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Monday, September 13, 2010
My Torrid Love Affair With a 2011 Mustang GT: Part 2
After a disastrous test drive that spread terror across my neighborhood, I decided to call up someone who, unlike my father, had actually driven a car with a manual transmission more recently than the Reagan administration. My friend "Dangermoose" was willing to train me in the art of taming this bucking V8 broncho. He's a 31-year old attorney from Silverton with a undefeated 2 - 0 win strike in the Oregon legal system and a squeaky clean driving record (if you overlook the slew of moving violations he racked up his 18 birthday).
Dangermoose drove up to my place in Portland and, with him behind the wheel, we pointed the Mustang's maw towards Gaston. He took to the wheel like a Duke Boy to a Dodge Charger, wiping through the turns along Bull Mountain like he was prepping for Vin Diesel's part in the inevitable fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious series. Like its namesake, the car yearned for the country and some room to romp like a wild horse chock full of hay and testosterone. The Mustang squeezed every curve as if it were the world's greatest “Free Hugs” gadfly. This bastard was built for speed and Dangermoose utilized every available opportunity to blast the odometer past the 90 MPH mark on a half-dozen vacant country roads.
Did I fear for my life? Was my right hand permanently affixed to the Mustang’s passenger-side “bitch handle”? You betcha. Not only was Dangermoose lost in the moment, the car seemed equally drunk on the opportunity to achieve the promises offered by decades of car commercials.
Now according to the agreement I signed with the good folks at the Ford Motor Company, I was only allowed to let editors of Another Portland Blog behind the wheel. So, for the record, “Dangermoose” was a volunteer Assistant Editor on the Saturday that we took car out. Oh, and so was his wife and his brother-in-law. Yep, editors. All three of them.
We pulled into the parking lot at Valley Catholic High School around 3 PM. Off in the distance, a group of teenagers was wandering the grounds and considering whether or not they could handle four years in the presence of nuns. I took the wheel, stalled the engine a few dozen times but managed to make a few spins around the parking lot. I wish I could say that I immediately got the hang of driving the Mustang ala an inexperienced dancer in a cheesy ‘40s musical learning a number in a matter of seconds--- that I maneuvered this beast around the grounds, spun wheelies and exhibited excellent Tokyo Drift-style theatrics while Dangermoose surfed on the roof and that everyone within 500 yards fled across the street to Beaverton Toyota, the hearts filled with fear and dread of the Mustang's mighty roar.
But none of that happened. Too daunted to buzz out into the heavy traffic along Canyon Highway, Dangermoose drove me back home. Then, at dusk, I managed to get the Mustang over to Hayhurst Elementary where I spent an hour in self-imposed training exile while listening to a replay of a Howard Stern Show on Sirius. I made it around the neighborhood and stalled the car three times on the way back to the house, the final time as I was parking it. I let the Mustang sit there at the tail end of the driveway and collapsed on the couch, feeling like I had just finished a marathon.
Dangermoose had learned how to drive a stick on a Subaru. Another friend figured it out behind the wheel of an ’83 Honda Hatchback. As Dangermoose put it, “you’re the first person in the history of the world to learn how to drive a stick on a $40,000 automobile.” Thanks, Ford!