Mod­ern Tech­nol­ogy vs. Screw­drivers

Mustang Monthly - - HOOF BEATS -

IWILL AD­MIT THAT I’M A BIT OF A CAVE­MAN IN SOME RE­GARDS, AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO CLAS­SIC MUS­TANGS AND OTHER MUS­CLE CARS AND TRUCKS. I pre­fer me­chan­i­cal bits to elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled things when­ever possible ( just ask Mark Houla­han!), and I hate it when a car’s com­puter cre­ates a nanny state of pro­tec­tion, turn­ing the car from a fast and fun hunk of steel to a bub­ble-wrapped co­coon.

Such as with any new car. I’m con­stantly ir­ri­tated by that auto-lock fea­ture—put the car in gear and all the doors lock. In my ex­pe­ri­ence the worst of­fend­ers (like my daily beater) won’t un­lock the doors even af­ter you put it in park—you have to shut the whole thing off. Sure the power lock switch un­locks them, but I’m con­stantly grab­bing the door han­dle with­out think­ing of that fea­ture and be­ing stopped by a locked door. That’s when the swear­ing be­gins. It’s a real pain in the butt when you’re work­ing on the car and have to get in and out while it’s run­ning, which as car guys and girls we do all the time. I can lock and un­lock my own doors thanky­ou­very­much!

When I turn the head­lights off, I want them to turn OFF dammit, not wait two min­utes to help safely il­lu­mi­nate the path to the front door be­fore they go out. I’m al­ways skep­ti­cal of that, forc­ing my OCD-ness to stand at the door and wait un­til they do.

I won’t even be­gin to dis­cuss seat­belt and ig­ni­tion key warn­ing chimes. I get why they’re there—to save stupid peo­ple from them­selves—but I sure as all get-out would never in­stall that in an older car. If you’re too un­aware to wear your seat­belt or lock your keys in the car, then maybe you should re­think the whole au­to­mo­bile-op­er­at­ing thing.

Power win­dows are a toss-up to me. The con­ve­nience of rolling all the win­dows up and down with the push of a but­ton is nice, and I ad­mit to se­ri­ously lik­ing that auto-down fea­ture in new cars that rolls them down (and some­times up) with a single push of the but­ton. That’s pretty cool. But it’s more weight and com­pli­ca­tion when we’re talk­ing older cars and more stuff that could break. And that fea­ture in new cars where, in the name of re­duc­ing wind noise, the win­dows roll down just a hair when you open the door, then they tick back up when you close the door and fully seal into the weath­er­strip—when­ever I see that I un­der­stand why it’s there, but also think to my­self, “That is to­tally go­ing to fail be­fore this thing is five years old.”

I’m fine with lean­ing over to roll them down by hand, and if the me­chan­i­cal mech­a­nism stops work­ing, it’s pretty easy to di­ag­nose and fix. Cheaper in most cases too. That’s not say­ing I don’t like power win­dows—the Elec­tric Life kit we put in our Week to Wicked ’66 hard­top is great and su­per handy, es­pe­cially with the high bol­sters of the Scat ProCar seats, but in my per­sonal Mus­tangs and hot rods I’ll stick with the old-fash­ioned me­chan­i­cal mech­a­nisms thank you.

While I’m get­ting bet­ter at em­brac­ing elec­tron­ics, es­pe­cially when it comes to fuel in­jec­tion, it still cre­ates anxiety in­stalling some­thing com­puter-con­trolled in place of a good ol’ Hol­ley car­bu­re­tor that I can tune with a screw­driver and fix a stuck nee­dle-and-seat with a quick whack from that screw­driver’s han­dle. You can’t beat the mileage, cold start, and driv­abil­ity with EFI, and I would never re­place fac­tory EFI with a carb, but for sim­plic­ity and cost sake, gimme that 750-cfm cal­i­brated fuel-leaker any day.

Again, that’s just me and my prim­i­tive way of think­ing when it comes to MY old cars. Now if I had a wife and kids, I would want all of that safety stuff built into what­ever ve­hi­cle they were in on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with­out me. But that wouldn’t be my early Mus­tang, it would be the Fam­ily Truck­ster.

I re­cently got to spend a week with a 2018 Mus­tang GT with the 10-speed au­to­matic, di­rect-in­jected 5.0 Coy­ote, and all the elec­tronic bells and whis­tles I just railed against ear­lier, and I love that car to death. Faster than hell too. But that’s a brand-new $40,000-plus ma­chine, and I couldn’t bring my­self to make big monthly pay­ments for a car that didn’t have all the com­fort and con­ve­nience equip­ment. I might even pop for the op­tional nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, which is a big step for me!

But with a 1965 Mus­tang? Nah, re­move as much un­nec­es­sary wiring and junk as possible (al­though a killer stereo is manda­tory!) and give me con­trol over as much as possible and I’m good. And when I push the head­light switch in, the lights turn off. I can walk away with the peace of mind that I won’t come out to a dead bat­tery in the morn­ing.

I pre­fer me­chan­i­cal bits to elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled things when­ever possible ( just ask Mark Houla­han!), and I hate it when a car’s com­puter cre­ates a nanny state of pro­tec­tion, turn­ing the car from a fast and fun hunk of steel to a bub­ble-wrapped co­coon.”

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