Having lived with my 1996 Ford Mustang GT for over two years now, I am often asked why the heck I voluntarily purchased an old car like this even though I can afford something much nicer. It’s always an awkward conversation, leaving the other person more confused than they were before asking. So in order to organize my own thoughts on the subject, I figured it would be good to write out some of the things that I like and dislike about this car.
To be honest, there are actually more things about this car that I dislike than I care to admit, so that’s why I am writing out the things that bug me about it first. I’ll get to the good stuff in a future post, but here are 5 things that drive me nuts about the mid 90’s SN95 Ford Mustang:
The driving position is all wrong
I was driving this car to work one day in late 2012 (shortly after purchasing it), and while sitting at a stoplight I realized that the steering wheel and drivers seat are not actually aligned with one another. It’s true – the steering wheel is actually several inches off-center from the seat. While this offset doesn’t necessarily affect driving performance, it bugs the crap out of me out of principle and it’s not something I have ever been able to un-notice.
The doors are freaking huge
Parking spaces are small here in southern California, and getting in and out of this car in a tight spot is virtually impossible. The doors are very long and swing out very wide, and since the drivers seat sits so far forward in the cabin, it’s necessary to open them a good about to enter and exit the car. I’m sure that I look like an idiot trying to get in and out of this thing.
I actually have to lean forward to engage 5th gear
I’m only about 5’-10” tall, so it’s not like I need to have the seat pushed as far back as possible or anything. As a matter of fact, it’s pushed farther forward than most others would feel comfortable (as confirmed from the grunts I hear watching service techs get in and out of the car). So why do I have the seat so far forward? So I can fully engage 5th gear! The poor driving position combined with the snake-like gear shift lever in these SN95 Mustangs is nothing short of frustrating.
It’s suffering from a huge identity crisis
I guess I’ve never totally understood the concept of the Pony Car. The Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger are very fun cars that perform very well, but the higher trim levels of each are slathered in luxury appointments such as plush leather and power controls for nearly everything in the cockpit. To be honest, I don’t quite get it. One of the things that I hate about my particular Mustang is the fact that the leather and power controls for seemingly ever function doesn’t match at all with how crude the car actually is. Seriously – this is not a delicate car, and I’d even go as far as to describe it as downright “raw”. It’s a difficult beast to drive, and the slippery leather seats and half-functioning old power switches don’t help. That leads me to my next complaint:
The front seats are the worst
Not only are they spongy and soft, they are covered in a slippery leather-like substance that doesn’t hold me in place at all while going around tight corners. To make matters worse, it is completely impossible to reach over to pick up items that slipped off the passenger seat while going around one of those said corners. I actually can’t get enough “traction” to stay firmly planted in my seat while reaching over – all I do is slide to the left towards the door the further I lean over. Frustrating like you wouldn’t believe.