tag along. I still remember thinking, “My God, I’m making payments on this car, I certainly cannot afford to crash it, and I’m doing nearly 140 mph on a track that looks like it was last resurfaced in the ’70s. And I love it.”

The M6 was embargoed until it came out in print, so I couldn’t share any photos from that day (which, if you follow me on Instagram, you know was pure torture), but I did have one great photo of the Boss under the bridge and I put it up that very day. It was shared by some Mustang fan pages and ultimately liked over 10,000 times. I now have that photo framed on the wall of my office:

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That track day ultimately led to my going to the Boss Track Attack in Utah, where I met maybe the coolest young couple I’ve ever met, Tony and Jenna. We’re still friends, and we’ve both picked up ST hatchbacks since then, too. Being the fastest driver at the Track Attack gave me the confidence to try wheel-to-wheel racing just a couple of months later, and now that’s become something that my brother and I can do together, for as long as we can both safely wheel.

So, without even trying, the Boss changed my life.


I thought about how having the Boss meant I didn’t really have a car I felt comfortable driving in the winter, so I bought not one, but two beaters. The first, a 1995 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (with supercharged 3800 power!), didn’t stick around long. The second, a Subaru Legacy Wagon, should have stuck around much longer, but I ignored some warning signs and it committed ritualistic suicide. I learned I lacked the mechanical knowledge (and the desire to acquire that necessary knowledge) to own a beater, which, in some ways, led me to pick up my Fiesta ST as a sensible alternative to the Boss.

But more than that, I remembered the moments when I drove the car simply for the joy of driving it. I remembered taking my son’s friend’s father, a quiet man who volunteered to fight for his country in the deserts of the Middle East, on a triple-digit jaunt through the back roads of Clark County just to see if I could put a smile on the face of a true American hero. I remembered the kids chasing me down urban streets in the worst parts of Cincinnati, just so that they could have a chance to give me a thumbs-up. I remembered the kid who nearly wrecked his Focus ST as he tried to both navigate I-275 highway traffic and snap a pic of the 302 at the same time. I remembered putting a wheel off on a snowy day in the Appalachians, only to be pulled out of a ditch by some friendly traveling Hispanic immigrants who didn’t speak a word of English. I remembered my kids begging me to leave the Flex and the Fiesta at home and to pick them up from school in the Mustang.

There were many, many more moments that have evaporated from my memory, but the emotions those moments created remain firmly ensconced in my heart. A Mustang will never have the refinement or cachet of an exotic car. There are still those who associate the brand with mullets and drag racers. But for me, for forty-two months, I lived every day with my dream car. That’s something that a great many people will never have the luxury of saying.

So when I finally arrived at the dealer, and as I prepared to sign over the title, I strangely felt much less remorse than I anticipated.

“You know,” the manager said to me as he started the paperwork, “we had a tough time valuing this car. Most of the ones we see at the auction have less than ten thousand miles on them. Yours has nearly thirty-five thousand miles. It’s got scratches. It’s got a small crack in the bumper.”

He shook his head slightly. “To be honest, your car scares me a little bit. I’m pretty sure that we won’t sell it in the winter, so we’ll have to hold onto it until the spring. And somebody who wants a Boss, well, they typically want a collector’s piece. Your car is kinda rough.”

And as he tried to diminish the value of my car in my mind, all he was actually doing was reminding me how much value the car had to me. I bought the car with one purpose in mind — to drive it. In that moment, I felt sorry for all the old men who had spent $45,000 plus additional dealer markup just so they could park their mighty stallions in garages. I know they appreciate their Bosses in their own way, but they’ll never know the joy I had driving the living shit out of mine.

That, in the end, is what made it so painless to give away my dream. Because my dream was never to own a Mustang. My dream was to drive a Mustang — and I did just that.

As for my son? A couple of weeks later, he made me realize why the car was so important to him. As he wrote his annual letter to Santa Claus at my kitchen table, making sure to include the latest and greatest toys, I saw him pause for a moment. He looked up at me and asked a question that only the pure heart of a seven-year-old boy could have conjured.

“Daddy,” he said. “If I asked Santa to bring back the Mustang, would that work?”

I laughed softly. “No, honey, Santa can’t bring you a car.”

“No, Dad. I don’t want it for me. I want it for you.”

And then I realized what I probably should have known all along. He loved the Mustang because he thought it made me happy. And all he wanted for Christmas was to make his Daddy happy.

