Teresa Sanderson's 1995 Mustang GT Convertible
"Someone really needs to start an 'addiction house' for people like me," Teresa Sanderson told me as I marveled at her family's Mustang collection. "If I could stop buying every Mustang that comes along, I would retire, stay at home and act more like a grandmother should."
It's true that Teresa doesn't look, nor act like a grandmother, but then my granny never ran through an eighth-mile in 7.80 seconds in an '83 5.0-liter with drag slicks for traction and a pending upgrade to 4.56:1 gearing. That strip-ready gray hatchback is just one of more than a dozen Ponies that have followed Teresa and her family home during the last 30-plus years.
There is a restored black 1964-1/2 convertible that served as Teresa's daily commuter in the '70s (with matching pedal car, of course). Sitting on blocks in the basement is a '66 coupe her oldest son, Darrell III, drove to high school, where it earned him the nickname 'Pony.' It is scheduled to become a vintage racer shortly. Her husband Darrell has nearly finished transforming another '66 - this one a fastback - into a Shelby G.T.350 clone. The year 1967 is represented by a GTA coupe and a restored blue convertible (Teresa and Darrell were engaged and married in this car; 29 years later son Chris became engaged to and married his wife Lisa in the same car). Chris (aka 'CJ' - now that's a Mustanger name if ever I've heard one) and Lisa own a maroon '91 LX hatchback that's been dressed up with a Saleen wing and chevron stripes, plus Cobra wheels and a Stormin' Norman hood. The '92 coupe I saw was a retired Florida Highway Patrol cruiser. Two yellow '95 GTs - one a convertible, the other a coupe - both wear Cobra R rims, but otherwise look like totally different animals because of their body panels and striping. Two '97 Cobras - one black, one red - give the collection its SVT representation.
Oh and by the way, this list doesn't count the many, many diecast models or collectible rarities such as the red '94 GT go-kart the family has.
The choice of so many nice rides would paralyze most people with indecision, but Teresa has a real affection for her black '95 GT convertible - a car that came to her attention while she was test-driving a different Mustang.
"In the summer of 1996," she told me, "Darrell and I went to Jim Skinner Ford in Birmingham and drove a GT coupe. That new 4.6-liter didn't thrill me too much, but I figured we could modify it and enjoy it just the same.
"We pulled into the lot after the test-driveat the same time as a black '95 GT convertible. I jumped out of the new car and pointed atthe '95 and said, 'I want that one!' It waswearing Xenon ground effects and a wing -I had never seen anything like it on the new generation of Mustangs."
Her enthusiasm for the car created an awkward moment for the salesmen, who were afraid she and the GT's owner might just strike up a private deal right there in the parking lot. The owner's asking price was "a little on the high side" so Teresa waited more than an hour while he bargained with the dealership on a new truck. When the dust settled, Teresa bought the car from her salesman for less than the original quote.
"I wound up paying more for the '95 convertible with all its mods than I would have spent on a stock new '96 coupe," she said, "but I felt it was worth it - besides, I really wanted to get a final-year 5.0-liter more than the new 4.6."
Someone had obviously spent a ton of money on the '95. Those Xenon panels had been professionally molded into the Mustang's body, giving the car the appearance of wearing unique front and rear caps as well as side skirts - an expensive technology that was not being widely used at the time. The spoiler was a one-piece kick-up design that beautifully elongates the car in profile, and the convertible was wearing an aftermarket light bar.