A FEW ADDITIONAL MUSTANG THOUGHTS

Gas mileage right now on extended flat road with auto transmission, mostly with cruise control:

74 mph: 24.35 mpg
65 mph: 27.1 mpg
40 mph: 31.1 mpg

Manufacturer rating for highway is 25 mpg, so I’m happy with those numbers.

This car idles remarkably low at about 700 rpm, will run in 6th or any gear at 1050 rpm. Keep in mind it redlines at 7000.

Transmission is rumored to be good for 800 pounds of torque, though draggers seem to rebuild them if they’re gonna run more than 600.

I figure if I ever upgrade the cold air intake and add a Bama tune to get it to 468 hp, I don’t have to worry about the transmission, as I don’t beat it all the time. Personally, I wouldn’t run the tranny more than 500 pounds. I doubt I’d ever be more than about 430 pounds at 468 hp.

I’d love to get a kit to lower the car 1.5″, but here in New England (New Hampshire) that’s maybe a bad idea, even though I don’t run it in the salt on frost heaves.

I commented previously about my gripe about only having bass and treble controls for the sound system. But if I didn’t say it before, it will crank louder than I can stand it without distorting or running out of power or flattening the speakers. First system ever I’ve had from a factory that will do that.

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MY MUSTANG’S SOUND SYSTEM

I’ve not said a lot about the Shaker sound system. I did not get the option that adds a subwoofer and another amp, not worth $1300 to me.

The system has good enough bass for me, and the treble is clear. It’s as loud as I’d ever want it even at highway speeds, and it remains clear and unstrained.

What’s my peeve?

As with many cars, the 2005 Buick LeSabre I drive in the winter has Bass, Mid and Treble controls. The Mustang has only Bass and Treble! What’s up with that?!

Adding frequency bands is just adding some more algorithms, not a big deal! What could it possibly cost? Not much at all.

If they thought having more control would be “too confusing” for “average users”, they could’ve left it that way and then added a submenu or option to have a 5 or 9 band EQ. Not hard. Look at what Windows Media Player has for EQ options, TEN BANDS!

For a car, just optimize the frequency choices to allow for road noise. Bundle a bunch of frequencies close together for that spectrum, and you’d have plenty left over to refine upper mids, bass and treble.

At highway speeds, I want to adjust EQ to boost the frequencies that get masked by road and wind noise, that’s all. Not too much to ask.

If they think users are going to overboost, like some idiots do with turning up bass and treble all the way, to save the amp and speakers just add peak limiters as part of those algorithms. Nowadays, very easy and cheap.

They go to all the trouble of installing 8 speakers and 8 amps, which is the expensive part, but don’t do more than bass and treble for EQ. That’s screwy. I suspect even if I had ordered the extra sub and amp for $1300, I bet it still is just bass and treble. I’m sure if it was more than two bands, they’d mention that in the options literature.

When you have a lot of road noise, what you hear is mostly bass and treble. Cutting those back to allow the mids through doesn’t work well, as you get a lot of upper mid frequencies that aren’t part of the road noise spectrum.

Other than this peeve, I still really love the car. Hard to beat 430 hp and I get compliments from people quite often about the overall look, including the Deep Impact Blue color, and the optional wheels I got when I ordered the car.

2015 MUSTANG COMMENTS

We know what it really looks like now. All indications are that overall, it’s a better car than mine. Lighter with an independent rear suspension, nicer interior, probably a little better aerodynamics. No one will have all the facts until they’re finally released late 2014.

But the really big news that tends to be overlooked is this:

The car is going to be sold worldwide (used to be just the States). If that means their production jumps four fold, then maybe that will create some economies so that they can sell it for $1000 less than otherwise. I dunno.

I think the car looks fine. Of course it polarized people. I think they did the best possible job maintaining the Mustang identity plus updating it for modern times. I also think it likely that it looks better in person than in vids or pics.

About the same length and wheelbase, slightly lower and wider. Will still have the same V-6 and V-8, plus will have a turbo V-6 for just the foreign markets, or maybe here, too, eventually.

