Mark T 1966 Ford Mustang 2dr Convertible

How compromise can yield the best possible result

My wife and I had owned a couple convertibles over the course of time, the first (a 1999 Miata) sacrificed on the alter of parenthood and the second (a 2001 Camaro Super Sport) sacrificed on the alter of an historic home restoration. We love our historic home, and we certainly love our daughter Maeve, but we did miss those convertibles and had quietly resolved to get another one. The problem: our visions were completely, and I mean 100%, different: Robyne wanted a new or late model Miata, while I wanted a 1960's Deville. Yeah, not a lot of common ground there. My beef with the Miata: all three of us couldn't ride in it. Her beef with the Caddy: It's a hundred feet long and we don't have any place to put it.

There ensued a friendly cold war on the issue, to which no solution seemed obvious or likely or even remotely possible, until one day at a country fair we happened across the answer to our difference of opinion: a 1966 Mustang convertible, 6 cylinder, in perfect shape with about 26,000 original miles. It was small enough to fit in our garage. It sat four people comfortably. Because it's a 6 cylinder, nothing-special sort of car, of which no less than 115,000 of that exact model were made in that year alone, we could afford it. Because (again) it was common, spare parts and re-manufactured systems are abundant and cheap. It lacks real power like the 472 V8 of my dreams, but with not a lot of stop I determined that I didn't mind not a lot of go, and being new to the world of antique car ownership, having a car that always starts and runs, is sized for the real world, and doesn't scare the beJesus out of you when you step on the throttle...these are all good things. Best of all, because absolutely everyone over 40 has a personal memory involving this car or one very much like it, it's an absolute show-stopper wherever we go. I don't think I'd ever want a rare car after this experience, though I admire and enjoy them when I see them. No, far better to have something that half the people you run into knew and loved and lost at some point in their life.

Yes, I'd still like the Cadillac someday, and I'm sure my wife would like her Miata, but if none of that happens we're going to be just fine, because it turns out that the '66 Mustang was the perfect, impossible compromise that proved to be far more satisfying than either car of our dreams.

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