So this time, when I go car shopping at the end of my FiST lease, I’ll be sure to involve both of my kids. A lot of the readers here have suggested that my future purchase of a Shelby GT350 is a fait accompli. I might have thought that at one point. But now I know that it’s not the car that matters. It’s the miles. It’s the experiences. It’s the journey. I want that journey to start with my young family at my side. We’ll pick the next car, not as a monarchy, but as a democracy.

Damn it, Boss. You’re still teaching me things, even after you’ve gone. Each scratch, each ding, each mile was a life lesson well-earned. Thanks for everything.

[Lead photo: Pfanntastic Photography]

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79 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: In the End, It’s the Miles That Matter...”

  • avatar

    “The first, a 1995 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (with supercharged 3800 power!), didn’t stick around long. The second, a Subaru Legacy Wagon, should have stuck around much longer, but I ignored some warning signs and it committed ritualistic suicide. ”

    That’s what you get when you passed on a mighty Olds powered by our lord and savior.

    Additional: Its funny how a product such an automobile has such an impact on our lives.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Great article and illustrative of why and how vehicles have an emotional hold on us.

    Get a minivan. One that allows your passenger to pass through the front seats to the back. Drive the heck out of it. With your family and friends. Load them up and take it everywhere.

    Most of the fun is in the voyage. And a minivan holds more of your friends and family in comfort than any other vehicle.

  • avatar

    Very nice piece, very well written. Thanks.

    And I pity the fool who buys a Mustang and then proceeds to garage queen it. I’d imagine those are the guys who (or whose kids) sell that car for 85%-100% of the original sticker price. There’s little ROI in modern cars.

    • 0 avatar

      That is something I have never understood, to purchase a performance vehicle and not drive it. For me, the driving experience is why you buy something like a Boss 302 or (insert other performance car name here). Or nor do I get somebody buying such a car and never turning a tire in anger with it.

      That is probably why my Foxbody Mustang has 170k on it, I just cant stop driving it.

      • 0 avatar

        There is also something to having an 20 year old car in killer condition and seeing everybody check it out. But you can do that and still have miles on it. Good care and interior storage is far more important than ultra low miles unless it is a car like a Ferrari. And you can always squeeze in a few burnouts….

  • avatar

    Cool story, Mark. Thanks for sharing.

    But do you know how rare a supercharged Ninety-Eight is? I’m more jealous of that than anything else you’ve owned.

    • 0 avatar

      That car was full of electrical gremlins. Literally nothing on it worked. I couldn’t adjust the power seats. I couldn’t use the radio. No dash lights. I replaced every fuse. No luck. The only way the heat would work was if you pulled another one of the fuses, and then it ran nonstop.

      It was surprisingly fast, though!

      • 0 avatar

        That’s a common thing for the 98 Regency Elite era. They’re pretty fragile in the electrics area. Too much one-off stuff in there, I think.

      • 0 avatar

        Electrical gremlins can sometimes by cured by putting in a better ground strap…there are many other causes, but this is one common one with an easy fix. Too late now I realize, but for the B&B, take it for what it’s worth.

        If it is Brit electrics, however, by Lucas, you must find Jesus, sell the car or both. Lucas was known as the Prince of Darkness in the UK…probably still is.

        Had a 61 Jag Mk II, a beautiful and great driving tourer, but the headlights would sometimes go totally dead at speed. On a back country road, that can be a real wakeup call.

        I also once had a Trooper that could not get fuel out of the tank and into the motor. After several fuel pumps, all but the first under warranty, we finally swapped out the housing and cleaned out the ground to the pump, and it began working full time once again.

  • avatar

    Well said.

  • avatar

    Not afraid to admit your conclusion had me teary-eyed.

    Your son loves you very much. That is the real treasure.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX


      I’ve been bringing some of my kids (I have five) along for the last fifteen years or so, when car shopping. It teaches them what the process looks like, what their parents value, how their parents conduct themselves in stressful situations, and engages them a little in the ownership experience later on.

      The most memorable was when I was pen-in-hand about to buy a new 2000 Neon (hangs head in shame). My daughter (11 at the time) suggested we should call Mom to get her opinion. We ended up walking out, I never did buy a Neon, and my wife remains happy.

      I’ve never bought very cool cars, but having the kids involved has been a Good Thing.

  • avatar

    “As I drove the Boss down to the dealership that day, I wondered if I was stealing his birthright from him.”

    Brings up an interesting story from my teenage years. I was friends with a guy whose dad saved his immaculate red ’65 Stingray convertible for him as a birthright.

