Farewell, My Lovely Mustang

When men look back on selling their beloved sporty convertibles, it’s almost always with regret. Even being painfully aware of those stories, I sold my 1989 Mustang convertible this week. It was time.

I loved that car. It symbolized so much more than just a thirty-something’s desire for a convertible. It was my first new car. I bought it without asking for help from my parents with the down payment. (This surprised the hell out of my mother, not to mention me.) It was a talisman of my recovery, of my shedding my enmeshment from my parents, of my first steps into financial independence.

And I associate so many fond memories with that car. I was driving to the beach one day, and noticed my cousin in the car next to me with some friends. I waved. My cousin later told me that one of her friends shrieked, “Andee! That cute guy in the convertible is waving at you!”

I took it on long driving trips, so much so that I racked up 17,000 miles on it the first year. I throttled back on those after a while, but I loved traversing the open road with the top down and the wind blowing through what little hair I had at the time.

Once, when it was still pretty new, my friend Andrew and I took it on a trip through central California, sticking to back roads as much as possible. We found ourselves on a road so isolated that it wasn’t even paved. We stopped at a gas station later and pulled out a map to see which back road we should take next. We asked the attendant about one intriguing option, but he looked at the Mustang and said, “No, that’s the Parkfield grade. I wouldn’t take a car this nice on that road.” We returned to poring over the map, only to quickly realize that the road we’d driven in on was indeed the Parkfield grade.

It was also the car I was driving when I picked up the woman who’s now my wife for our first date. (I admit I started getting a little weepy when I remembered this particular significance, but I sold it anyway.) It turned out she hated convertibles, but was discreet enough not to say anything until after we were engaged. This may beg the question why I haven’t gotten rid of it before this, but like I say – I loved that car.

But recently, it just sat in the garage. I bought a hybrid Lincoln a year or so ago that we absolutely love – smooth, comfortable, and always delivering at least 40 miles per gallon. It’s more our style now. I’m no longer that thirty-something. It was time for someone else to enjoy it.

Am I going to be one of those sixty-somethings with regrets? Somehow, I don’t think so. I’ve already decided what to do with the space in the garage where the Mustang was – I’m setting up an electric train set. The boys stay the same; only their toys change.



About middleagecranky

The Middle-Age Cranky blog is written by baby boomer Howard Baldwin, who finds the world, while occasionally wondrous, increasingly aggravating.
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2 Responses to Farewell, My Lovely Mustang

  1. Bob Eicholz says:

    Always love what you write, Howard. This 60 something went through the same and survived. A year ago, I parted with my beautiful 1973 Ford Pinto Station Wagon (Woody) and my 1972 Red Karman Ghia convertible. Was it sad? You bet. But the sadness was replaced by the next passion: Flying my plane.

    I know this next one can only last 10 – 20 years if I’m lucky, due to health requirements for pilots. But I’m already thinking about the next phase: Will I go back to school in my 80’s to study history / literature? Cross the country in a motorhome? Buy and sell houses or do air BNB’s? Move to another country with my also-adventurous husband?

    For me, life is a gift. We learn to say hello. We learn to say goodbye. But we also look forward – as long as we can – to the next passion that makes us feel young again.

    One day if I don’t kill myself with all the fun, I’ll be confined to a wheelchair or in any case less mobile. What will I do then? I haven’t figured that one out yet. But I hope I can find something really cool…maybe look at pictures of my Pinto, Vega, VW, Plane…and the wonderful friends I made along the way. Or just hang out and talk with new retired friends, with a devoted dog at my side.

    Who knows? I think I’ll find something!

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