Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 1, 2014

I have to admit, I engage in vehicle profiling. I spend a lot of time in the car commuting and road tripping to get stories for the mag. On those longer stretches, I have a chance to see plenty of other cars on the road. Obviously the performance Fords will turn my head any day, but it's the other cars that baffle me. I look around and am shocked that most people are perfectly content to drive around in dull, completely stock vehicles.

Don't get me wrong. I completely understand the desire to have a worry-free, efficient commuter. There are enough headaches in the world to keep you busy, so having a basketcase just adds unnecessary stress. However, I don't see why it has to stay boring or totally stock.

Sure, those of us in this world lean heavily toward the modified side of things, but seeing a completely stock, poorly maintained commuter car just beating it day in and day out just makes me a little sad inside. Reliable appliances are all well and good, but you don't spend as much time with your toaster as you do your car. If you want your living quarters to reflect your personality, why wouldn't you want your car to do the same?

Anyway, I realize I have a weird relationship with cars and mods. I will walk past a row of modded S197s to scope out an unmolested Fox. However, show me a whole row of stock S197s and I'll easily pass them over to see any modded car. As much as I appreciate modified cars, I love the wash of nostalgia you get from seeing an older stocker.

It hit me that it's the way most people treat music. They love to hear the old songs from bands they know, but won't even give new songs a chance, whether they are good or not. I really can't understand that mentality. If I like a band, I always look forward to hearing new music from them. It isn't always as good as the older songs, but sometimes it's even better.

Still, I love modded and stock Foxes and other older 'Stangs, but with newer cars, I can't even give them the time of day if they are stock unless they have just been introduced. Later on I'll look back at stock examples of these cars with fondness, but in the moment, I look down on stock.

I suppose that part of that recipe is the gig here. We are constantly on the hunt for heartily modified Mustangs to appear on these pages. Stock cars just aren't our world. However, even if I didn't work here, I'd still love a car that's been nicely modified.

I might seem to come off as a mod snob, but that's not really the case. I love stock older cars—a newer stock car just bores me because they are so prevalent. Seeing an older car in stock form is a rarity, but seeing a new stocker is a dime a dozen. Perhaps it's uniqueness that trips my trigger rather than simply the level of modification.

When it comes right down to it, I like them stock and modified. However, the true test for which one I prefer is by picking which one I'd rather own. Then it becomes an easy choice. A virgin stocker is simply too much pressure. These cars are too rare to modify and too nice to drive around without a care. Plus, we all know that stock power just isn't enough. Conversely a nicely modified car is fun to drive. It's not stock, so you don't have to worry about destroying a piece of history. And, of course, it's fast enough to keep you entertained.

What gets your blood pumping more, a rare stocker or a nicely modded example? Remember, it's one thing to get excited to see them at a car show or on the road. It might be great to look at both of them, but which one would you want to own? You can hit me on Twitter @editorturner or by email at 5.0mailbag@sorc.com.