    Unfortunately, said birthright ended on display for me and his other friends one day, performing smoky donuts and lurid power slides, right up to the moment the rear end broke away, and the ‘Vette ended up totaled in a ditch.

    Another kid I knew inherited his dad’s black-on-black ’67 Riviera GS. That one ended up totaled after a drag race.

    Maybe that Fiesta would make a better birthright!

    • 0 avatar

      That’s why you don’t hand over that birth right until he’s in his mid-20’s at least, and has a proven track record of maturity.

      And yes, the same thing happened to one of my friends in high school. His dad had saved a pristine early 80’s Celica for him (it was the 90’s). Handed it over as soon as he got his license. Poor car only lasted a month.

      • 0 avatar

        Used to work with another consultant who had a son in HS, about 25 years ago. The subject of sons and cars came up at a lunchroom bull session.

        Bob said that he bought his son a 64.5 Mustang in good condition, with only one set of stipulations. He would pay for the first years insurance and oil changes. After that, son had to take over. Car was paid for, no monthly loan payments.

        But the kicker was that if he got a ticket for 5 over, automatic one week no car. 10 over, it would have been a month. Sliding scale went on, forget the details.

        Also, if the son wrecked the car in any way, the repair bills would be on him.

        The kid had been driving for more than two years. He had gotten one ticket, for 5 over. Probably BEGGED the cop to only write him for 5.

        Never got another ticket. Never let his “friends”, of whom he had many more once he got the Mustang, drive.

        Never so much as got a scratch. And Bob suspects that the few times his son wanted to go to a party where there was drinking, his son got a ride from someone else, so as not to jeopardize his prized ride.

        Perhaps a bit too much doing for his son for some people, but they lived in an area where almost every sixteen year old had their own car, many of them nice rides. And Bob was making good bucks consulting. He knew all about hooning, having grown up in Texas, with lots of wide open spaces. And he didn’t want to have to worry every night his son went out. So he purchased what amounted to “insurance” by setting his son up with a car that was nicer than anything he likely could afford to replace for at least a few more years.

        Nothing commands careful decision-making like giving someone something special, and making its care their responsibility.

        OTOH, my son has been ALL about basketball until just this month, when he became ALL ABOUT an older woman…five years older, only, but with two kids and a failed marriage behind her. But that is another story.

        Matt liked my Trooper, that he smeared with chocolate cake with his feet while sitting in his car seat after his 2nd birthday. He suffered silently with me through the Corolla brother in law hand me down years. And he rejoiced with me, and began driving, when I found Panther love…but his own tastes and desires are not for the past, though he knows how cool Huracáns and Veyrons can be.

        Instead, for him it is all about Teslas…silent but deadly.

        In his heart, he is much like Bark’s son…he wanted cars for me that were cars that I liked.

        Unfortunately, he was too small then to remember the 88 T-Bird Sportcoupe.

        Bark, you probably just think that you think your son is so cool because he is your son, and that’s what fathers do. But as a father who has been fortunate enough to have a son with a really good, big heart, I know how rare that is. And you have a son with such a great heart for others, for his father.

        I hope the two of you have many more years of happily bonding about cars and everything else.

        Kids can be a lot of heartache. But when they are right…when they are hitting on all 8 cylinders, so to speak, they are really a gift.

        Yours clearly has all the signs. Be a father to him when you have to be the father, and be a friend to him as much and as often as you can be.

        I once heard a story about a famous father and son, lawyers, writers, educators, something like that. Both were and are still well-known. The name escapes me, but that is not the point of the story.

        It was during an era when men often wrote notes in their diaries daily. The father decided to take his six or eight year old son on a fly fishing trip one day…skip work for him, school for the lad, a real father-son day, all day.

        Years later, it was found in his diary on that date that he had written “Took the day off to fish with my son. Nothing accomplished. A wasted day.”

        The entry in the son’s diary for the same day said “Dad took me fishing today, for the first time in my life. It was the best day of my life.”

        I have tried hard never to forget that point…even the little things we do as fathers are the big things in a little guy’s life. And your son definitely sounds like he especially deserves special treatment because he thinks so much of you and for you.

    • 0 avatar

      If you are going to give a teenager a high performance car you might as well throw in some whiskey and maybe a handgun. Mayhem and destruction are virtually guaranteed.

      Teenagers have been destroying nice cars for almost one hundred years; you would think parents at one point would learn that handing over the keys to a hot rod is a bad idea. Apparently foolishness is timeless.

