Just picked up a 1985 Mustang GT 5 speed with t-tops a couple weeks ago. The paint isn't stock, but there's not even the slightest hint of rust; the engine has some fun upgrades, and the interior is... It sure is. I never thought I'd actually own a Mustang for the most hipster reason ever: everyone I know either had one, or wanted one. I had a weird appreciation of the Fox body Mustangs because, though it was a Mustang, it was just weird enough to put a smile on my face. I knew the engine well enough, having owned two Mark VII coupes in my time (and I miss those cars) but after the second one was totaled, I ended up in a Jaguar XJS four about four years, and drove it for about three. During this time, I referred to my bus pass as a "Jaguar owner's card" in jest. I don't think it was a bad car, I just didn't have the facilities to do much of my own work, and specialists were few and far between.

In 2018, I'd had enough of big, heavy luxury cars, and I wanted the most barebones, "pure" driving experience I could get, but it had to be a stick, and I was not sacrificing RWD. I eyed an MGB or TR6, but wasn't ready to have my heart broken by another old British car, so I settled on a Miata - which I drove back from Omaha in, braving ice on the roads in northern Iowa, and a surprise blizzard in southern Minnesota (on summer tires!) and for three years, I rocked that little roadster. During that time, though I had some kind of bizarre epiphany - what I want in a car isn't a make or model, it isn't an era, it's a set of features that, when combined together, comprise the automotive ideal. My ideal car was a hardtop coupe with four seats, Panhard configuration, powered by either an inline six or a V8, and a manual gearbox under 3,600 lbs. While this certainly includes cars I'd never be able to afford (Jaguar E-type,) and cars I'd probably never even see in person in my lifetime (Aston Martin DB5,) it did put the Mustang - a car I admit I unfairly wrote off - center stage.

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend found this particular Mustang for sale in Omaha, and so we made the trek. The owner basically explained that his wife told him to pick a Mustang to sell, or pick a Mustang to sleep in, so he put this one up for sale, and after a trip with no ice or blizzards (it's summer, but it's also Minnesota so you never know,) we made it back, and I've been happily wrenching and rolling ever since. The carb was too rich, some interior parts needed to be replaced, the dash bulbs were so dim they probably thought invading Russia in the winter was a sound strategy, and since I've finally stopped comparing the ride to that of the Miata, a car that sticks to the road like hot glue on a bad Pinterest project, I've been having the time of my life. Though my new summer toy (it will only know snow from stories and second-hand accounts) misses one of my checkboxes for having t-tops, I've hardly been happier. It's an old car that's surprisingly easy to find parts for, it's an engine I know, and it's a real head-turner.

And that was lengthy. I think I should lay off the caffeine for awhile. Pleased to meet you all.

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