About six weeks ago, my Grandmother passed away and I went home to Wisconsin for the funeral. When I went to Kansas City International Airport, I parked my car at an offsite parking facility named Park Air Express. It’s similar to The Parking Spot and other offsite airport parking facilities, except Park Air Express is cheaper and your car is parked by a valet and when you come back, it’s waiting for you at the door instead of having to go find it. I’ve always parked there because I figured there was less chance of anything ever happening to my car, being the slightly obsessed car guy I am.
On Sunday, August 14, I was getting ready to head to the airport when I got a call from Park Air Express, telling me there had been an accident at their facility involving my car. One of their valets, driving a Ford Escape, got out of control and slammed into my car, pushing me into two other cars too. They claimed that the accelerator stuck and he was unable to control it, which is not the truth (remember – all the Toyota “unintended acceleration” lawsuits were thrown out due to driver error – same thing here). And here’s the fun result:
However, the Park Air Express people handled the entire thing very well, meeting me immediately after I arrived at the airport and working through the incident report before letting me know everything would be handled through their insurance company, Aon. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re one of the biggest insurance companies on Earth and the brand seen on the jerseys of Manchester United.
I was taken to the rental car facility to pick up a car, and was allowed to get whatever I wanted within reason, so I chose a 2012 Mustang V6 coupe, which I’d also been driving in Wisconsin as a rental while I’d been there too. From there, I needed to just be patient and let the insurance machine do its work.
In less than three days, the Mazda was declared totaled, meaning for the 2nd time, I was now going to be replacing a 2003 blue Mazda that was wrecked through no fault of my own – my 2003 Mazda Protege5 was totaled on 7/2/2006 (see below!).
So, now I just had to wait and see what the insurance company was going to give me for the Mazda before I could decide what I was going to get next. I love car shopping, and I dove right in, looking at used BMW 3-Series, Pontiac Solstice, Mazda RX-8, Mazdaspeed3, Nissan 350Z and more. But I kept coming back to Ford Mustangs, and for good reason. When I was about 13, my uncle took me for a ride in a friend of his’ ’97 Mustang Cobra convertible, telling me “if you tell your mother how fast we go, I’ll kill you” (with a smile on his face). And I’ve been hooked since – that was one of the reasons I became so passionate about cars.
It had always kind of been my goal to get my Mustang by the time I turned 30, and it was going to be a bright yellow convertible like this one. With my 29th birthday approaching on the 30th, it was nice to think I could accomplish that goal a little early, thanks to these circumstances. I was pretty certain I wanted a 2010 or newer Mustang, since the exterior and interior had both been redesigned that year, but I wasn’t 100% sure yet. Then, in 2011, Ford came out with two all-new engines – a 3.7 liter 305 horsepower V6 that also got 31 MPG highway (which I’d been experiencing in the rental car) and a 5.0 liter 412 horsepower V8 that was still good for 26 MPG highway. Those engines were replacing a 4.0 liter V6 with 210 horsepower and a 4.6 liter V8 with 315 horsepower, both with worse gas mileage than the new engines too. So, I started by going to Zeck Ford in Leavenworth, Kansas because they had a 2011 Mustang GT convertible for sale, in Grabber Blue (check out the color here if you’d like). I worked with an awesome salesperson named Gene Sirabella, and he treated me right, which I really appreciated. After driving that car with the new 5.0 V8, I knew I couldn’t get anything older than a 2011. The V6 in my rental car was more powerful and got better mileage than the older V8, and I didn’t want to go “back” like that.
So my search was now on for a 2011 Mustang GT – it had to have a manual transmission and heated seats. Beyond that, I was pretty open. Since I was looking for a used 2011, there weren’t a ton of options out there (less than 100 nationwide). I had communications with Ford dealers in Texas, Virginia, Louisiana and here in KC. Finally, I found just what I wanted, ironically enough, back home in Wisconsin – in Sheboygan Falls at B&B Ford. I talked with the salesperson at B&B, Michael Kennedy, and got everything figured out. While all this was going on, I still didn’t know what I was going to get for the wrecked Mazda, though I knew within probably $1,000 what I would get.
Finally, after two weeks of waiting, I decided I wasn’t going to wait around any longer and I booked a one-way flight to Milwaukee for Friday, September 2nd. A couple guys from B&B Ford were waiting for me at the airport, and took me over to a McDonald’s not far from the airport where they’d parked my car. After signing some papers, I finally had my Mustang!
It’s a 2011 Mustang GT coupe premium. The color is Race Red and it has heated seats and the Interior Upgrade Package. Standard features include 18″ wheels, the Sync in-car connectivity system, and the usual amenities. Most importantly, it has 412 horsepower and three pedals/six gears to put that horsepower to good use. Not the yellow convertible I always imagined, but I love where I ended up.
The only problem with my flying up to get the car was that I was supposed to be at the Lake of the Ozarks all weekend for my buddy Corey Cassaw‘s bachelor party. So, I took off from Milwaukee back south towards Missouri, with my destination for the night being Hannibal, MO (the home of Mark Twain), before driving the final 150 miles to Osage Beach, MO on Saturday morning. My route for the night looked like this:
368 miles in a night was a great way to get to know my new car. I had a blast and made it to the Lake in time for an incredible weekend of fun.
It’s now been just over three weeks since I got the car and I love it as much as I always knew I would. I’ve gone a little crazy buying things to go with it, including:
- A complete set of winter floormats from Husky Liners (BTW, if you want a great set of floormats to protect your car’s interior – these rock. Had ‘em on my Explorer and have ‘em again now.
- 18″ Ford Racing wheels with Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires from The Tire Rack, which will let me get through KC winter with little to no problem.
- Joining the Mustang Club of America and the Mustang Club of Greater Kansas City.
- Buying a strut tower brace – comes standard on Mustang GT convertibles and coupes with 19″ wheels, so not on mine. Here’s how it will look:
Thankfully, I live with a girlfriend that loves driving it and, most importantly, knows how much I’ve always wanted one and, therefore, has more patience than could be reasonably expected! We’re driving it back to Wisconsin this coming weekend for the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game on Saturday and the Packers vs. Broncos game on Sunday. On Saturday morning, we’re going to take a drive in the Mustang with my uncle and aunt in their 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena. Two gorgeous, fast, red cars and a lot of fun, gas prices be damned. With that, I’ll end this marathon post with a slideshow of my ‘Stang: