Mustang Challenge | Halfway Review | Alex


Halfway through the trip, here is Alex’s take on the Mustang.

[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.]

Halfway through the journey, the Mustang can best be described as utterly brilliant. First of all, to get a more technical understanding of the Mustang I encourage you to read Connor’s piece. It’s a treat for gear-heads. For my part I will focus on how the Mustang has the ability to release your endorphins and send you on a sweet, sweet ride.

The 2016 Mustang GT feels unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or driven before. It really does send you on quite a trip. See, back home I drive a Pimento Red 1974 Triumph TR6, a six cylinder 4 speed beauty. As a British Leyland manufactured vehicle, it is not known for its top end speed since it is only packing 110 bhp.  Rather, the TR6 made its name in the twisting and sharp corners found on the British Isles. Despite the modest horsepower, I always found it enjoyable to drive.

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Evidence of the Performance Package.

My particular TR6 had been stored in my garage for 17 years and was only put back on the road in the summer of 2015. Since it is a vehicle from the 1970’s, the starting procedure is somewhat tiresome.  My TR6 still requires the use of a choke and I further have to give her 15 to 20 pumps on the gas pedal before she sputters to life. In addition we have done some work on the car, primarily we changed the carburetors from the original Stromberg (x2) to a more powerful triple Webber model. These new carbs have given us a heartier sounding machine (in addition to a few ponies) but due to their constant need to be tuned, they are the probable cause off our odd starting pattern. Additional changes, made out of necessity as the car did stand still for far too long include: most of the engine gaskets, the clutch slave cylinder, electric ignition conversion, new radiator and lastly, some fresh life blood. Lastly we made one other significant change in installing an overdrive system. (When in use the RPMs drop by about 500). Since the car itself like to rev high the overdrive does come in handy on the highway. All in all it’s a fun little car to drive. Anyway, enough about the Triumph.

A Lasting First Impression

I still vividly remember the first moment I sat in the driver’s seat, it was no longer then 5-10 miles from the car show at Maple Grove Raceway. As you sit down, you are greeted by a firm bucket seat which allows you to stay in full control even when experiencing negative G’s. Next comes the gearbox. As I slipped  her into first and pushed the accelerator, the Mustang took off like a bat out of hell (well, it took off after I nearly stalled it). The only thing that remained was the echoing rumble of the MMD exhaust, it probably startled the resident woodland creatures – hell it startled me. That little burst of speed stapled a smile across my face for a couple of hours. While on the subject of the gearbox, one thing that took some getting used to was the short distance between each gear change, all six speeds are grouped closely together (and I once mistook 1st for 3rd… oops). The TR6 on the other hand is vastly different, the change from 2nd to 3rd is as long as a city block, and one really has to look for reverse.

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Moreover driving the Mustang will put a childish grin on your face that will last a long time. That grin is mostly caused by the hidden potential which is encompassed in the Mustang. What I mean my potential is that the ‘Stang itself can cruise at 65/70/75 mph easily, but it does not want to. Rather, the car would be most happy screaming forward and tearing up the tarmac. Sitting behind the wheel I found myself struggling to stay at the speed limit, as the Mustang continuously whispers in your ear to push it, to go faster. What a little temptress! I may have heeded her advice once or twice.

Not only is the Mustang mechanically fast but it is aesthetically as well. With its long front end, aggressive stance and big tires, and in our case, a modded exhaust system, the Mustang looks capable of going mach 1, with no afterburner. In sum she remains a head turner, and I would not trade her for anything in the world, not even a 2004 Ford Focus (still questioning Andrew’s sanity based on his decision). It will be a sad day when her and I part ways. Actually I might just keep her after all! Andrew only knows what country I live in, but no more specific than that.I could easily sneak the ‘Stang across the border back home.

With respect to the road trip I share the same sentiments as Connor, such as need of a bigger trunk. Furthermore we did experience some issues early on with the tires deflating, but the biggest issue for me was the stench. See, Andrew is a avid hockey player. As his team’s fourth line pylon, he does occasionally see some minutes. As a result he sweats in his equipment and in true bachelor fashion, he leaves all of it in the trunk. That means that when we got his car it smelt like a 20 year old unwashed locker room.  It was manageable for about 3-4 days, but after that the smell broke us. In New Orleans we decided to air it out as well as empty a bottle of Febreeze into it.  Surprisingly it was a success, unfortunately that success was short lived.  The stench returned with a vengeance at our next stop in Austin, TX.  See, on our second to last day in Austin the city was hit with a massive rain storm and I got caught in the middle of it.  I changed shirts but in my haste I chucked the damp one into the trunk. Big mistake, oh boy when we returned everything in the trunk had been infiltrated by hockey stench, one of the most foul smells now to men.  It burned our noses and put tears in our eyes. Having finally had enough of driving in a hockey bag with wheels, I purchased two Febreeze vent clips and a standing one which was placed dead center in the trunk. Since then there has not been any smell related issue. Victory! Also to any future individuals who many take a ride in the Mustang, you are welcome.

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Nimble enough to squeeze in and out of all the small spaces.

Putrid smell aside, the Mustang has happily trooped along and has never worried us in the slightest. (Hopefully, I did not just jinx it!) Overall the car is bar none the coolest and most exhilarating vehicle I’ve had the pleasure of driving. It has made this road trip an absolute blast!

Follow The Series

Be sure to check back to the blog on Tuesdays and Fridays for updates. You can also follow Connor and Alex on their adventure by checking in on Twitter and Instagram @MustangMounties

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