I think my car is the best example of maintaining the retro look, which was pretty important to me.

Do I wish I had the 2015 instead of the 2014? No. I would like driving the 2015 better, but like the look of the 2014 better. But I still think the 2015 looks really fine. Of course I have no idea how the 2015 feels compared to the 2014. I don’t know if it’s stiffer or less comfortable, I don’t know if the seats are better or worse, etc.

I think that since the 2014 was a financial stretch for me, the 2015 would’ve been too much for me unless I got a stripped one. With all the new changes, it seems to me like the car has to be $2000-4000 more than my car.

Will I test drive the 2015? Nah. If I like it better, then it would be as if I was test driving any car I can’t afford. Might as well test drive a Rolls Royce Wraith, which is just about as fast anyway, and I’ll never own.

MUSTANG UPDATE FOR 2014

I haven’t written anything for a long time. The Mustang is still doing great. After salt season I put it on the road about 2 weeks ago. A few days back I thought I’d try the track apps and do a 0-60 run. I had a poor location and had a bad time concentrating due to looking hard for traffic showing up in my area.
The car reputedly does it in 4.5 seconds, and some feel the automatic could be the same or more like 4.7 seconds. I got in one run at 4.9 and the rest were 5.0. I think I could get it down to 4.7 but might never make 4.5. There’s that big issue of avoiding wheel slip when first taking off. I did okay, but could be better. I certainly wasn’t burning rubber, never want to do that. I think my goal is 4.6.
Expectations for the quarter mile would be about 111 mph in 13 seconds. I think 110 at 13.5 might be possible if I can ever find the time to arrange that.  I know a good spot (on a private road course, of course), and I have to make the arrangements.

JAY LENO FACTS

He does fine on 4 to 5 hours a night for sleep.

His car collection is in 3 warehouses. Each is the size of a football field. He has 4 guys working there full time.

On YouTube he has dozens and dozens of vids under “Jay Leno’s Garage”. I love them, they’re really good. His taste in cars is mine, basically.

He started out as a detail kid at a dealership when he was about 16, later became a mechanic and worked for a dealership maintaining Mercedes and Rolls Royces. He’s a true mechanic, in any case, and I suspect he knows more than the average mechanic.

When you watch his vids, it’s clear this is a guy who doesn’t need writers for his comedy. He’s just a naturally funny guy. One of my faves is when he talked about running one of his Stanley Steamers on the freeway at 70 mph. He said it’s like “driving a bar stool at 70 mph”. (!!)

As you can see on his vids, more than a few times he’s created state of the art vehicles from scratch, like a car and a motorcycle that use helicopter turbine engines.

In addition to gas, he also collects electric and steam cars from all eras. If you like cars at all, just spending time on his vids is fun and educational. He’s a guy who’s way more than just a collector.

He also works hard to promote the field for repair techs by trying to encourage kids to get that education. He writes articles for car industry repair trade magazines (I’ve seen at least two myself).

Net Worth:
$350 Million
Jay Leno’s Annual Salary (when at Tonight Show)
$15 Million Per Year
Date of Birth
April 28, 1950
Place of Birth
New Rochelle (but if I’m not mistaken, he primarily grew up in Andover Mass, or at least Mass.)

Jay Leno has a net worth of $350 million and an annual salary of $15 million (when at the Tonight Show). On top of his Tonight Show salary, Jay earns an additional $15 – $20 million per year from a hectic stand up touring schedule. Jay has stated in past interviews that 100% of the money he earns from The Tonight Show, after taxes and fees, goes directly into his bank account and he just lives off his stand up earnings.

Incredibly, Jay also confirmed that he does not have an agent or a manager to help him negotiate deals. (Sheesh, that saved him a ton of money right there, and I’m sure he was up to the task). Apart from the car collection, he’s a very frugal guy.

Leno owns approximately 886 vehicles (769 automobiles and 117 motorcycles). Also keep in mind that quite a few of his cars were bought when cheap, but are worth a lot more now. He has stated he does not sell vehicles; he keeps everything he buys, which is not true for most collectors.

