DRIVEN

A boy and his car

DRIVEN: PART I
Cadence

Miss the introduction to this series? Check it out here, Part II here and Part III here.

Cadence and I have been together since 2006. I’ve made the same sardonic joke to every girlfriend I’ve had since then that she’s my baby – the one that would be there for me no matter what and each time a relationship ends, I wince when I realize I was right.

To clear things up, Cadence is a 1995 Mustang convertible. She has a white top that I paid for myself ($800) to replace the ragtop I inherited. She has white leather interior, though the driver-side seat has seen better days. The leather came in handy when I turned too sharply and spilled a cooler of ice in the back seat my senior year of high school. The leather also comes in handy pretty much monthly  when I leave the top down and go into a restaurant/store/any building. This is because me leaving my top down is a rain dance that brings torrential downpours with efficiency indigenous peoples across the world would marvel at.

She’s missing the rocker panel on her passenger side, likely from when I was leaving a party at the Tree House a year ago, though I’m not truly certain when it actually fell off. Her spoiler is showing some wear through paint chips, and there’s the remains of a balloon ribbon tied permanently around her rearview mirror: a relic from a memorable drive through Downtown Raleigh with Richard.

So that’s her. She inspires other Mustang owners to nod, she inspires Corvettes to roar past us in all of their fiberglass-framed pomposity and she’s inspired a few 8-year-olds to give me a thumbs up.

I’m no geared by any measure, but I do love Mustangs. My dad bought a black 1964 1/2 Mustang convertible in 1989. It had a high performance 289 engine and he had a buddy of his put in the GT Pony package which wasn’t available until 1965, complete with pistol grip handles.

None of this impressed 2-year-old me, though, as my dad recalls my reaction to the test drive of the car he took me on verbatim: “Daddy, I don’t like that car with no top.” (My how the times have changed.)

Regardless, my dad’s Mustang fever passed directly to me. My first car was a 1966 Mustang coupe that I flipped into a ditch, (Always wear your seatbelt) and a year-and-a-half later, I met Cadence, and she hasn’t let me down since.

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