Saturday, March 19, 2016


I'm obsessive about hand-washing my cars. I don't mean that my cars must be antiseptically dirt-free at all times (they certainly aren't) but that anything automated doesn't do as good of a job. I've tried any number of mechanized, pressurized dirt removal solutions over the years and have never come away particularly impressed. Thus the task befalls myself, a hose and a bucket of suds.

Caressing the car with a soapy sponge brings with it a closeness. Certainly we could agree that diving into the internals of an engine would be somewhat intimate. I also find that the act of washing by hand allows me a perspective on the car's design elements that might otherwise be overlooked. As enamored as I am by the styling of S197 there are many subtleties that I had not noticed. I know the 'hockey stick' side scallop is there but until I clean the accumulated dirt from it I don't really notice it. The arc of the door glass that so closely mimics the original Mustang never was obvious until I swiped my hand along it. The honeycomb mesh and the rounded corners of the grille and the detail of the running pony are additional things my touch revealed to my eye. Driving S197 through an automated spray of soap and water would never have revealed these things to me. I may possibly have driven the car for years and never appreciated many of the individual styling cues that add up to the sum of its greatness.

This is yet another way in which the true car guys and gals are separated from the general populace. The bulk of car owners will use their vehicles, most happy enough that the styling as a whole is inoffensive. A small portion will see their choice of vehicle as attractive. A very limited portion will view their ride as a thing of beauty, pleased that in a sea of mediocrity they were able to find something that grabbed their attention with a passionate stranglehold.