It’s hard to believe it, but I’m over halfway done with my Fiesta ST. It’s been 13 months since little Zippy made My Old Kentucky Home his semi-permanent residence, displacing the Boss ( RIP) in the process. And while my attention has turned somewhat to Zippy’s ultimate replacement, I still smile every time that I press the Start button in the FiST.
My son, whom you may remember for his tearful goodbye to the 302, now hoots and hollers from his booster seat with every press of the accelerator, the yellow beast expunged from his memory. My daughter, ever mindful of the fact that we only get to keep Zippy for another 11 months, has requested that we get another one just like it at the end of the lease.
So imagine their excitement when another Performance Blue Fiesta ST rolled into our driveway over the weekend.
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.
The year was 2008. I was working the course at the SCCA Toledo Pro Solo during the Ladies’ class runs. For those of you who don’t know what a Pro Solo is like, I’ll try to explain quickly. It’s a mirrored autocross course with two competitors, one on each side. Instead of being waved onto the course by a flagger, like in a regular autocross, there’s a drag tree that starts the drivers. It’s the closest thing to “racing” that you’ll find at an autocross.
As I watched one particular pairing of cars leave the line, I noticed that one of the cars, a Mini Cooper S, was getting up on two wheels in the first 3-cone slalom. As the car rocked back and forth from the left two wheels to the right and then back to the left, the front left wheel bent and caught the cement, tripping the car and causing it to flip forward. It bounced off of its roof, and ended up landing on its wheels, facing back toward the starting line.
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