BIG UPDATE

I’m distracted by a Comcast notification telling everyone to change their email port settings to improve security. Their instructions were clear but didn’t work, so will have to phone them. Fortunately no deadline for this.

In the meantime, here’s yet another post. Pour yourself a cigarette and light up a drink………….

This starts with an email to my salesman a few days back and his response, then my commentary.

I wrote:

 Hi, Robb-

 I never really knew, but I assumed the 2013 Mustang came out around last April. Tonight I saw a YouTube vid showing one on the road at least 3 months earlier according to the poster.

 I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to miss the window of opportunity for ordering from the factory. I think when we last talked about this we said maybe the deadline would be mid February give or take a month. Do you have a sense what the possible window might be now? I just didn’t want to be too late getting in touch with you, etc.

 Things are going okay for me getting up my down payment, things are on track.

 Thanks,
 Chuck

Hello Chuck,

just to update you.  The 13’s are balanced out.  We are getting allocation for the 14’s this week.  If we ordered one now it would land sometime in February.  This will be the last version of the current body style.  So when you are ready to rock so am I

—Robb

Commentary:

So I go down there yesterday simultaneously expecting everything to be what I think it is, or the absolute worst case scenario.
Turns out it’s as I thought, I’m okay. I can’t get 2013’s anymore, but 2014’s are the same car. WHEW!! Only thing changed is they dropped a few colors and added some. Plus some group packages had some minor alterations, but I’m not getting any of those packages anyway. As they had originally promised, Ford dropped the Boss 302. It was produced for 2 years and was meant to be a collectible.

There is no transitional Mustang before the 2015’s come out. Again, WHEW!!

Robb and I talked for 90 minutes (if I include maybe 10 minutes I waited while he wrapped up some other business, and talked to his manager about some of my questions). I still like this guy a lot as a salesman. At first I was prepared to be mad at him if I walked in and he told me that he forgot to tell me when the 2013’s were gonna disappear, but I think he found out what was going on right about the time I sent the email.

There’s still a lot he needs to find out exactly about the ultimate timeline for ordering 2014’s. Probably safe to say a year but he didn’t want to say that, especially as we talked about how Ford has this car’s model year stretched out a freakin’ full year in advance in stead of the usual 4 months. I speculated to him that maybe it was some marketing thing to celebrate 50 years of Mustang or something, but even that doesn’t fully make sense since I don’t think we’ll see the 2015 for a year. But since the 1964 Mustang was actually a 1964 1/2 Mustang, maybe that plays into things somehow. But this makes my head hurt so I’m dropping it. I get the impression it’s making the dealer’s heads hurt, too.

We had a good talk, and I got to ask a bunch of questions I’ve been accumulating over time. I left things with him saying I’d be in touch with him late December to see what the view looks like for ordering 2014’s. He definitely knows for sure I don’t want to take delivery with salt dust on the roads and also to give me time to get the best down payment possible.

He showed me a breakdown printout of the new packages and order codes. I happened to stumble across it last night and also downloaded it for myself.

I found out what winter wheels will really cost. Basically about double the very cheapest ones I find on Tirerack.com. However they are all OEM and factory spec and warrantied. I also found out the prices of the wheels varies according to supply and demand. The plain wheels at this moment are almost twice as expensive as one of the optional nicer wheels! So when I order I can look to see what’s the cheapest. At least I know any Ford wheel will be smooth and safe up to 170 mph.

He also advised me to be wary on my timing for buying wheels from any retailer or dealer in regard to the time of the year, as I might wait a long time for something if my timing is off. He suggested that ideally I buy before December as January the winter season is effectively over as far as inventory is concerned, as warehouses don’t want to hold stuff until next October-December. Made sense to me, but I’m not in a position to pay out of pocket. I’ll take my chances on timing. I told him I still want to incorporate wheels and tires into the loan. Turns out this will likely cost me $36 a month, an expensive option! But I live in NH. I’m not screwing around with increasing the odds wrecking the car for the sake of a few thousand bucks.

