“Why are you giving your car away? What’s the point? You know you’re crazy for doing this, right?“
[You’re reading part of the Mustang Challenge series, a loosely bound concept that was created to inspire others to get out and explore the country in their cars. In this Mustang Challenge, two Canadians are touring the USA for the first time, traveling for 26 days through 13 different US cities while traversing over 8,000 miles behind the wheel of a 2016 Mustang GT. This is one post in a series of many. To read the previous articles and to follow the series, jump to the bottom of this page.]
All questions I’ve gotten from friends, co-workers, and family–all looking out for me, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that–much more than three times. Hearing it for the third time forced the potential hazards of the whole thing to reach my, um, “less receptive” brain and in for processing. I heavily weighed the pros and cons that would come with loaning a new, not at all paid for Mustang GT to two guys I had never met in person. I’m still going through with it. Here’s why.
The worst thing that could possibly happen isn’t that bad of a thing–Connor would have to ditch the car on a desolate highway outside of Albuquerque and hike his way back to Montreal for the worst-case scenario to occur, in which case I’ll have to go get the car. Not really that bad if you think about it. Plus, lizards are cool. I’d just make the whole thing into a cool lizard spotting adventure anyway. Joke’s on Connor if that’s how it plays out.
If the car spontaneously combusts while Alex and Connor are inside a convenience store buying Excel gum and whatever the hell else Canadian folk snack on, Insurance Man is there to swoop in and save the day. I’m picturing some form of a more modern Clark Kent dressed in Geico-themed spandex, fresh off a superhero battle with Flo, flying down to assess the damage and cut me a check in the same instance. Probably not exactly how it works, but I’m going to roll with it for now. So yeah, full coverage apparently means two noodlehead Canadians can do whatever they want in my car and I should be good, at least until the insurance company reads this or someone who knows a lot more about liability and tort law than I tells me I’m an idiot.
The Big Picture
Now looking at the potential upsides, that’s where it gets interesting. For me, the number one motivator is that the whole thing gets documented to be re-lived later down the road. I mean, how many stories in one’s lifetime do you get the opportunity to have entire events play out in a permanently stored, fully cataloged form? We take a lot of pictures while on vacation or when learning a new city, but there’s something to be said about going back and re-reading about that time you played out the real-life sequel to Dude, Where’s My Car?.
Don’t get me wrong, I love driving, and I’ve found a better existence since I’ve been behind the wheel of the S550 GT. It’s ungodly fast, so much so that I’ve made friends with a few of the state troopers who help keep Route 202 and Interstate 76 safe for the rest of us. It’s also nimble as all-hell for such a beast and you’re talking ~3,700 lbs sitting on the bones of this pony car; they typically stop breeding you as a track horse once you break into that weight class.
However, the S550 has somehow defied its weight. The new chassis leaves you with a Mustang that has the same cornering ability and pickup-and-go of a car a thousand pounds lighter while maintaining the same ferocious hunger for a greater challenge that you’d find in a sumo wrestler staring down a max two-plate per person buffet table.
The thought of giving the thing away 8 months after the first drive* feels a lot like you would expect from separation anxiety, and with the date set at 8/13, there’s been a looming cloud of doubt hovering above, usually fogging my vision when I’m driving the beast. No self-respecting car aficionado would ever want to part with a 435 horsepower 5.0L V8 and sticky performance tires.
But for me, it’s the right time, the right people and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was the right car for something like this. I’m expecting Connor and Alex to have one hell of a time, and if they do happen to crash it, I’ll first want to know they’re good, but by god if they are, they better total the thing if the damage is enough to warrant an insurance claim.
The TL;DR of the whole thing? The right people presented a crazy idea at a time in life when even bad ideas became great memories in hindsight. The prospect of not giving my car away just seemed too boring an option to choose.
*Better identified as a stall-fest. I wasn’t the most seasoned driver of 6 speeds or things that required manual shifting. The hog got a beating on the way home from the dealership. Again, I know, my bad.