It's not just a convertible, it's a lifestyle
Whatever possessed a senior couple to trade in their practical SUV for a Mustang convertible? This all started three years ago. As an automotive journalist, I receive various vehicles to evaluate and then report on.
One of the cars tested back then was a Mustang GT coupe, a 460-horsepower hot rod that was about the quickest thing on the road. This Mustang was painted in Ford’s signature “Grabber Blue” colour, a unique shade introduced in the late 1960s and reintroduced earlier in this decade. It was the colour that sold Margie, and planted the seed.
Any time she would see a Mustang in Grabber Blue, there would be that look on her face, especially if it was a convertible. During a trip through the Florida Keys, where just about every second car was a Mustang convertible, I would comment “here comes a nice Mustang”.
“I don’t care,” she would say. “It’s not Grabber Blue.”
“But what difference does that make?” “I don’t care if it’s the same car, it’s not Grabber Blue.” So with all our four 30-something children married and out of the house, and us in semi-retirement with more free time on our hands, we decided we would not follow in our parents’ footsteps.
We decided that although we are not as youthful as we once were, our age was not going to stop us from retaining a youthful spirit. And on a sunny day in June we handed over the keys to our SUV and in return received the keys to a new and important part of our lifestyle, a 2014 Mustang convertible, in Grabber Blue of course.
Our family and friends were somewhat shocked when they saw us pull up with the Mustang. Our oldest child, a minivan-driving soccer mom in her late 30s, was especially taken aback.
“What have you done?” she questioned. “Are you sure you know what you are doing? Isn’t it too hard for you to get in and out of that car?”
But after she drove the car, her outlook changed. “It’s so low to the ground,” she said. “How do you see over the hood?” We see just fi ne, thank you, especially with the roof down and all that sunshine pouring over us.
And this past summer a lot of sunshine did pour down on us as we cruised the highways and back roads with the convertible roof tucked away behind us. Those in other cars would look at us, sometimes with jealousy or yearning in their faces, or perhaps they were thinking what are two people that age doing enjoying themselves?
There have been lots of thumbsup from people of all ages, whether due to a rarity of convertibles in our region or the unique colour. A Mustang convertible is certainly not a practical car, but we have adapted to it and it suits us just fine.
We don’t need a station wagon or a van to haul children around, nor need the space for groceries. Admittedly the back seat would be torturous for anyone over nine years of age, and the trunk will not hold a set of golf clubs, but for two people the Mustang provided ample space during a recent 6,000-kilometer, 12-state tour through the central US. With its 3.7-liter V6 engine, the Mustang has been certainly capable of cruising at sustained highway speeds when necessary, and during this road trip delivered an average of 8.5 L/100kms on regular gas, or just over 33 miles per gallon.
A couple of things we learned that are unique to driving a convertible: it gets poorer fuel mileage with the roof down, and when driving east later in the day there is no roof to keep the ever-lowering sun out of the rearview mirror.
The car is certainly not the easiest vehicle to enter and exit, but the exercise of getting in and out helps negate our age in life.
The cockpit is roomy for two when in there, and provides an intimate, secure feeling with the roof up, not unlike camping in a tent in the rain.
When the sky is clear and the temperature pleasant, rolling down the windows and pushing the little button on the windshield console of the Mustang changes everything. There is a feeling of freedom, a little adventure, and comfort for the soul.
And with these feelings, all the aches and pains disappear as we cruise along the asphalt with the sun beating down on us and whipping our hair (what some of us have left) in our faces.