I saw a recent advertising campaign for the new 2010 Mustang.  It featured a gentleman that had lost his sight years ago in an accident.  One of the things he missed most was the thrill of driving, so Ford created an opportunity for he and a few other vision impaired people to drive the new Mustang on a private strip with former Mustang Trans Am racer Tommy Kendall.  It’s a terrific advertising campaign (click here to view all of the videos), but it did get me thinking: what if you couldn’t drive?  Specifically, what if you could never again drive your muscle car?

1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350
The thrill of the open road!

One of the things many automotive fans love is the ability to slip behind the wheel and connect with a machine.  It’s a stress relief.  It’s exciting.  It involves all of your senses (unless you’re a lousy driver….but if you are, you are not likely reading this anyway).  When it comes to older muscle cars the challenge is even greater.  I once was listening to legendary test pilot General Chuck Yeager compare flying a modern day F-15 to the WWI-era P-51.  Chuck said (as only Chuck can) that the F-15 was relatively easy to fly…..but you had to be careful with the P-51 or it would jump up and “bite” you.  I think the same thing could easily be said for 1960’s and ’70’s muscle cars.   They take a little more conscious  awareness to manage than a modern muscle car, which does not make them better or worse, but different.  But what if, all of a sudden, you didn’t have the ability to drive any more?

I love to drive.  When I daydream, I dream about driving.  Driving my Chevelle.  Driving race cars.  Driving the General Lee even (which I swear I will do some day).  During my younger days I had more moving violations than I can remember – and I lost my driving privileges 3 summers in a row as a result.  The first 2 times I was able to get the privileges immediately reinstated in exchange for probation…but was not so lucky on the 3rd offense.  Oddly enough, I was never caught driving in the triple digits (luckily) – it was always for something silly like a 10-15mph speeding ticket, or rolling through a stop sign.  I place all of the blame on me…and a little on my Chevelle.

The experience of losing my driving privileges was a terrifying one though, which is what made the Ford advertisement hit home for me.  Being unable to drive ever again would not merely be an inconvenience for me – it would be somewhat akin to going without oxygen.   I only hope the day will never come when I can’t get behind the wheel and drop the hammer, and I honestly thank God for the opportunity.  I know that I’m not alone in that sentiment!

Here’s to happiness behind the wheel.  Drive your muscle car.  Enjoy it.  Be thankful for the experience – because it could be gone in the blink of an eye!


-Robert Kibbe

The MuscleCar Place – Great Muscle Cars for Sale

2 Responses

  1. Back in 1996, it was September the 3rd if I remember correctly, I did have a serious car crash. I had my permit for about a year and a half and one night a buddy and me were on our way for a drink somewhere in Antwerp when I lost control of my mothers’ car on the exit of the highway and we smashed into a lightpole. Apparently, the car was totally wrapped around the pole, but I never saw the wreck, I was unconscious most of the time. I still remeber vaguely getting into a skid and the next thing I’m being picked up and put into an ambulance. My friend, luckily, only suffered minor injuries, some bruises and cuts on his arms and upper body. I, on the other hand broke a vertebra in my neck and 3 in my back. I was in hospital for 5 days, unable to move anything except for my arms. The 4th day, my surgeon installed, what is called a halo-brace on my head, it’s kind of a harness on your body, attached to a halo that is actually screwed into your skull with 4 screws. It hurts, but only for a couple of days ;-). The next day, I was discharged from hospital. After about a week or 2, I got really used to it and was able to do almost everything a ‘normal’ person would. I started going into town, having short walks, meeting up with friends and cooking. After a while I even went out for a beer at night. The one thing I hated the most wasn’t the people staring at you or asking you how it happened (although I grew tired of explaining after a while and just said I broke my neck, you should’ve seen the reactions on people’s faces…), but it was all these people treating you like somebody who needed help all the time, people wanting to help me get of the bus, old people standing up to give me their seat (which were to small for me to sit on, most of the times). I could understand how people with other disabilities must feel being treated this way all the time. For myself, I knew it would be over in a couple of months, and I must say your body quickly adapts to the situation. Just one more thing, my girlfriend at that time came to pick me up from hospital after 5 days and I asked her if I couldn’t drive a little while, even though I was in huge pain at the time, just to see if I hadn’t gotten scared of driving. She obviously didn’t let me…

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