Leno is dyslexic and has a prominent jaw, which has been described as mandibular prognathism. In the book Leading with My Chin he stated that he is aware of surgery that could reset his mandible, but does not wish to endure a prolonged healing period with his jaws wired shut. It appeared to me his older brother did not have that kind of jaw. (My view is that if his jaw does not give him pain, then why do anything? Everybody’s used to it anyway.)

Leno’s older brother Patrick Leno (10 years older), a Vietnam Veteran and graduate of Yale Law School, died in 2002 at the age of 62 due to complications from cancer. I think he was a lawyer but not sure.

He contributes or spends time helping charities.

By mutual agreement he and his wife Mavis (married 1980) have no kids.  Leno does not drink or smoke, nor does he gamble. He spends most of his free time visiting car collections or working in his private garage.

“It’s cheaper to have 35 cars and 1 wife than 1 car and 35 wives.” I like that quote, funny as usual.

He has a regular column in Popular Mechanics which showcases his car collection and gives advice about various automotive topics, including restoration and unique models, such as his jet-powered motorcycle and solar-powered hybrid. Leno also writes occasional “Motormouth” articles for The Sunday Times, reviewing high-end sports cars and giving his humorous take on automotive matters.

I made a point to record his last night on the Tonight Show. I think I saved his goodbye onto a DVD. It was an incredibly moving 3 minutes or so, and he had a hard time getting through it. Me, too. The focus was on “family”.

There were those various controversies regarding all the slop with what host deserved to be hosting whatever some time back when all those shows were in upheaval. My take is that Leno was not a bad guy. He might’ve made one statement early in the game that was innocent based on what he thought the network was going to do, that might’ve been premature, but was not a bad guy kinda thing by any stretch.

What is it about late night talk show hosts being on the tall side?

Leno 5’11”
Fallon 6’0″
Ferguson 6’2″
Letterman 6’2″
O’Brien 6’4″

As far as the signature at the end of my emails lately below, I just really like that, and agree.

When driving a car:

“All the fun is between 40 and 110.”

-Jay Leno

IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAR THUS FAR

I can certainly nitpick with the best of them, so I’ll get that out of the way first, then get into the raves.

The sun visors could’ve been designed a little differently such that there isn’t a small gap at the top outermost portion when they’re flipped down. It lets in a sliver of light. They did it so that when flipped over to the side window, it would conform to the curvature of the A pillar, etc. I think it could’ve been done a little better. The slit of light is about 4 inches long and maybe 3/8″ tall.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a car that didn’t have a factory wrapped real leather steering wheel. The plastic on this is meant to have a bit of give and is stitched to look like leather, but it feels like “decent” plastic. Kind of dry to the touch, especially as my hands are dry all the time anyway. I may figure out some kind of conditioner to put on it to give it a bit more grip to be a bit more like real leather. I have stuff around for both leather and plastic.

There are 3 spokes on the steering wheel. The horizontal spokes are fine, but I have a bit of an issue with the spoke aiming downward. The outer portion is metal, the part that attaches from the back is plastic. For some reason where they meet, the plastic is slightly larger than the metal. The end result is that if your fingers move or scrap forward against the plastic, it feels like a hard edge. My hands are around the horizontal spokes a lot and weren’t inclined towards the bottom anyway. But now my hands are always away from it, and it’s not a problem. Just annoying that it shows a lack of quality control or design, or something. It could’ve been better. Maybe the front and back were clamped together too tightly.

My salesman went around the car with a business card checking the fit of the gaps. Overall, not bad at all. No obvious problems that are readily visible. The gaps themselves are fine, don’t really get skinnier to wider as you go from one end to the other. However IF you have a card, the height of panels parallel to each other can be off a little bit. All over the car, maybe 20% is noticeable IF you have a card. So no complaints. I’d have complaints if I paid $120k for the car.

The dealer prep was good, nice polish and wheel prep. However I don’t know if they did a good job cleaning the inside of the windshield or not. It may have been clean initially, but a few days later driving directly into bright sun, there were some obnoxious smears. The car is so new that maybe the volatiles in the plastic contaminated the inside. So I can’t really say the dealer prep was at fault, especially since I didn’t notice anything right away. I did a clean up. A bit of it may be coming back, not sure. We HAVE had hot weather here, or enough to cook the inside of the car to make those volatiles come out fast. Still has that new car smell.