      • 0 avatar

        My father owned a 1967 Mustang from 1978 until 2013 (I was born in 1977). From the age of 16 until the age 34 I was never behind the wheel of that car unaccompanied by my mother or father. In July 2011 I took my fiance for a ride in it (just the two of us), in July 2012 I got married, in July 2013 the Mustang became mine.

        My father is no fool.

  • avatar

    Nicely written piece.

  • avatar

    That story really hit me. That is how I always felt about motorcycles. It wasn’t about what you owned but how it made you feel while riding it. That point always got lost upon the guys I knew that had sport bikes but spent all their time posing with colour matched riding gear or with the Harley wannabees.

    The ride or drive is what matters and being able to feel at one with the machine the road or track.

    This saying I had heard somewhere and actually used it on a few guys, ” If you ask me why, you won’t understand the answer.”

  • avatar

    [i]”And as he tried to diminish the value of my car in my mind, all he was actually doing was reminding me how much value the car had to me. I bought the car with one purpose in mind — to drive it. In that moment, I felt sorry for all the old men who had spent $45,000 plus additional dealer markup just so they could park their mighty stallions in garages. I know they appreciate their Bosses in their own way, but they’ll never know the joy I had driving the living shit out of mine.”[/i]

    Just today I looked down at the odometer on my Z and thought the same thing. Too many miles! While I am second owner, the first owner put only 18K miles on it in 8 years! The car was a garage queen, the floor mats showed no indication of heavy heel-toe action. However I’ve put 30K on it in only 3 years. Some of those miles will be like this weekend… ON THE TRACK, driving at 9/10ths, trying not to smile too much because it actually hurts your checks with a helmet on.

  • avatar

    “It’s the experiences. It’s the journey. I want that journey to start with my young family at my side. We’ll pick the next car, not as a monarchy, but as a democracy.”

    It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought that was headgasket failure.

      • 0 avatar

        LOL, or some rust or CV joints. Take yer’ pick.

        His quote just sounded like something Subaru would throw on a commercial. All that’s needed is an image of a happy Labrador.

        • 0 avatar

          happy Labrador – need a pickup for that.

          I had a big black lab and a regular cab F250. I recall pulling up to a traffic light after a day of hiking through the bush with my dog. The truck was muddy and to a great degree so were we.

          Next to me a Mercedes SUV pulls up with “Ken and Barbie” and a standard poodle. They looked like the cover of a Vogue magazine and we looked like the extra’s from Deliverance.

          Even their dog tried not to make eye contact. It was hilarious.

          • 0 avatar


            Snobby dogs, ugh.

            In my image of when I have a two-tone XC70, I have a large dog who rides happily in the back, and a dog fence thing behind the back seats.

          • 0 avatar

            CoreyDL – I did have a golden retriever that would ignore other dogs when I brought him to the vet. It was like he thought he was too handsome to associate with mutts.

          • 0 avatar

            Sounds like pet racism to me. This must be addressed at the federal level.

          • 0 avatar

            RideHeight – looking for a cat fight? ;)

            Obama has a dog……. A Portuguese Water DOG.

            That aughta get the right going………….

            The bastard can’t even get an American dog. LOL

          • 0 avatar

            ….CoreyDL – I did have a golden retriever that would ignore other dogs when I brought him to the vet. It was like he thought he was too handsome to associate with mutts….

            They are!!!! LOL

  • avatar

    You get old like me there will many cars you wish you kept, and many too that you are glad are gone. At some point you will find a favorite and keep it around for awhile.

    • 0 avatar

      Fred, exactly! And that’s why I’m not clear on why he wanted to sell the Boss to begin with. Seems to me, if he loved this collector’s item so much, he could have worked to find a way to keep it in his collection.

    • 0 avatar

      Fred, I was thinking the same thing…I have had so many that have turned out to be collectors…probably the most of current value a 1970 AAR Cuda, purchased new in October of 1970…some example have sold for a million plus in the past 4 or 5 years…or the 69 428 Cobra Jet, 4 speed car, red with gold package that my ex wife attempted to destroy after we split up in ’75…fixed and sold 6 months later for a song, now worth at least 65 to 75K in the condition I tend to keep my vehicles…I could go on, but…