I told him about my research and plans for preserving the car. I told him I really didn’t want the transport showing up in the middle of salt season. I much prefer immediately driving the car to my brother’s, putting it up on a lift, spraying the bottom with Gibb’s, then POR-15. These are not undercoatings and are metal treatments that can be covered in another text. Also told him I found likely the best electronic rust killer in the world (Australia) and hope to install that before actual salt driving ($530 plus shipping).

Did more research last night for other stuff. Depending on which model year from 2011 until now, the (factory programmed) top speed is 147-155 mph. If I reprogrammed the chip the top end would be at least 170 but no more than 181. I think it would be 171-175 based on things I observed that I won’t cover here. I don’t think I’d reprogram the chip as I doubt I’ll find any spot in NH that’s long enough to do better than 150 mph. oOOPS, excuse me! I meant to say I don’t think I’ll find any private track that’s long enough to do better than 150 mph.

Reprogramming costs $99 if you already have a $500 handheld device. The one other good thing about reprogramming is you can adjust how firm and fast the automatic transmission shifts.

I talked to Robb about how I’m still partially dithering between an automatic and manual transmission. I think Ford fixed the problems, but I told Robb I can’t find anyone who’s had the car for high mileage to report about the transmission. I’d like to get the manual but still feel nervous, though I’m less anxious than I was. I also told him the shift smoothness was neither good nor bad, and I was spoiled by the butter shift in my 442.

Serious guys who drag Mustangs always use automatics. My further research seems to show that under hard attacks, the auto may shift just as fast as the manual would let me shift. Reviewers tend to say you can’t really hurry the manual.

All this brings me back to the automatic, and I decided IF it was really important, I’d reprogram the auto tranny. Not likely I’ll ever do that.

Robb and I also discussed how I’d use the car, and we both agreed that there are situations where an automatic might be the better choice all around, especially as he said most of his customers have it as a second or third car and don’t even drive it in the winter!

From other research:
For snow tires it didn’t take too long in the past to narrow it down to Bridgestone Blizzaks or Goodyear Ultra Grip. I looked hard at all the other popular true snow tires. A set of Blizzaks are almost exactly $200 more than the Ultra’s. I decided for sure last night I’m doing the Ultra’s. I read a lot of pro and user reviews. I decided that the Ultra is at least the equal overall compared to the Blizzak. The Ultra will be better in rain and slush, and the Blizzak might be better in snow deeper than 4 inches. But only barely. The Ultra will be quieter. The tread pattern doesn’t LOOK as impressive at first glance compared to the Blizzak, but the science is there. Fortunately I found people who’ve used both tires, too.

I found out that real snow tires use compounds that are designed to stay pliable under very cold temps, and all season can’t be designed that way. All season compounds get too hard at temps even as high as freezing. Below zero degrees they’re as useful as hockey puck rubber, literally.

I’m still sitting here amazed at what I’m gonna be paying for winter rims and tires. If I had some older bucket, a set of plain steel rims and tires would be $650-$750. I have no choice with this big boy toy, gotta do things right. People with this car (or almost any other rear drive car) talked about how scary all seasons were to drive (forget about useless summer performance tires). Then they talked about how the Blizzaks and Ultra’s were practically miraculous in comparison.

I told Robb it appeared to be impossible to set up a Mustang with studded tires. By the end of our discussion it became apparent that studs are really only good for special situations with certain cars, and that in the case of me driving the Mustang in NH, studs would actually be detrimental to the performance in most bad snow conditions. He’s had a lot of experience driving all kinds of cars with all kinds of rubber in different weather. Not surprising in his line of work. He pointed out that his large, heavy Gran Marquis has studs because it makes sense for that car, but not his other car for his wife. And not for me and how I’ll use this car, even in the winter. The studs would actually reduce contact area for the “good” part of the high tech rubber to meet the snow or slush, and are also obnoxious the 99.9999% of the time you’re not on true glare ice. And the high tech rubber does well on even crazy ice in some cases.

I found out it won’t be a problem to get a size one size smaller for width, about a half inch less than the standard tread width. This will get me better traction in bad conditions.

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