I’m still playing around with the 6 way seat position, am most of the way there now. Initially I was getting some adverse muscle tension in my right leg and foot. This was enhanced by the width of the center console, and the gas pedal being a little further to the left than what I’m used to in the Buick. The Buick also has no center console; all the room in the world for the leg. However I like having the console to brace with when flying through twisties.

I got rid of the muscle tension after playing around with the seat. The lumbar support is where I like it now, at about 80% inflated. The hood is high so if sitting low and going up and down big whoopdy doo’s, you can’t see the road for a moment. I have it a bit higher now. I like to sit with the seat cushion really angled back, the seat back tilted back a bit as well. So the back of the cushion is as low as it goes. But I have it a little bit higher now.

The steering wheel has tilt but no telescope. If I think about it, I always wish it was an inch closer to me. But when I’m driving, I don’t think of it at all.

The trunk space is quite good, especially if you flip down the rear seats. The cloth liner for the trunk area is a little on the cheap side as it’s a bit thin, but lays down okay enough. I don’t see it as a problem unless I was to be putting all kinds of heavy awkward stuff in there all the time. But a rigid, grippy trunk liner tray is available if needed.

The spare tire is an actual small spare that’s always inflated, easy to get at with the jack as well. No fix-a-flat can of spray like on some cars.
As reviewers say, plenty of hard plastic on the sides of the doors. The rest is soft touch plastic. The console/armrest is barely adequate for the elbow, but again, not really noticing it while driving. I already looked on Amazon and there remedies if I think I actually need them.

Overall, Ford gets good marks for saving money in some places and spending money in the places that really count, like the performance of the car. I think getting the armrest a little more plush and redesigning the sun visors could’ve only added $60 or$100 to the cost of the car, maybe only $40. But what do I know? It’s obvious that the Camaro and Mustang are really competing closely for price.

NOW FOR THE GOOD POINTS:

As reviewers have said, the more you drive it the more you like it: true. The 3 way settings for steering feel I think are done just right. I’ve taken on twisty roads that are smooth and not so smooth and the car sticks really well. I’m not sure how much the stability control comes into play, but I’ve yet to have any tire squeal. A few times a tiny bit of singing. But surprisingly good grip. The sticky summer tires must be really amazing. I have yet to care that the rear doesn’t have an independent suspension.

I’m still breaking it in and have about 510 miles on it. I don’t really go over 4000 rpm’s, and when I do, it’s briefly. I have yet to really lay into the pedal. So far I like the throttle response. You can be gentle and get the car to move gently when you need that, which is just as important as being able to jump quick. I’ll feel ready to go to any rpm’s fairly close to the 7000 rpm redline by the time I get to 2000 miles. I’ve done a good job keeping the car from constant rpm’s for any length of time on a highway. My salesman said to vary speed by plus or minus 4 mph.

I’ve been on swoopy, twisty, up and down roads. It doesn’t really care or complain.

I like the auto transmission. Drive position keeps things as economical as possible with its logic, but you can still belt with it when you get on it. Sport position waits longer to upshift and downshift. The shifts themselves may be a tad crisper, but I can’t verify that at this time, need more time to evaluate that. While in Sport, you can tap the up and down toggle to shift manually. As long as you plan for a bit of delay, I don’t really mind using it. I’m thinking there are times where I might want to override the shift logic and put it in manual for extra economy when applicable.

The engine will certainly allow that. The shift logic allows rpm’s as low as about 1100 rpm’s, and the engine doesn’t lug, it doesn’t really care. The car really does pull great in any gear. And the power band really is as even as you could possibly expect. I can’t imagine too many cars at any price doing much better. From what I’ve read, many cars that are much more expensive aren’t as even as this one. Ford did a great job with this engine as reviewers have said.

I can’t wait until it’s broken in!

This car has likely all the performance I could use around here. I can’t possibly imagine getting bored with this car.