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the process I went through when I *attempted* to sell my beloved 1974 BMW 2002. In my early years, we lived in Germany and for some of those years, we lived off-base as my father was on an unaccompanied tour of Korea. We rented a small apartment just outside of Karlsruhe and the family that owned the apartment house soon became lifelong friends. The kindly gentleman of the house took me under his wing and shared his love of all things BMW with me. My very first ride in a Bimmer was in his white 1600. I’m sure the emotional attachment came more from him than the car (I was all of 5 at the time), but my fate was sealed. I grew up always knowing I’d own an older BMW, and in that led to my desire for a 2002.
    Fast forward to 1993 and I’m a year removed from graduating college. I join the BMWCCA and begin attending regular meetings with the Nashville chapter. I pour over ads for 2002s and finally decide to call on one in Indianapolis. Figured I’d make a weekend out of it and visit my father’s family just south of there. I can’t describe the way I felt when I pulled around the corner and saw that Baikal Blau 2002 for the first time. The test drive was sublime and I was hooked. I went back to TN and sold my 1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R and made the trip back up to Indy to pick up “Blue Bonnet.”
    For several years, she became my DD and I relished each venture behind that big, thin wheel. Friends and family couldn’t understand my love of that blue box on wheels. There were faster cars (yes, even in 1993!). And there were cars that handled better. But the connection was there, and at the ripe old age of 23, I was driving my dream car already.
    For some reason, I thought I needed to grow up and sell Blue Bonnet, so I placed an ad and quickly got a response from a guy in Nashville. We talked about the car and he willingly agreed to a price, sight unseen, and we negotiated to meet halfway between where I lived in north TN and Nashville. The day arrived and my wife pulled in behind me on I-24 as we settled in for the 35 minute or so drive south. I drove down thinking of all the great memories I had in that car…my first time behind the wheel, all of the great meets with the BMWCCA folks…and as I got closer and closer to the destination point, a sense of dread and deep depression set in. I just couldn’t sell her. It was overwhelming. My (then) wife offered to take a few pictures of the ’02 before the new buyer arrived, and all I could do was sob uncontrollably at the thought of driving back home in my wife’s car and not my 2002. When the prospective buyer showed up, I broke the news that the sale wouldn’t happen. I know it was the wrong way to do things, but I wasn’t ready to let go. After a few tense moments of disbelief, we parted ways and I headed back north behind the tiller of my brick on wheels, smiling as if it was the first day again.
    Cars are funny things for some of us. Many lust after hyper-exotics. Or muscle cars. They connect with us in ways indescribable and confound those that don’t understand. Some are extensions of our personalities, while others tie us to a past that is deeply ingrained into who we are. For me, that old 2002 was a very real, hopelessly personal connection to a man I truly cherished and loved dearly. I wouldn’t have traded that time for any exotic on the road.

  • avatar

    Great…now i’m misty eyed sitting at my desk in the office… Thinking about my 8 year old son’s love for cars and his face when i took him on first ride in the super loud G35. I traded that car in on a Civic a year later; couldn’t stand that exhaust note that my kid loved so much.

  • avatar

    I have enjoyed following your journey very much as I too have felt the disappointment of my son from selling my old hotrod…I owned a 1970 Charger for several years that I had souped up with a built 440 that was a blast to play with. I let a niece & nephew & my daughter all drive it to their senior banquet. I sold the car when it started needing too much work done to kids really hated to see it go as they had grown up with it..i ended up letting my son drive a brand new Hemi powered Ram truck to his senior banquet..he had fun..but it was not the same..i have since owned a 71 Challenger and currently own a 68 toys that of course I would not even think of driving daily..but on days still puts a smile on my face to go for blast in it

  • avatar

    You will live to regret this day you just sold a family member.

  • avatar

    0+3=3; I’m not a bot dammit!

    This was an incredible read. I have to forward this to my fiancée. Ohhh man…

  • avatar

    That’s how I feel about my 6MT G35. Early in it’s life (before 130K miles) I did many track days all over the south east. It’s done thousands of miles through Deal’s gap and other mountain roads. It has towed me and my motorcycles to many races and track days. I enjoy it as much now as I did when I drove it off the lot 10 years ago. It is a third (or fourth, depending on how you count) vehicle for me and doesn’t get driven much anymore, but every time I do drive it, I enjoy it. I have so many good memories from that car that I may never sell it. And it’s never had any issues or problems aside from front bumper and hood paint wear from crap on the track, and eating more brake rotors/pads and wheel bearings than a modern car has a right to.

    My kids enjoy the G35, not because it is better than our other cars (it’s not), but because they know I enjoy driving it.

