Drive your cars now

Drive your cars now

Artwork by Derek BaconCar and driver

Excerpt from the April 2022 issue of Car and driver.

The other day a friend sent me a picture of an odometer reading 100,000.0 miles. Big deal, you think – these days, 100,000 miles is basically the break-in period. But this one was notable because the odometer belongs to a 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, bought new in January 2018 and put into service as perhaps the only long-haul commuter car in the Southeast with a red line. at 8250 rpm and a flat crank. Its owner, Meares Heustess, ran a junk collection business and used the GT350 to tour offices in South Carolina, with the occasional detour to Tail of the Dragon, racking up big miles on a car that many owners consider too valuable. to drive. “I hadn’t planned on driving it that much, but I fell in love with it,” he tells me. “It’s the only car I’ve ever had that every day when I walk up, I think, ‘That’s a wonderful car.’ A cold start in the morning is a great way to start your day.” This guy does it well.

As for those of you who have great cars wrapped in plastic in a climate-controlled warehouse, you deserve to be publicly humiliated for your miserable mileage parsimony, your unnecessary automobile hoarding in the service of . . . what? Eternal perfection? Financial reward? Think a Buick GNX makes a nice conversation in your spotless garage? It probably is! But you should still drive it.

The time car is a cliché on the auction circuit. So some guy bought a Camaro IROC new in 1985 and just stared at it until he died, and now it’ll sell for $50,000? Big deal. These high sale prices without mileage almost never represent a real financial gain. But other than that, museum cars are just plain sad: here’s a fun car that never had fun. My IROC had 125,000 miles when I sold it, and this one lived the life a Camaro was meant to live—blue lights still in the rearview mirror, Warrant’s mellow tones rattling the louvers of the rear window, perpetually fried tires at the edge of race-slick status. I believe every Camaro time capsule should be given to a 16 year old who drives at least 15,000 miles a year. My proposal is pending with the Gates Foundation.

“But Ez, aren’t some cars too rare and valuable to risk out there on public roads?” Shut up, Cameron’s dad Ferris Bueller’s day off. I spent a week vacation at college with my friend Shezad’s aunt and uncle in Florida. The first time their garage door opened, my eyeballs fell out of my head. There were three Lamborghinis (Diablo, Countach and LM002), a Ferrari Testarossa, a Bentley Turbo R. But the car that really obsessed me was the Ferrari F40. Shezad’s uncle, Dr. Nasir Khalidi, drove him on a 27-mile loop in the weeks he didn’t drive him to Sebring, eventually putting in around 11,000 miles. Towards the end of the week he drove me in F40. A 110mph trip down an on-ramp helped erase the idea that any car might be too rarefied to beat the way its makers intended.

And while regular commutes can reveal latent problems, not driving your cars can be just as bad. Dr Khalidi passed away a few years ago, and the F40 is now in the hands of his son, Naveed – or more accurately, in the hands of the local dealership, where it is in pieces, being serviced. in-depth focus. “They tell me I should have driven it more regularly,” says Naveed. What’s his plan once he’s back in action. I offered to help, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

The Heustess GT350 has barely cooled in the last four years and only needed an evaporator, tires and new batteries for the key fob. I ask if he may have thought about counting those 100,000 trouble-free Shelby miles as a win, cashing in his chips, and getting something less jittery. “Damn, that’s a Mustang,” he said. “I’ll drive it.”

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