It was bought in Greensboro, NC from a private person named Sean. He was a student too and enjoyed driving a fast car. But for some reason he bought a new 4-cyl car. Anyway, the Mustang was purchased for $3900, with a big 400-watt stereo. It had a bad battery, which was replaced shortly after. A 302 Ford V8 breathed under the hood. After the first test-drive Marco was convinced: What an enormous power plant! From this point on he said "she" when referring to the Mustang.
The car had two Flowmaster mufflers, power-pulleys, and the intake-silencer was removed. The output peaked around 240hp. The massive torque was handled by a 5-spd manual transmission, which had to be replaced several months later. Second gear, the fun-gear, was worn. Imagine driving in second at about 35mph, floor the accelerator and the rear would break loose, especially on wet surfaces or in curves. In first you could do doughnuts forever. Say hello to the rear tires...
The Mustang was the flagship during the trip to Californ-I-A. As mentioned, the transmission gave up and was replaced by a newer one. But apart from that it was a good car, comfortable too with cruise control and A/C. By the end of the trip one of the tailpipes had broken off by accident and the new transmission was acting up again: there was an oil-leak. This time professional Ford mechanics put in a Ford Motor Sport T5 for heavy-duty use.
One of Mark's good friends and his wife used the Stang for their honeymoon! They took it across the country once more. Some things broke: clutch, muffler, and suspension.
In the summer of 1997 Marco and two buddies used the car for vacation purposes one last time. They toured the East Coast. There were no problems at all. A fuse was the only thing that was replaced. In the fall of '97 the Mustang was finally sold.

Listen to Mark tear up the road in the Stang! (44KB)
The Mustang's fuel consumption.

 



The Camaro was bought from a dealer in Burlington, NC. With the price tag of $2600 it couldn't be expected to run like a new car. The odometer read some 110,000 miles, the radio didn't work properly, and the air-conditioning was busted. Also, when the car drove over a pothole or bump in the road, the right rear wheel had a tendency to scrape against the bodywork. Thus we installed a device that jacked up the rear a bit; this however didn't cure the scraping entirely.The old tires were replaced and new Corvette Rally centers were mounted. Surely, that made it look better!
Before embarking on the trip, the Camaro was checked by a mechanic who okayed it; the air-conditioning was fixed. It turned out that it had been disconnected for some reason, which we later would discover. In fact the entire electrical system witnessed that this indeed was a 10 year old car: For instance if you turned on the radio, static was present even though the radio was perfectly tuned on a station. The static got even worse if the headlights or blinkers were switched on.
On May 16 1996, the first real day of the trip, the air-conditioning was used extensively as we got down South. This surely contributed to "the meltdown" (not breakdown) the following day. A small wire was replaced and the car was running once again - at least until we got to Las Vegas where a new fan motor had to be installed; the old one was shorted out by the new wiring installed back in Mississippi. From this point the air-conditioning wasn't used. In retrospect maybe these problems could have been avoided if the A/C hadn't been reconnected prior to the trip.
The Camaro was only used when travelling on the open highway and not as much in stop-and-go city driving, which had caused both meltdowns. Whenever we went sightseeing only the Mustang, which was roomier, was used.
We installed CB-radios in both cars so we could keep in contact. The radio in the Mustang could broadcast 3-5 miles while the other stopped at about 2 miles. Furthermore the Camaro carried a radar detector, a fuzz-buster! This came in handy several times; in fact nobody got a ticket although we did some serious speeding at times.
Apart from the two meltdown-experiences, the car did well on this 8000-mile trip: Chevrolet all day and every day!

The Camaro's fuel consumption.

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