    It’s not as fast as a modern V6 Camry or Maxima, the suspension isn’t awesome, the brakes on the track are mediocre at best – the car is just too heavy – but with race pads, good fluid and reasonably sticky tires, it all comes together to make big fun.

    Obviously a whole different class than the Boss, but I’m attached none-the-less. The old VQ still spends an inordinate amount of time between 5 and 7 thousand RPM with no complaint and everytime I drive it without the kids, I am lucky I don’t get caught.

    • 0 avatar

      My 350Z has the same issues on the track: as mentioned the brakes are a joke so I upgraded to the G37 Sport versions which are Akebonos. These are bigger then the Brembos offered on the “track” editions car and actually seem up to the task. I’ve already gone thru one set of front wheel bearings as well. Along with the original (crappy) CD001 transmission due to bad 3rd gear syncros. These are all common, well know issues. However its good to hear the rest of the car, especially the VQDE engine can take the abuse.

  • avatar

    Well said. About 3 weeks ago we were car shopping with the kids and on the way home it hit my son that we would for sure be getting rid of my truck, 2003 Silverado, 195k miles. I bought the truck just before he was born and he’s gone everywhere in it. In 1st grade he wrote a story titled “Why I’m a truck guy”. When we got home he had a full on breakdown with the culmination of “you can’t get rid of it, IT’S WHO I AM!”

    Breaks my heart every time I think of it. But the BMW in the garage is softening the blow for both of us.

  • avatar

    Another Baruth story that opens, folds around itself, then closes gracefully like a favorite flower.

  • avatar

    Nice piece of writing but…sounds like you don’t take very good care of your cars. Driving it like it was meant to be driven is not the same as abuse…if you’re drifting it out of your housing development, that probably means you’re beating the crap out of a cold engine.

    You were probably wise not to attempt a private sale…most of them want to buy the best example of the car they can find.

  • avatar

    It is a good story, but Bark M =/= Jack B.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Fantastic piece Bark! I too get attached to my cars for the memories…and why I have such a easy time continuing to pump $ in the old Trooper, now semi-retired up north. It’s making yet another transmission noise (damn 4L30E and its glass jaw). But then I see the stained debris field around the perfect outline of where the child seat used to go…juice stains, old cheerios still tucked in the seat folds…doing donuts on the beach, traveling across country…. well, I guess another $1000 or two won’t kill me. We all love the car.

    When shopping for its replacement, my adolescent daughter was very much a part of the process. She loves the Outback, and is hoping to inherit it in a few years once she has some driving experience under her belt.

    We’ll see.

  • avatar

    I had the exact same car. And I recently traded mine in, although mine only had 7k miles. And that is the reason I traded it, it wasn’t being used. Once we had our third child, there was no way all of us could go anywhere in the stang. Now I have a 16 Challenger Scat Pack Shaker in B5 Blue. Beautiful car and it fits 3 kids in the back. Already put 1k miles on it and its basically winter. I expect to use this car a lot more.

  • avatar

    May 2011 …My wife was ill …I knew something was wrong. She had come home from work in tears the previous January . A year before that I had sold my 2000 Firebird convertible. I spotted a 2008 Mustang convertible 6 cyl automatic. Two hours later , it was mine. It was our “fun” car we went everywhere with it. Our retirement car.

    8 months later , we sat in the Doctors office , and listened while the Neurolgist told us “your wife has Early onset Alzheimer’s. ” she has maybe 5 good years. “The Doctor said “go and enjoy yourself ,while you can ” We did ! Travelled to the islands , stayed at the best resorts. Penthouse rooms at the Mirage Vegas. We cranked over 30000 Klms on that Mustang. Florida , right down to the Keys. We went through the Cabot Trail , down through Maine , and the Mountains of New England . Toured the back roads of Ontario , top down heater on.

    During that period of time , I. Traded my wife’s Jimmy for a Cobalt , the ministry suspended her license . So I traded my W Impala in on a 2011 2 SS Camaro . I just couldnt hack driving a Cobalt in the winter months, so I traded it in on a 2009 GMC Long box 4×4. I hated it . so traded my ” garage queen ” Camaro , and the truck in on a 2014 Impala. 2.5 four banger. I figured.” Now there is a practical car , for a guy in my position to drive”

    Through all those car deals, the Mustang kept it’s status as the “fun car” . As the summer of 2015 came to a close, the reality of the horrible disease known as Alzheimer’s showed it’s ugly head. The Mustang barely moved after late May this year. I was facing the prospect of storing the Mustang for the winter, with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be used next year.

