Living The Dream Part II

I know, I know….it’s been way too long. So, where were we….?

Oh yeah, we were all bailing out of my ’81 Turbo Trans Am like a bad Chinese fire drill tearing up the hill to literally press our noses to the exterior showroom glass. How could I forget?

That car was so beautiful and the Russet Brown finish was really highlighted by the gold GTA accents. I never got to see it any closer, as it was dealer swapped at some point in the next week for a new 1987 Bonneville S/E. So much for legendary beginnings….

The Turbo T/A soldiered on into my senior year in college with only minor protestations, but time was really catching up with it and into the fall of 1987 it was visiting the repair shops too often again. During my holiday break that year my parents broached the topic of possibly retiring the T/A in favor of something newer to drive. Alas, they were up front about not having the funds for a GTA but offered other interesting alternatives. They even gave into letting me keep the ’81 and just parking it…. That sounded like a workable deal to me. So my Dad said “have you seen a Ford Mustang lately?” I know, I know: fighting words to an F-Body lover. But a new car is a new car sometimes, right? With a warranty.

I told him I wouldn’t mind looking at one, and the search began. But the GTA haunted me constantly, and the framed ad hanging in my dorm room did nothing to ease the pain either. LOL

It didn’t take long to find a suitable Mustang, as Ford was really pushing the newly-restyled Mustang GT but I had other ideas. For some reason, even though I was driving one of the flashiest pony cars in recent history I had started to embrace the idea of “low profile”. I know, I know… ME? But it’s true. The Mustang LX was the one that really stood out to me: all the go-fast goodies and none of the aero add-ons. And, lo and behold our Ford dealer in town had one in the same color combo as my Turbo Trans Am. Can you say KARMA?

The test drive hooked me in like 5 seconds… I had never been in a car that ran like that, ever. It was all a guy could do just to keep the rear end from coming around under anything more than piddling acceleration. We went back to the dealership and started negotiations…. and my Dad is one serious negotiator. To make a long story short, it got down to $100 difference and neither my Pop nor the dealership owner would budge. I interjected “I’ll pay the $100 myself” and my Dad was like “oh Hell no you’re not paying a damn dime”. And after hearing the famous spiel about not buying a car any cheaper anywhere else, we left and headed south from Batesville.

Fruitless stops in Searcy and Cabot, Arkansas brought us to Jacksonville and what was then called Long Ford. After talking to the salesman for a bit we discerned that they did in fact have a couple of Mustangs on the lot: a 4-cylinder convertible and a white GT 5.0. I drove the white car for a short jaunt there (with accompanying salesman….booooo) and we headed back to the lot. My Dad asked my opinion and I told him that I loved the car but I didn’t like the white color. My T/A was Black and I kinda wanted any car that I got to be the same color. We were getting ready to leave when lo and behold they did discover that they did have a black GT on the back lot and it had come in that very morning. I went back there to investigate and they were right: a Black/Silver GT 5.0 sitting by the body shop. Still had the plastic on the seats and steering wheel…. and a sunroof! I was hooked and we went back to start negotiating…or actually I went back to sit with my tail between my legs while my Dad did all the talking. Anyway, we were hearing basically a different variation on the same story when my Dad just stopped and got up, thanked the folks for their time, and made for the door telling them that he was going to buy a car on that day somewhere but he guessed it wouldn’t be there. He got to the dealership’s main door before they stopped him. The sales manager said “Mr. Rider….if you’re gonna buy a car today, then you’re gonna buy it here.” Long story short: the car stickered for $15,515. We paid $13,700….which was $200 less than the LX 5.0 that I mooned over in Batesville.

And Dad did indeed take it back to our local dealer the very next day…and the manager would not come out to look at it. LOL

Senior in college, new FAST car, got the world by the tail….let me tell you. On the drive home I was feeling pretty darn spiffy if I must say. The first GTA that passed me on the other side of the four-lane didn’t faze me much; after all, I was driving a brand new 5.0 MUSTANG GT! So, take that, Pontiac!

The second GTA that went by me that day fazed me a little bit more, I must say. Hey, I’m human, right? Still, I was OK…OK…OK. Maybe a stop for a cold drink would take my mind off what I wasn’t driving…

You know where this is going, right? Guess God was rubbing it in a little on December 28, 1987….

No more than five miles after merging back onto the highway, GTA #3 comes easing by me at @ 65 mph. And it was Black….and had all the gold trimmings my Dad talked about….and was the most beautiful car I’d ever seen. And I wasn’t driving it….talk about your heart coming up in your throat, man! Plus, to top it all off….the punk driving it had to be looking through the top opening of the steering wheel to even see; no way could he see the hood at all. Why, that little snot nose so-and-so; THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!!!!