Mustang Challenge | Living Large in LA


Two good looking Canadian boys, one fast and loud car. We’re just one 15 minute tape away from becoming Hollywood’s next superstars. Welcome, Los Angeles.

[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.]

To be perfectly clear, our road trip did have a caveat to it, and that was our goal of becoming famous once we hit LA. Arrive on the coast, strike it big and buy a luxurious mansion and never have to work another day in our lives. A few years after settling in, we’d do our own reality TV show, maybe start a clothing line and a personal app – you know, the usual things Hollywood stars do.

Unfortunately, this did not happen, so I sit here, the same meager individual I was, writing this entry in a hostel full of ants, and one which has showers the size of a hot water tank. Enough with moaning though, I must say that LA definitely does live up to the hype.

Maintenance First, Beach Later

Prior to rolling in to the city, we stopped on the out skirts at a Ford dealership hoping they could squeeze us in for a fast oil change – our 5000 mile interval was most definitely due. Google Maps told us that Redland Ford was the closest dealership to us, and off we went. We made a bit of a scene entering the lot (with all the snarling and crackling and whatnot) and went inside to see what could be done for us. We explained our situation to Amy, our service rep, (and apologized for the smell – one can only be so fresh after spending 20 hours in a loaded 2+2 car) and much to our surprise, she told us she could get the oil change done within the hour. Stupendous! Within twenty minutes the car was on the lift, oil pan plug out and our Coyote draining her life blood away. It was at this point that we were able to confirm that, yes, the Mustang sounded so vicious because much like we suspected, it no longer had any mufflers. The MMD side exhaust retains the stock exhaust from the headers all the way to the h-pipe, but from there on are two bullet style slip on connectors (secured by t-bolt clamps) that connect a U-ish shaped tail pipe, twisted such that the rectangular exhaust tips shoot out each side, just rearward of each door. It’s simple, clean and sounds downright nasty.

Fresh 5W-20 circulating through the block, we thanked Amy for her excellent service and blasted off to LA, where we hoped to achieve fame and fortune.

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$29.99 oil change at the dealer… that’s a nice surprise. Oh, and check how the MMD exhaust snakes out each side, sans any mufflers.

 

Upon our arrival in LA, the first thing we noticed was the sheer number of highway lanes, at least 5 a side. Although we are not used to such large freeways back home in Canada, it did provide us the opportunity to get the Mustang noticed. As we passed and were passed by vehicles, one thing remained the same – everyone turned their head to sneak a peek at the rumbling ruby red Mustang. This Mustang just seems to attract attention, willingly or unwillingly (I think it is fair to say that our S550 did cause an increase in whiplash cases.)

Once inside LA we were faced by our first roadblock, finding our hostel. Even with directions it was not as easy as it seemed. (Probably something related to the 20 hour drive with a 2 hour nap we were on the verge of completing.) As we drove around the Long Beach residential area the constant stop and starts coupled with overzealous engines revs may have caused some car alarms to go off, sorry about that!

Sun’s Out, Guns Out

Our itinerary in LA went as follows; Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Sign.  At the Pier we did a little tanning, a little went swimming, but much to our dismay, the latter is not as safe as you would think (more on that later on).  I have to say that it felt good to be in the LA heat as we usually have to endure 11 months in frigid temperatures.  Secondly, we ventured onto Venice beach, where we were approached by a homeless man by the name of Dave. Our new found friend, Dave, rather than the usual monetary demand, asked instead for our help in “getting him a woman”. Caught off guard by the unusual request, we nonetheless agreed (to humour him, what else are you supposed to do?), thinking he would disappear once we made it to the beach and were amongst a larger crowd. But no, Dave was tenacious, and Dave was serious. He placed all of his hope in us, two funny speaking Canadians who are too polite to deny him. The poor guy hung around for like 5 blocks until we went full stealth and finally shook him off near a group of police officers patrolling the beach. That was by far one of the oddest encounters I’ve ever had, and never wish to repeat, either.