    Dedicated GM man that I am , I just love Mustangs. I knew that I was going to need to go to one car. I thought to myself ” screw it , if I have to drive one car, it’s going to be the car I want” With the staggering cost of assisted living, I just might need to drive the same car for a long , long time.

    The Ford dealer was , Luke warm with the idea of a 4 cyl Impala , oh , but they wanted that 2008 convert. We made a deal. I now have a shiny new 2015 Mustang with 2.3 Turbo sitting .in my garage.

    I guess I could say that selling our “fun car” broke my heart,,,…Too late it’s was already broken.


    • 0 avatar

      Sad tale. Does the Canadian gov’t provide any help with assisted living costs?

      • 0 avatar

        28-Cars-Later – I’m not sure how the rules work in Ontario. Each province has quite a bit of say over how they run their own health care. Hospitals are protected federally under the Health Care Act but “public health” isn’t federally regulated. It also depends on one’s financial status. Middle class tend to sit too high to get financial assistance. It can also depend on how “at risk” a person is on their own.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m sure there are rules and regulations which vary and for good reason but “universal” health care as advertised to use down here does not imply “at risk” or “means testing”. My understanding is you all pay into via your VAT taxes. Funny how that works.

    • 0 avatar

      @Mikey – my heart goes out to you.

  • avatar

    28 cars …….I wish. The decent Govt sanctioned Nursing homes , have. Five year waiting list. The homes that don’t have a long list, you wouldn’t let your dog stay in. Our “free” health care…? Is a long ways from free.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes we have the same kind of “free” healthcare, except its not free to actual productive citizens.

    • 0 avatar

      Mikey, so sorry to hear. We have a number of family members (all passed now) who’ve had some sort of dementia before their passing. FWIW, you’re not bumming me out, but reminding me to live every day. Thanks bro…
      (EDIT: I think I replied to the wrong post…)

  • avatar

    I didn’t write this to bum anybody out. But I’ve been a long time member of the B&B , and I thought it was time to share my story.

    • 0 avatar

      It def sucks. They diagnosed my grandmother with a similar thing but I am fairly certain it was a misdiagnosis and in her case she just had normal 90 something year old dementia. What you describe is more the disease of Alz. I could tell you a story at least on par with your own but we must focus on more positive things else the urge for sudden suicide starts to creep in. Plus its Christmas.

      Be cheerful while you are alive – Ptahhotep, 400 BC

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a horrible disease.

      These things put the trivial day-to-day common worries most of us stress, fret & obsess over into their proper perspective, which should be to let them go.

      Life is weird, unpredictable, seemingly random, and often, ironic in both the best & worst ways.

    • 0 avatar

      Mikey, a sad story and my heart goes out to you. I’m watching my father deteriorate before my eyes and it breaks my heart. My late mom always said that life is not a dress rehearsal. Google “Corvette Dreams” and check out the video. The Vettes in it are actually irrelevant…but the story told is not. Live life while you can.

  • avatar

    Great article, Bark. The part about your son wanting the Mustang for you was especially touching. I have a son like that too, though he is now 21. Believe me, they aren’t all like that, or even close to it. You are a lucky man in many ways.

    Mikey, my heart goes out to you. The story is too close for comfort, so I know what you are going through. My much younger wife, who looks and has acted even younger for years, is now having problems with tremors and lack of steadiness. Her father died about five years ago from Lewy body disease. And the doctors haven’t been able to figure out what is wrong with her yet.

    It reminds me to cherish every day that we are given with our loved ones.

    My heart is heavy this Christmas for another reason as well. My 21 year old son has met a 26 y.o. woman from three or four states away who is divorced and with two young boys. He is SURE that this is THE LOVE of his life. Most of us who are a bit older know that this feeling may come several times in our lives, and if we are lucky, it will be true one time.

    But at 21 he is sure enough to want to move down there and start a life with her. And all I can do is assure him that I will love him no matter what, and that he is always welcome back if it comes to that.

    He is spending Christmas vacation out in OH with his best friend from HS, a Chinese student who will be here in the US over the holidays, so we will celebrate our family Christmas when he returns.

    He wanted to move down to NC right away, but out of respect for my advice, he has agreed to stay with us for a week when he gets back from OH with his friend, then go down there for a week, come back for a week, and then go down there to stay if he still thinks it is the real deal.

    It came out of the blue, and reminds me how quickly life can change.

