’65 Mustang: Better To Look At Than To Drive

Categories Ford, Torque Affair

65 Mustang rear

This ’65 Mustang was so beautiful. As soon as I saw it at Mosing Motorcars, I knew I had to drive it. I was salivating all over it like a dog drools over, well, whatever looks like it could be eaten – like an electrical outlet. Kirk, the sales manager of Mosing Motorcars knew immediately what I was up to when he saw me eyeing the Mustang. He has seen me around before to take the Cobra and the Porsche out for a spin and I’m sure he looked at me and thought: “Why do you come around here anyway? Do you even write anything? Does anyone read what you write? Why are you putting miles on our cars for no reason?” All valid questions.

I could hardly blame him if that is what he was thinking. But I don’t think that those were the specific thoughts going through his mind since he handed me the keys to the car – but that may have been because it was the only way to get rid of me. I was glad. I’m living proof that “persistence pays off.” Annoy till you die!

But, then, in the next few minutes I started questioning if practicing the “annoy till you die” ideology was really worth it.

As I was about to find out – visually appreciating the car was a better proposition than actually driving it.

You see, with older cars like these, you can’t just get in and start driving. You have to take some time to get used to it and wrap your head around all the quirks that come with a car that’s 50 years old. For example, there is no passenger side rear view mirror.

Only a driver’s side mirror exists which is utterly useless anyway and so you have to be ok with driving without having a clue of what’s behind you or around you. But that’s fine – isn’t that what they say about living life? Just look ahead and don’t look back?

65 Mustang Mirror
 There is also no ideal seating position.  No matter how much you move your seat forward or backward, you’ll still feel awkward.  After a few minutes of messing with it, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll have to choose between a horrible seating position and “not very good” one.

And finally, once you’re about to get going, you realize that the ‘65 Mustang requires superhuman strength just to drive the car out of a parking spot.

Here is what it takes:

Step 1: Forget about turning the steering wheel when the car is not moving. It would have been easier to push the car up a hill than to actually budge the steering wheel. Since there is no power steering, it feels like the Mustang’s tires are glued to the road and the only chance you have of changing the direction of the front wheels of the car is to get it moving. But because you’re in a tight parking spot with almost no room, it is really hard to get enough momentum to start being able to turn the wheel. However, once you do start moving, you will face a problem which brings me to step #2.

Step 2: It takes so many turns of the steering wheel to move the wheels of the car just 5 degrees, that your arms feel like they will fall off after you go through the process. Do not underestimate the cardio workout you can get with your arms and hands flailing all over the Mustang steering wheel. With a car like this, you really don’t need to go to the gym.

Unless you’re a highly trained, well conditioned athlete, you will absolutely run out of breath trying to keep up with rotating the steering wheel. And just when you think it’s over…

Step 3: ..it’s not. When you want to straighten out the wheels, you have to initiate the same number of rotations of the wheel, but this time, they will be in the exact opposite direction and by the time you have your wheels pointing straight, you will have had enough of a workout for the day and want to take a nap. You’ll also want to munch on a Snickers bar to replenish that lost energy.

At this point, let’s say you want to skip the nap and continue driving, you will realize that as you gain speed, the enormous hunk of metal surrounding you won’t really slow down. The brakes don’t work well and so you have to be completely aware of your surroundings at all times. If someone in cuts in front of you, immediately start praying. Even if you’re an atheist, pray anyway. You can slam on that brake pedal as hard as you want, but don’t expect the car to come to a halt. Instead, prepare yourself for an imminent collision. And this is what will happen.

The steering wheel will cut you in half. It’s gigantic, rock solid and if you hit it as a result of an impact, it will be one of the most painful experiences of your life – if you happen to live, that is. And you can’t even sit that far away from the wheel, because then you won’t be able to reach the pedals.

The Gear Challenge

65 Mustang gears
Reverse is actually located where you typically find 1st gear.

Now, imagine this scenario. You pull up to a stop light and happen to catch a nose-picker in the car next to you. Naturally you think: “will she eat her booger or just flick it somewhere?” Before you’re able to find out what she does, the light turns green and within a millisecond you hear a deafening honk from behind you. You immediately respond to this by shoving the gear lever into first (or so you think) and floor the gas pedal.

Instantly, you accelerate in the wrong direction and then…..BAAAM!

You plow into the person behind you.

The enraged driver of the F350, who could barely feel you hit him, jumps out of his car with the look of death in his eyes, charges towards you, reaches to grab his gun, realizes he left it at home and then proceeds to beat you until you’re unconscious.

You’re now almost dead because of the simple fact that in a moment of panic you didn’t remember that the location of the 1st gear is actually where 2nd gear usually is.

The Steering Challenge Continues…

Besides all the scenarios that could leave you almost dead or paralyzed, there is another challenging situation with the steering that you will encounter. That is getting the car to take turns. There’s so much play in the steering wheel that you can move it side to side like people do in movies with the fake background, and just like in the movies, the car will continue to drive completely straight regardless of what the driver is doing. I can’t even get my 3 year old car to go this straight no matter how many times I take my car in to get the alignment checked.

It turns out that the only way to get this car to make the turn that you’re wanting to make is to engage the hand-over-hand technique (step 2). After turning the wheel 12,450 degrees, you will finally be able to make that stupid right angle turn.

65 Mustang angle

Today’s cars make it so easy to pilot a car with a just a fingertip or a slightly long fingernail that getting into something as manual and mechanical as a Mustang presents a steep learning curve. You really don’t get how much work it is until you try it. It blows my mind that people actually drag-raced these cars back in the day – how did they not all crash and die?

Because driving the Mustang was so mentally and physically stressful, I was actually looking forward to bringing it back to Mosing. I didn’t want to risk damaging anything on it because it was in such pristine condition. Also, I had to pee.

The way I see is that if you grew up in that era, something like this would probably be of significant value to you. Especially, something as nice as this particular 1965 Mustang. It’s perfectly restored still retaining the vast majority of its original parts. It has barely been driven (only 10K miles) and has stayed garaged the majority of its life. Honestly, I’d rather stare it than drive it.

65 Mustang rear angle

It really is a stunning car. It has gorgeous lines and is one of those cars that draw tons of people at car shows. This Mustang will undoubtedly end up in someone car collection and continue to just sit there and I’m perfectly fine with that!

Lots of folks that used to own this car many years ago would enjoy driving this since it will elicit memories of going on dates, using the back seat as a bed (I’m not kidding – there are shelves you can cover the seats with), and of course, racing.

As for me, I’ll just stick to cars that comparatively take very little effort to drive. I’ve learned my lesson – I’m a wimp. I’d rather admire these cars in a museum than drive them.

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