Deciding which car to purchase is often driven more by passion than by practicality. Eventually, the passion fades and the car mileage begins to mount. Then, a new buying cycle begins, fueled by a desire to get the newest model, with the latest and greatest features. Influenced by the latest marketing campaign, we convince ourselves that we will be much happier with a new car. So, we trade in our old set of wheels for a car that has more creature comforts and the latest electronic equipment. Years later, a restored car from our past causes us to ask ourselves, "Why didn't I keep my car?" In my case, I kept the best car I ever owned -- a Mach 1 Mustang.
The Summer of '69
In "Summer of '69," Brian Adams sings about a time in his life that he never wants to end -- the summer of 1969. That year Neil Armstrong took a walk on the moon, a rock concert was held in upstate New York, near a town called Woodstock, and gas was under 40 cents a gallon. Also, in the summer of '69, I graduated from high school, got my first real job, and bought my first car.
In 1969 the muscle car era was at its peak. All three big auto makers offered high performance, macho-looking cars. With so many muscle cars to choose from, the process of selecting my dream car could have been difficult. However, like most people, I was preprogrammed to prefer one car manufacturer. For me, that was the Blue Oval Ford brand. That year, Ford introduced a new Mustang body style, with several new performance packages. One of the models, a Mach 1, had racing stripes, a blacked out hood, and air scoops on the hood and rear quarter panels. The combination of a high performance package and unique body style was more than I could resist. So, in the summer of '69 I, as well as more than 70,000 others, bought a Mach 1. And, as advertised in the sales brochure, it was candy apple red.
My Daily Driver
For the first 17 years, my Mustang was a daily driver. It didn't get very good gas mileage or handle well in the snow, but it certainly was a blast to drive. It may not have been the most practical car, but it always got me where I wanted to go -- and it did it with style.
My Mach 1 Mustang holds a lifetime of memories. To me, it is a genuine time machine, and it feels as comfortable as a well worn pair of jeans. Although it is no longer my daily driver, I still drive it on a regular basis (although I try not to take it out in the rain). I'm pretty sure it enjoys our outings as much as I do..
Driving a Collectible
When I purchased my Mach 1, I had no idea that I would still have it 42 years later. I didn't keep it as a collectible, or because I was hoping to sell it for a profit. In fact, several times I questioned my decision to keep a car that was more a hobby car than a necessary mode of transportation. But, I couldn't part with it -- it was a member of my family.
Surprisingly, the value and desirability of the Mach 1 has continued to grow. With increased demand from Baby Boomers, who now have the financial means to purchase the dream car from their past, the prices of many cars from the '60s and early '70s have increased significantly. As a result, the '69 Mach 1 has become a coveted classic, and a blue chip investment.
I am still amazed by all the enthusiastic comments I receive when I take my Mach 1 out for a spin. Everyone has questions about my Mustang, and they are always anxious to share their memories. It seems everyone either had one, or knew someone who did. Inevitably, the conversation always ends with the statement, "I wish I had kept my Mustang, my Camaro, my 'Cuda, my ...." Every time I hear this, I know that I made the right decision to hold on to this piece of my past -- and that my Mach 1 is the best car I have ever owned.