    Since my wife wants to get back into nursing school up here, it will be impossible for at least two years for me to be close to both of the two people who are the most important to me.

    I would give anything for my son to be the age of your son or your nephew again, but the hands of time don’t turn back. And I wish my wife was still the lively, full of life person she has been for the twenty some years we have been together.

    Life has given me more than most people ever get, with my wife and my son. Which is why watching those things slip away is so painful to me. Being an old geezer, I always thought I would be gone before either of them were gone from me, which just shows how little we can predict the future.

    Your story reminds me of how important each moment and each opportunity with the ones we love truly is.

    Merry Christmas to you, your brother, your families, and to all the B&B and their families.

    Sorry for dropping my bad news on all of you, but it is too much to keep inside…and while all of you are not my only friends, I consider most of you to be friends. I hope 2015 ends better for most of you.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you researched brain stimulator for tremors?

      • 0 avatar

        @tariqv – no I haven’t yet. Wasn’t aware of that. But you can be sure that I will be checking this out, as well as discussing this with her, her doctor, and her doctor brother.

        I hadn’t thought about the possibility of it being something that might be due to irregularities in the brain waves, though I was aware of how brainwave feedback training could help some people.

        So thank you very much for your suggestion. When and if anything comes of it, I will try to remember to post back here again so that you will have some feedback. Although it may only be anecdotal when I do, it would be an anecdote I would be glad to have in my life, and hers.

  • avatar

    I don’t have a Boss 302 income so I own a 2006 Mustang 4.0 V6 5 speed. I feel no differently than Bark though. I LOVE driving this car even without the ability to shred tires at will. Don’t know what it is; probably no single thing but it just makes me smile. The look, the feel, the Mustang-ness of it are all intoxicating–and I’m a guy who drove nothing but sporty Euro cars and Subarus for years.

    The comparison with motorcycles was spot-on also. This past year I sold a totally practical and comfortable (but boring) bike for something more involving and gorgeous to look at, a Triumph Bonneville. I’m totally smitten by the modern retro rides; all the beauty without the constant fussing. The Mustang and Triumph both delight every time I turn the key. They may not be the fastest or incite the most jealousy from others but I don’t care…I enjoy the journeys so much more.

  • avatar

    I had a similar experience with a car I owned. I had a Dodge Lancer ES turbo for 11 years. When my kids were little (they’re now 22 & 25), my wife worked a boat load of hours every week, so I was responsible for getting them to and from day care and everywhere else, really. My older daughter knew that I enjoyed hammering that box of rattles and was very interested in how I managed the car. My younger daughter just knew it was going to be fun almost no matter where we went in the Lancer.

    When the car was 11 years old, my kids were 8 and 5 and growing like weeds. I decided that we needed more capacity in terms of hauling and space. Somehow I came to the decision an extended cab pickup truck was the right answer (it wasn’t) and traded off my old Lancer for a Dakota. My older daughter was visibly upset when I came home with the truck, I later found out she went to her room and cried. I had no idea.

    Several days later she asked if we could go see the Lancer so she could say goodbye to it; I said sure. We went to the Carmax where I traded the Lancer for the Dakota, but by then it had been shipped off (probably) to an auction somewhere in central Georgia. My daughter cried again.

    Now my kids are grown, my older daughter has been through two cars (that she modded herself) and an SUV; my younger daughter could care less about driving and only has replaced my old Cavalier with a newer car. I had no idea how I had influenced my kids.

    Thanks for the reminder, Bark.

  • avatar

    Bark, one of the best you have penned…great story, but most of all it exemplifies how many of us view our cars, and the affect they have on not just us, but family members as well…I sold my Yellow C6 Z 51 3LT Corvette a couple of years ago to build a garage that will hold more cars. I had owned the car for over 6 years, and had never driven it on a trip. I did do several track days at TMS, Putnam Park, and Mid Ohio during that time, but most often trailered it to and from those events…I never autocrossed it since it was not a Z 06 and knew it would not be competitive. My wife and I drove it from Dallas to California’s southern coast, and toured a lot of Southern Cal, and experienced many canyons and back roads before heading home, taking the long way and following what was left of Route 66…A fantastic trip, and made me wish I had driven it more. I sold it with 27K on the odo with thoughts I would eventually buy a C7 when the popularity ad the price receded a bit…I’m still waiting for that to happen…
    Again, good read, thanks for publishing…

  • avatar

    Mullets? Mustangs? Nah, that’s Camaro drivers.

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