In September of 1999, I wanted a Mustang badly.  I went looking for a red on red car, and I
bought the first one I saw.  Looking back, I haven’t been honest at all about why I bought it
or why I even wanted it, but it definitely was for the wrong reason.  It’s a purchase that I
just shouldn’t have made.  I immediately set about modifying this Mustang, spending every
paycheck on something else for this car.  
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1988 Ford Mustang GT
First thing I bought was a cheap H-pipe from Harry’s Hot Rod.  I stayed up at the
Mercedes dealer until 1:00 a.m. doing that thing on the lift.  After that, I just had to go get
some chrome ponies.  On a late night in fall of '99 I went to Kennedale and put the wheels
on the car.  They didn't fit great.  It was a little strange to me that the 245 width tire didn’t
fit on the driver side and rubbed the tire badly, but I didn’t think anything of it and
continued on.  In January of 2000, the Mustang started smoking terribly.  I bought a ported
set of E7 heads and changed the valve seats.  They were plastic seats in the heads on the car,
and they broke apart.  With that fixed, I drove it until the spring of 2000 when I decided to
tear out the engine and rebuild it as it started using a lot of oil.  I purchased an E-cam to put
into the motor, but found that when the engine was rebuilt before I got the car, it wasn't
rebuilt right and the pistons had ruined the walls of the block.  I needed to buy a new block,
pistons, rings, everything except the crankshaft and rods.  I paid Mark’s Auto Supply in
Burleson to bolt it all together and took it down to the barn.  Over a week down at the barn
during the month of August, I converted the car to mass air from speed density and installed
the new engine.  I continued to modify the car, adding a Cobra Intake, larger MAF and 4.10
gears, racking up speeding tickets left and right until May 2001, when the AOD
transmission went out.  I had other problems too.  Before the AOD gave up, I discovered
that Mustang had an aftermarket alarm system installed and removed at some point before I
owned it and the wiring was an absolute rats nest of confusion.  I went to the junk yard and
got a crash course on changing chassis harnesses in Fox bodied cars.  My folks had pretty
much had it with me at this point – they had to bail their son out of jail for all those
speeding tickets – and this Mustang was just sitting around broken.  They put the money
up for a new AOD and it lasted just a week.  The shop that did the work would not
warranty the transmission because I had done so much to the engine.  So, in the summer of
2001 it sat, again.  Over that winter, the car stayed at the barn, and I bought a 280ZX to get
around in because the Thunderbird was not up to the task of daily driving – plus I just
wanted a Z.  The Mustang sat until I sold the Z to help pay for a new transmission in
March of '02.
I moved to North Fort Worth in January of 2002, and the money from the Z helped to pay
for not just a new transmission, but a 5-speed swap,  a solution to  all the issues I’d had
with the AOD.  After piecing together all the components, I installed the transmission, cut
the floor, removed the dash, installed the pedals, and the swap was a success.  
Unfortunately, over the previous winter, three of the freeze plugs popped out of the block.  
The engine was ruined.  I now understood working for the collision center just how badly
the body was still tweaked from being repaired from a previous collision before I owned it,
the true reason the tires never fit in the rear.  I drove it until the coolant turned to milk and
let the car sit over a third summer as I finally sold it away in September of 2002.  I kept the
chrome wheels and put them on the Thunderbird.  

I had some fun, but with the benefit of ten years gone, I wish ultimately I had made better
decisions about buying it, taking care of it and spending every dime I had on it for three
years.