 

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A Minute Maid drink box is NOT the kind of juice these guys are using.

Having strutted all over the beach, we then went straight to the hills.  We went with the original intention of visiting the Hollywood Sign and meeting the Kardashians and maybe Kanye, if he wasn’t too busy being the greatest artist ever (his words, not mine). I mean, two studs in a hot car – we definitely have what it takes to be on their show. It’s really a no-brainer. We are still somewhat confused as to why none of them messaged us…

As we started the ascension towards the sign, the roads become tighter and strewn with tight corners. The Mustang would pounce into each corner, under braking you could feel the car squatting down and the most minimal touch on the accelerator would have our coupe screaming forward. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, the twisties ended into a parking lot and we were forced to continue on foot. As we crested the climb we were greeted by the Griffith Observatory – seemed like once again we were let down by the GPS! However the observatory is a gem in itself, so we walked about and took some pictures nonetheless. Our eagle eyes were able to pick up the Hollywood sign off in the distance, but it was still too small to make for a good photo op.

Wait, Was That Pitbull?

It was a short and mostly boring drive later through the ‘burbs, briefly brightened by our first celebrity spotting. Yours truly (acting pilot-in-command) was the first to observe a metallic teal-ish Maserati crawling beside us in the Franklin & Canyon Dr area. At the wheel, suited up to the nines, was THE man Mr. 305, Mr. Worldwide, most likely on his way to some crazy event that celebrities are always taking part of. I mean, my life is pretty hectic as is, and I’m only a low-key star. I can only imagine what parties he attends. So there we have it, finally we saw our first Hollywood celeb.

In reality, it was probably just another short bald dude wearing a fat gold watch, but really, who can tell the difference. For all intensive purposes, it was conclusively Pitbull in that GranTurismo.

Pitbull fiasco finished with, we were officially at the foot of the Hollywood sign. Like a couple of idiots we assumed we would steam right up and take an elegant and tasteful shot of our beloved Pony car right in front of the sign (what privileged thinking, right?!).  In reality, a big steel gate greeted us (and a muffin top security guard), thus meaning we would have to use our legs (this is getting to be too much) and hike, first world problems, I guess. The hiking trek was more along the lines of two masses of flesh wheezing, huffing and dragging themselves along, a by-product of doing a lot of sitting and eating in the Mustang. Honestly that hike likely cleared our arteries from the fast food grease we have been accumulating, and for that we are grateful.

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Los Angeles also did offer us two new found fears. Both of us northern boys are usually preoccupied with polar bears and wolf packs, but in LA that all changed. Fear number 1 would be sting rays which really crippled our desires to swim in the ocean. A lifeguard told us that it is recommended that we shuffle our feet and try our best not to step like one normally would, in order to prevent from stepping on one and getting stung. After taking in his advice we promptly decided not to swim. The second fear were rattle snakes, which were apparently out in great numbers on the Hollywood hills, therefore our trek up to the sign meant we spent a majority of the time staring at and around our feet. Basically we both concur that we’d take nomad polar bears and hungry wolves over stingrays and rattle snakes because at least we can see them coming.

Cruising around LA we thought that we would be in the land of supercars, with our Mustang repping American muscle amongst the European flair. That was not to be the case, as we quickly observed (although we did cross several Ferraris and Maseratis and a Lambo or two). The car of choice was definitely the S550 Mustang, most of them being drop tops. In the one beach lot we parked at we counted 15 other S550 Mustangs. Upon closer inspection, we deduced them to most likely be rental cars, as they were all automatic V6-equipped models (all with Cali plates, and when we spoke to the “owners”, they didn’t know much beyond it being a Mustang and a convertible). Nonetheless, if you think about it, an S550 is the perfect tourist car in the perfect location. The Mustang is a staple of American culture; it is the American dream car, in the American city of dreams. These tourists would experience the USA in perhaps the nation’s most iconic vehicle, and with the top down, able to enjoy the famous Cali rays.  Los Angeles is most definitely, 100%, Mustang territory. Cheers to that!

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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