The short answer is, I wanted a sports car that is relatively reliable, and easy to mod and work on.
It’s funny because I’m not really just a Mustang or muscle car person, even though that’s what I grew up around, but I’m on my second, well technically third Mustang. When I was 14 I got a ’93 fox body as a project car thinking that I still had 2 years to learn and do what I wanted with it. The truth is, I didn’t learn or do shit, so I sold it. Then I got a 2001 Monte Carlo when I got my learner’s permit, which was an utter shitbox. After that, I went to my 1999 Camaro, which was a pretty good car, but a little boring since it was and automatic V6. Then for my senior year in high school, I bought a ’97 Mustang GT, those 2 valve engines make some of the best sounds of any car. I owned that for exactly 4 years, like down to a couple days exact, and decided for my senior year of college that it was time for an upgrade. So that’s when I got my ’06 Mustang that you see in the picture.
This last time around I had a budget of under $15k, and since it was my only car it had to be pretty reliable, or at least cheap to fix if things broke. Even though a Mini Cooper is great fun, and feels pretty quick when you put your foot down, they are notorious for being hard to work on and unreliable above 60k miles. I also considered a first gen Porsche Boxter, but I don’t know anything about them, and there’s no way it’d be easy or cheap to work on. Another consideration was the Infinity G35, but all of those seemed to be beat on pretty hard and had a lot of miles, so the options were pretty limited for a good one. I also considered a Mazda RX-8, but the rotary engine that made it so great, also made it horrible since it’s hard to find someone to work on it, and I wouldn’t be able to do any engine work myself since it’s so unique. That’s why they’re such a good bargain right now, which made it very tempting at the time. There were a couple other options like the 350z, and the Fiesta and Focus ST, but at the time I was looking the best options were with Mustangs.
What I learned
The day I went looking at cars I think I looked at 7 or 8 cars, most of which were Mustangs. You’re never going to find a great deal at a dealership, but that’s where I was looking because I could do the financing there, and not deal with getting the title from a private owner. Some dealerships were the small private owner types and many of the cars there I walked up to and walked away before talking to anyone because you could tell they weren’t taken care of. The one nice thing I found about large dealerships was that they tended to have the better cars, but you did pay for it because they knew what they had. I’m not into the whole dealer salesman types that just spew bullshit. One of the one’s I went to had a pretty good car, but the dealer was one of those guys, and I walked away and never looked back because everything he told me was wrong. The place I found my car at was a large used car dealership, it used to be a new car dealership and had somewhere around 500 cars on the lot. Mine was sitting in the front so they could show it off, check that off the bucket list. I didn’t really like that it was one of those dealerships that didn’t negotiate on price, but I liked how they let me have my space to look the car over and test drive it. I hate when a dealer is breathing down my neck as I look at a car; instant turn-off.
I plan to keep my current car for awhile as a play toy that I can mod and race, and whatever other shenanigans I can come up with. I’m thinking when either the new Fiesta ST or Focus ST comes out I will lease one of those for a year or two. I also have set a goal for myself to own a Porsche within 5 years of graduating. The 996 Carrera is known to have engine problems and be the most boring 911, so I won’t do that, but either the current generation Cayman or the 997 Carrera will be where I land. Growing up I never cared much for Porsche, but the more I hear about their dynamics and how they are the reliable “supercar” they have really become, I wouldn’t say dream car, because that’s the GT3 pictured above, but it is a major goal of mine.