STILL THINKING ABOUT TRANSMISSIONS

I’d said I’d committed to the automatic transmission. I’m also slightly nagged by reviewers saying it made the response muted, which is really a very relative thing. It didn’t feel all that muted to me.  I think what they’re really talking about is if you’re cruising and then stomp on it, the leap forward is slightly muted. I’d say barely. Near the end of this post I have a way around that if desired.

I’ve been watching a lot of 0-60 or 0-100 or quarter mile vids comparing the manual and auto. It still seems to me that the auto shifts just as quick as the best shifting guys, and definitely better than the average shifting guy. The final drive ratio and all the transmission gears are quite different than the manual. So it seems like each car pulls faintly better than the other within certain speed ranges, with it all being a wash by the time you get to 100 mph. I’d say the manual is a little better off the line in 1st but the auto does better in 2nd. But the car will still burn a strip of rubber with the automatic in 1st, so being slightly taller there might be a good thing anyway.

There’s also the issue of the console sitting a bit high for easy shifting of the manual. A non-issue with the automatic.

If I didn’t mention it previously, the auto this year has a manual overide. You put the auto in D and it has a “normal” behavior. Sport mode has earlier and more aggressive shifts, works pretty well. While in Sport mode you can also use a little button on the side for manually shifting up and down. No critic likes that button and they all want paddle shifters, but that’s hardly realistic considering Ford is smart to keep the price down. I don’t personally see that as being a problem for the way I’ll use the car. It just adds a bit of flexibility.

Plus I also have the option (mentioned previously) of switching the chip after the warranty is up. It can be mild or wild. Even mild, the auto would shift faster than the world’s best driver with the manual and grab more firmly. The chip can simultaneously control the engine and transmission for mild or aggressive (within a reasonable range without blowing up something).

I’m still going to go with the automatic.

CLOSE TO BUYING, PROGRESS REPORT

When I went in to check the Shelby Recaro seats, I was told by salesman Scott that my regular salesman Rob had a new job as a Delivery Specialist. The guy had a reputation for knowing everything about all the models (Ford and Mazda) and everyone was going to him for answers anyway. That was one of the reasons I liked him as a salesman.

So now he doesn’t do sales. While I was waiting for Scott to get the Shelby keys, Rob came through the door and by Scott’s desk. I talked to him and it’s clear he likes his new gig. I told him my concerns about him getting a square deal since he spent so much time with me before. He said he was cool with all that and only cared I stayed with Grappone to do my deal. He also said he was trying to get more info from Ford about their plans for the current model year and they’re wishy washy, but I should be okay for ordering early or mid June. Scott later told me he has another customer doing the same thing as me who will be also ordering around the same time.

My bank will probably be able to do a loan between 2 and 4% depending on my credit rating. If I switch to a credit union I may be able to do 1.5% better. I’ll have to figure later how much money that represents. My credit rating is pretty good right now, though I’ve had it 15 points higher a few years ago where almost all 3 agencies had me over 800. Experian and all those others are goofy, though. I just had two go up 10 points and one went down 2 points! First time I’ve ever seen that.

I’ve figured out that I COULD keep the Buick for winter driving after factoring in losing part of a down payment and paying extra for insurance. It’s just a matter of whether it would leave me with enough financial headroom. I’ll wait on that decision until June when I see what I’ll really have for a loan interest rate and what I’ll have saved up. Trading in the Buick would save me about $85 a month over 72 months, not counting at least $45 a month extra for storage insurance and $85 extra for the fact that the Mustang driving insurance will be double the Buick’s. In other words, trading in the Buick would be as if I wasn’t paying any extra for insurance compared to now (at least for 72 months), and I’d never have to pay for storage insurance for the coverage that was off season and off road. But I’d have to get a $400 cover as part of the options and also spend $1700 for snow tires and rims. All that would work out to $30 a month.

The most likely thing now is that I try to keep the Buick and if it doesn’t work out, sell it privately in a year or three years. I’d really like to keep the Mustang salt free in spite of putting special chemicals on the bottom.

