The Mustang is near and dear to my heart. So much so that I was fired from the email (I know it wasn’t my fault) because I was “too loyal to my P’s.” Fortunately, Ford hired me back with a job, because that’s what loyal people do.
Like everyone who grew up with the cult classic films of the ’60s, I had an affinity for the Mustang. Although some, like me, picked up their first car before age 14, Ford’s cars were something we kids played with all day and all night long—they were driven in parks and neighborhood parks and driveways. My brothers and I would stop by the house late at night and offer rides back to the ‘hood as the street lights came on.
Then I got my driver’s license at age 18. My wife would pick me up with other friends. (I only got a license because my brother was driving a car on the side and I didn’t want my mom knowing me even a little too well.) I loved the Mustang. My friend Derek told me what it was made of and he had a future plan of making it what it was back in the day. I could see his potential so I called him to join us. Soon we were all excited to learn that the sleek new car we were so looking forward to buying would be the only Ford line of cars in our dealer’s garage.
But in those early days of Mustang mania, there were naysayers. I did my best to talk my dad into getting me a Focus instead. But Ford didn’t blink. They had models to sell and the Focus was nixed from their lineup and the Mustang was the only line of cars with a package deal. By the time I became a technical writer, people at Ford were more willing to discuss their Mustang.
There were often doomsayers all over the country. Sometimes I would tell them about the Mustang and they would say, “Well you know Ford is dead and that the Americans were wrong.” The constant refrain from me as someone who grew up in Detroit was: “They still produce cars in Detroit, brother.”
Though many of the cars I saw in Detroit weren’t the best on the market, I had only the best experiences I had when we drove one. A 2012 Mustang convertible reminded me of the style and the personality that made the Ford brand. But by the end of the decade, I made the choice to stay in Detroit and buy a car from Ford.
When I got a job at Chrysler and a new dealership where I was to work, I bought a 2016 C7. It was two great pieces of equipment in a new Hyundai Fusion—a SE leather interior and a nine-speaker Bose stereo. And I loved it. I stayed because I said I would and I did.
But when I decided I’d like to buy a Mustang again, I found myself in a tough spot. I’d say the Mustang had all the right stuff. It was the best-rated car at Consumer Reports. It had 425 horsepower and sport suspension—two features that help fuel economy, as I soon discovered. It was a must-have in the family and the man-in-the-hood category, unlike many cars I drive now.
But it wasn’t long before the Super Bowl commercials began. While I waited in line at the first one, there was a Ford official with a clipboard and a badge, and he made me sign a document declaring myself “sponsored” and “buying this car because you are sponsored by Ford Motor Company.” I’d heard that kind of marketing ploy before and it didn’t bother me. Of course, the official knew it was a lie, but for some reason it did, even though it was in vain.
I didn’t really want that and there’s something about me that makes me not believe a saleswoman. Anyway, I signed the document anyway. I should have kept my word and not let the company bastardize my Dream Car.
But here’s the thing: I was in the middle of the West Allis Pontiac plant and the theme song came on. And once I heard the song, I realized I had a Mustang. I loved it and I loved it already.
John Yelovich is a tech writer, futurist, inventor, and proponent of humanity in the universe. He has worked for some of the world’s biggest media companies, including Bloomberg, CBS, Inc., MSNBC, CNN, and now, Wall Street Journal Digital.