Multiple Curbside Classics: 2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost and Dad’s 1971 Mach 1 – Family Traditions And Being At Odds With My Riviera Money

One of my favorite colors is lime green.  My parents allowed me to choose the paint color in my bedroom when I was four – I chose lime green.  Lime green Skittles were my favorite until they foolheartedly changed that flavor to a sickly apple green (I sent them a strongly worded email voicing my displeasure).  Perhaps most important of all, my dad once owned a Grabber Lime 1971 Mustang Mach 1 that initiated a fascination with that combination of color and model that continues today.  All of these things caught up with me on October 10th, when I saw this Grabber Lime Ecoboost Mustang on a dealer lot in Northern Michigan.

Grabber Lime is a one-year color – it has been cancelled for 2021.  Therefore, the date I mentioned above is of paramount importance to my not-that-interesting tale.  I decided that I wanted a Grabber Lime Mustang with one option – the “Black Accent Package,” which includes blacked out trim and wheels.  A modern car comes with more than I need anyway.

Next, I visited Ford’s website to spec out that particular model, and followed it up with a message to a large Ford dealership in Ann Arbor, and a dealer more local to me.  Only Ann Arbor responded, but they informed me that the order bank had closed for 2020, and it would be basically impossible to trade for a car such as the one I wanted.  And that was that.

I know I would have liked the car itself – my mom and dad currently drive a 2018 Ecoboost Premium in black that they’ve let me drive several times.  Dad hasn’t been without a Mustang in his name since he was 20 or so.

This is Dad with his Mach 1, cutting a period-stylish figure.  The Mustang was a 351 Cleveland four-barrel car, and anyone who appreciates big Mustangs can see why I fell in love with pictures of it at a young age.  Unfortunately, Dad traded it in on a ’74 Gran Torino Elite a couple years before I was born.

Digression about a strange coincidence: Dad’s Mustang almost certainly met its fate in the early 1980s at the hands of my wife’s stepfather of all people, who owned a rusty lime green Mach 1 while he was in high school near where we live.  He said it was a 351 four-barrel, and he grenaded the engine.  By that time, it had developed some significant natural body ventilation.

Here are my mom and my older cousin posing with the Mach 1 (with my uncle’s ’66 GTO in the background).  My mom’s wearing a “Photographer Official 1968 Speedway” shirt from the Indy 500 – my grandpa was a loyal Indy Car fan, an amateur photographer, and an employee at the local newspaper; he attended the 500 most years and must have wrangled the shirt somehow.  Mom, by the way, has her own Mustang history; in fact, I’ve been driving her old car for years.

Here’s the whole Mach 1 for good measure.  My dad sometimes tells the story of driving the car to Florida in December 1972 for his and Mom’s honeymoon.  He left his snow tires on the back, and someone down south complimented his “nice mudgrips.”  He still gets a chuckle out of that one.

I hope you now can see why I was so tempted by a modern version of my dad’s old car.  Here’s an example of what I was looking for in a new one (but this one’s an automatic that’s now sold).  My dad would obviously have been happy with my new purchase had it happened, but all might be for the best anyway.

Around the same time that this Mustang business was going on, I had decided that I’m finally going to buy a ’63 or ’64 Riviera, price be damned (within reason).  All this Mustang money would have interfered with what is really something I need to do; I’ve wanted an early Riv for almost 20 years and there’s no reason for me not to have one by now.

Therefore, I’ll keep commuting in my 2012 manual-transmission Focus SE, the only car I’ve bought new, pictured here when I bought it in November 2011.  It’s fine.  It only has 90,000 miles and gets 35+ miles per gallon, not to mention the fact that it’s bait for the salt anyway.  Fans of this website will know that I have a seven antique car menagerie at my disposal for fun.  Regardless, missing out on the Mustang hurts a little, as missed opportunities always do.  If I’m lucky, my new old Riviera, wherever it is, will help alleviate the pain.