It has been roughly a year and a week since S197 entered my driveway. The anniversary of our meeting sneaked past while I wasn't paying attention. I had hoped to write about the passing of the one year milestone of the day of, but alas...
The Mustang soldiers on with little drama. I've bought it new tires (much needed), survived a hail storm with only a few dents (since rectified), attempted multiple fixes for the peeling leather on the door panels (with partial success) and changed the oil a few times. The car remains quiet, spunky and as much fun to drive as the day I pried it from the previous owner. Though I occasionally daydream of the newer S550 as a distant future possibility, the fact is I have very little interest in any other new or newer vehicle. This car suits my tastes so well for everyday transport I see no reason for replacing it.
The car is not perfect, of course. It would be disingenuous for me to only praise its joys and not address any shortcomings. So, in the interest of fairness I will mention some things that do occasionally irritate our generally flowery relationship. One: the steering wheel tilts but does not telescope. I find the distance arrangement for my legs versus my arms to be less than stellar. Two: there is no inside trunk release. It is either the key (never in my hand when it needs to be) or the button on the keyless remote (see previous note on key). A simple button or cable pull would easily solve this. Three: the single rear exhaust. It just looks wrong. A Mustang needs dual exhaust outlets, even if it is a V6. The lack of symmetry is just wrong. Four: the seat brackets where they mount to the floor are rusty. I plan on pulling the seats out and repainting them but why does every S197 seem to suffer from this? And of course, Five: the recalcitrant door trim panels that seem impervious to adhesion to any kind of commercial glue product. They are my nemesis. I remain determined to prevail.
The 4.0 engine delivers the necessary propulsion to keep the car from being less than competent. I actually quite like the engine and its every day characteristics. Yes, on occasion I do pine for the V8 but I find it is mostly for two reasons: the aural stimulation that only a V8 can provide and the additional street cred/resale value associated with it. Part of the problem is that the subsequent V6 makes as much power as the 4.6 V8 I could have had in my S197. The 210 hp of the 4.0 is not regretful but when you consider that only a few short years later a hundred more were on tap in the "pedestrian" V6 you sort of feel like you missed the boat. A Coyote 5.0 V8? Fuggeddaboutit!
Regrets? No. As stated, I am quite happy with my S197. Probably because my last year has been so pleasing is the only reason I consider what a faster, more powerful version might be like. But where does it stop? 300 hp V6? Coyote 5.0? Shelby GT500? That is a slippery slope to begin traveling down.
Sigh. If only I could have one of each.