Friday, May 14, 2010

Putting the Cart(ing) Before the Horse(power)

I’m old and terminally responsible.
At least that’s how I’ve been feeling since last night when I was test-driving a beautiful Sterling Gray 2010 Mustang GT V-8 convertible.  I insisted that the roof be up because I didn’t want to be swayed by the wrong incentives to buy the car.  In fact, having the top down and taking an on-ramp at 50 mph might be the only two reasons one might possibly consider buying that kind of car.
But as I watched my impossibly slight slip of a child slide into the backseat with her book I thought to myself, Do I really want her to spend the rest of her ‘tween and early teen years as a second class citizen in the back of mommy’s second-seat-as-second-thought muscle car? Then it hit me.  No. No, I don’t. 
And this thought struck me: With only four seats (two of which only minimally meet that criterion) we can never go anywhere as a family again.  Well, that one didn’t hit me so hard because frankly, driving all together is not all it’s cracked-up to be unless you’re in a minivan.  That’s right!  I said it. M-i-n-i-v-a-n. I loved my minivan. It got us and some friends, everywhere we needed to go, not to mention accommodating the occasional 4x8 sheet of building material and pack of bicycles as well.  You just can’t beat that functionality.
Shake it off.  The minivan was gone years ago. Back to the anti-minivan.
Having owned a bad model year (’78) used Mustang coupe in my 20s, I have always wanted a Mustang convertible, the desire for which has increased dramatically since the pretty ones came back in 2005. After staring at even more beautiful body of the 2010 model, and listening to the lovely purr of the engine, I got in and drove.  I liked the pilot-like feeling the cockpit-like atmosphere of the 315 hp 6-speed car gave, but I didn’t love the drive. No matter how much I wanted to.  When I wound up the engine, I could not muster even a fraction of the scarcely suppressed enthusiasm my spouse sported as he was sitting in the passenger’s seat. His mouth said, “It’ll be your car. You should love it,” but his eyes said, “VROOM! How I’ve missed ye!” As an American muscle car, the Mustang may very well be the last of a dying breed he remembers fondly from his youth.
Even with all these extra reasons in mind, I just couldn’t get over the price to power-I’ll-never-use ratio.
So the Mustang purchase, which was slated for my 50th birthday anyway, is on hold for now.  Maybe we’ll revisit it in a few years when I’m actually approaching 50, at which point I may have a stronger desire for horsepower and no cares regarding the comfort of my backseat passenger – who should be able to drive the next family hand-me-down vehicle shortly thereafter.  
For now, I feel so practical, I’m surprised I didn’t go right out and buy another minivan.
Do they make convertible minivans?

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