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71Hardtop Rocks

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  • My Car
    My first car was a 1971 Mustang hardtop, dark metallic green
    I now drive a 2001 Chevy Cavalier but I still dream about that old horse.


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    Mattawan, MI

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  1. Hello, I am glad I am not the only one who thinks Ford's "Clydesdale" Mustangs are cool. From the moment I first saw one I just knew I had to have one. The styling was and remains distinct from anything else on the road. Long hood, short deck, and that tunneled rear window. I don't think there is a bad line in her anywhere. There is quite a story behind my first car, a green 1971 hardtop. When I turned 16 I wanted a driver's license and a 71 or 72 hardtop worse than anything. But my parents said no to both. Actually what they said was that I did not need either a car or a license (turns out my father was repeating what his father had told him at his age), and that Mustangs were junk anyway. They told me that if I got a license I would have to pay for the increase in their insurance, but even then I would not be allowed to drive their car. Even as a teenager I could see that that was a bad deal, so I let the matter drop. Little did they know that behind their back I was hatching a plot. At that time (the mid-1970's), Michigan was much more lenient in issuing driver's licenses to teenagers than it is today. If you got your learner's permit but did not validate it, it was good almost indefinitely. Once validated, however, you had to get your license within 30 days. So I saved up my money and when I figured I had enough to buy the car of my dreams, I went down to the Secretary of State's, got my permit validated, called a friend who said he knew about cars, and went shopping. We must have drove every '71 or '72 hardtop Mustang in the Kalamazoo area. None of them were right. Finally, we went over to the nearby village of Paw Paw, and there she sat at the back of Harvey Ford's lot, 91,000 miles on the odometer, body riddled with rust, and a stick shift I barely knew how to drive. But she was beautiful to me. Then came the fun part. I had driven cars all over Kalamazoo without ever being questioned about my license. But now when it came time to buy, the salesman balked. He said he had never heard of anyone buying a car with only a learner's permit. I told him I was 21, I had the money, and I was going to get a license as soon as the 30 days was up, so what was the problem. Money finally won out, and the Green Horse was mine. I had many adventures with that car before I sold her (but that's a subject for another thread), and I still dream about her sometimes. Oh, by the way, my parents were none too pleased when I came home with that old beater, but they learned to live with it.
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