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FREEDOM.

Is there anything in life better than a car? Not when you are 16.

My first true love. Photo credit: cardomain.com.
My first true love. Photo credit: cardomain.com.

Although not my actual first car, the ’67 Mustang in the picture is a very close replica of the car, right down to the “Frost Turquoise” color.  Not the color I picked, but I fell in love with it immediately.

I turned 16 on February 15, 1977.  Unlike today’s teenagers, who seem strangely ambivalent about the driver’s license, I was first in line at the Department of Public Safety.  Passing the driving test meant I could pilot mom’s land yacht around town, which I was more than happy to do.  The Vista Cruiser proved useful in the “one car, one price” night at the San Pedro drive in.  Still my freedom depended on careful scheduling. And neither chicks nor chicks’ dads dug the wagon.

So imagine the life transformation one Friday evening a few months later when dad arrived with the Mustang.  I am still unsure how he got two cars home but logistics were not on my mind.  Given the passage of time and the accumulation of experience,  I understand now there had probably been some strict budgeting going on before the car appeared.

The car could not have been more perfect.  A mid-60’s Mustang is just cool. Not quite like that anything came before it, the car sits right.  The 289-horsepower, V-8 engine provided ample power, but not so much that I did myself any damage.  I later installed the Jensen speakers and  cassette player that added a kick-ass soundtrack to the little movie of my life I was directing and starring in. By coincidence, Tom Forestier had the same car and Norman Galyon had a white one, so we could got a  “Three Amigos” vibe going.

More than anything, the car was a perfect representation of independence that comes from an automobile.  Almost nothing is as empowering as your own steed.  Some day I am going to own another mid-60’s Mustang, but until then all I can say is “thanks, Dad” for the car. And the freedom.

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