Registration the first year will be $700, insurance about $170 a month. Off season insurance $45 a month for any second car kept. I figure my salt season will be November 20 to April 10, give or take a few weeks.

MUSTANG RECARO SEATS, PASS OR FAIL?

I was on the lookout as it’s very rare to have Recaro’s at Grappone. Kept seeing how people said they were not only supportive but comfortable. My test drives were the regular cloth 4 way manual seats. Today I sat in the leather 6 way heated power seats, then the Recaro as they got a Shelby in yesterday.

6 way were nicer than the 4 way manual cloth. Acceptable comfort, won’t be a problem. Good support. Up, down, forward, back, bottom tilt, inflatable lumbar. Lumbar not as radical as my Buick, but felt good to me at full inflation.

The Recaro was even more supportive, side bolster more obvious, seat bottom sides a tad more. Wouldn’t be good for a fatty. Padding was comfortable to about the same extent as the 6 way, but in a slightly different way. Foam was slightly different density. I can’t say the one foam was better than the other. If anything, maybe the 6 way foam was a tad nicer. I told the salesman I have a bony ass and the bottom padding is important.

So the padding was a wash, both good.

As I already knew, the Recaro’s are manual 4 way. The seat bottom tilt is not adjustable, but the angle was okay. You raise the seat straight up or down by pumping one handle up or down. Of course another lever for forward and backward. They don’t have heat like can be had on the 6 way.

So at this point, the extra $1600 to lose heat and extra adjustment weren’t worth it to me personally unless I was going to be flogging it on back roads 90% of the time.

Now, even if I was going to flog it on back roads all the time, I still wouldn’t get it. Why? I didn’t like the head rest which is built into the seat as one entire structure. Good for racing but it keeps my head just a little too forward.

The tilt of the seat back is crucial in a Mustang as the steering wheel has tilt but no telescope, and they have the steering wheel about an inch too far forward. Therefore I can’t have the seat tilted back as much as I’ve had in some other cars, though I can be perfectly comfortable with the tilt. With the seat tilted about right, that headrest was bothering me. So I’m gonna save $1600 and have more adjustable seats with heat. I still hope to keep the Buick but I may wind up driving it in the winter, who knows.

STILL SHOTS FROM ALCATRAZ TV SHOW

Yep, the obsession is coming on full bore……………..I’m really powerless against it now. Might as well go with the flow.

I grabbed these screen shots from the Alcatraz TV show. Possibly these could represent me on my way home from work.   Of course all the shots show the car getting air or making smoke……..

TURNING TIME INTO CASH

I got approval for 60 hours for converting earned time into cash for July 2013 and 60 for December 2013. Good chunk of change. I might even make the July one work towards a down payment on the Mustang if I can go that late.

NICER SOUNDING MUFFLERS

I told my brother I was considering having nicer sounding mufflers on the car.

He wrote:
Have you checked into the different Flowmaster mufflers? They make different series depending on what type of sound you want.

At this point I’ve spent an incredible amount of time listening to a lot of brands.

Apart from the Bassani a lot of these tend to be snarly and loud, not really what I’m looking for. Plus I’d have to pay out of pocket for anything other than Ford Racing, as I’m pretty sure I can get that from Grappone and make it part of the loan. That way it’d be only $6 a month. I do like the sound of the Shelby equivalent mufflers.

I don’t like the popping, nasal sound. A lot of people like a raw sound like a drag car, I like a full sound like a larger block. The stock mufflers are kind of thin in a way, especially during acceleration. Smooth, but thin. The Shelby’s are smooth and robust.

The reason a lot of modern cars tend towards raspiness is that the muffler is at the rear of the car instead of being in the middle of the car with a long pipe after it.

I’d mentioned possibly buying a beat up Subaru for $2000 for the winter in place of snow tires and wheels.

He said:
I was going to say, if you going to get a second car for the winter, you may as well keep the Buick. I know it means saving up more but at least you know the history of the car.

If I can pull off NOT trading in the Buick, definitely.