5.0 Mustang & Super FordsNews & Views
Bench Racer - September 2013
April was a rough month. Not only did I get older, but I cracked up my loyal daily companion. My SVT Focus succumbed to commuting roulette. It was sad, but that's why you have a daily—just in case. I thought my misfortunes were behind me and I moved on to happier times. That was until mother nature intervened.
I was driving back from a fruitful tech visit to Steeda Autosports in Project Vapor Trail, my beloved '08 Shelby GT500. I was about an hour from home when I got stuck in a downpour. I was running in the slow lane and minding my own business. Everything was fine—or so I thought. There was never a hint of lost traction. I went from gently cruising along trying to be safe, to suddenly spinning as if on ice.
Now I have spun my share of cars, especially on race tracks. In those situations there is at least a hint of traction. In this instance, it just felt like ice skating—until that sudden hit.
As the car spun, I really couldn't believe my misfortune. The only thing running through my head was, “I can't believe this is happening to me.”
The car slid to a stop and I momentarily felt as if my whole world had crumbled around me. I was deflated. After a few moments, I had to get out and assess the damage. I saw that the wheel, brake, and suspension took the brunt of the hit against the side of a small bridge. I then saw how close the other side of the car had come to the guardrail.
It was still raining steadily, so I climbed back in the car and just sat there. I'm honestly surprised that I didn't break down. Sure, people would say it's just a car, and they would be right. But when it's a car that's special to you, that phrase only goes so far.
Then I started to realize how fortunate I was no other cars were involved. And the car could have easily flipped, crossed through the guard rail, or both. I could have been seriously hurt or even killed—life is that fragile—but I would see my family that night.
In light of the all-too-common events in the world these days, that alone snapped things into their proper perspective. In the end, the car is repairable and I am fine.
Now that's not to say I'm not bummed about the whole thing. If you are a longtime reader, you know PVT was my baby. It is the first Mustang that I purchased new off the lot. When I first felt the pull of a blown 5.4 in a modern Mustang, I just knew I had to have one. To make it happen, I sold two other cars—Project Real Street and my '98 Cobra—to come up with a down payment, and it was still a financial reach.
Once I had it, I worked feverishly to turn it into in my ideal vision for an S197. It might not be yours, but for me it was as close as I had ever been to having a project turn out just the way I wanted it. All those factors contributed to why I really took special care of it.
As I type this, it's in the shop for repairs. With any luck, it will be good as new, but we all know it will never feel quite the same even so. This experience took me back to my column on the enjoyment of having a Mustang with a beat exterior that I wouldn't have to worry about as much—because worrying does take some of the fun out of it.
If you've ever crashed a car you loved, I'd love to hear how you handled it. Hit me up at email@example.com or on Twitter @editorturner