Thrills Underfoot

Abundant. Big. Considerable. Hefty. Substantial. Weighty.

While researching synonyms for “lead-footed” it occurred to me that being a “lead-foot” has nothing to do with the car one drives.  No matter the ride, a “lead-foot” will push said car just a little harder than the average granny.  No offense to grannies.

I felt in no way like a granny at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Royal Oak, MI as I crawled inside the Highland Green dream.  John was my guide, managing all the wheels behind containers filled with GM icons.

WDC credential and containers


Kiernan Mustangs from above

History met memory maker as I chose my first ride.  Came to see the first gen Bullitt so why not drive the third!  “Left or right hand drive?” John asked.  I had to think for a minute.  Did I trust the skills my Dad had taught me from the shotgun seat as a child or was the sheer power enough for me.  Power won out and the lefty enveloped me.

After a few tips from John, I was off.  It was Friday morning so Woodward Ave. was carrying a few locals and commuters, not the hundreds to descend upon it in a matter of hours.

lift over Woodward Ave

Pics like the one above come at a premium.  Towering above came natural as Mike, my cherry-picking operator, buckled me in. I’ve been on a few ladders and roofs so crawling up into the basket was simple.  Safety first.

The view was spectacular.  Men were mice below.  Three stories up I gobbled some perspective and the Mustangs below.

aerial GTs

Driving permission via my Ford wristband and my chariot awaits…get off that lift and get going Jules!

Ford driver wristband

Bullitt interior

Having driven multiple Mustangs in the past from my own 2001 (same year as the 2nd generation Bullitt) and most recently my friend’s 2015, I started the comparison immediately.

I didn’t just sit in this car, I crawled into a pocket of pleasure.  Seat bolsters gently cradled me in the cockpit-like atmosphere.  Digital dashboard features were clear and concise.  First impression…awesome.  What is to come?  Do I dare start it?

Ohhhh…that exhaust note.  I won’t be putting on the noise damper feature anytime soon, the neighbors will forgive me.  Even the parking brake has an ergonomic feel as I release it so my adventure can begin.

Getting friendly with the cue ball shift knob, the purr of the engine intrigues me as I exit the parking lot and make my way to Woodward.  It’s not closed yet so as I creep I notice the ease of the clutch off the line.  Sure is nothing like my first car’s clutch combo on the National St. hill.

A controlled acceleration to start,  pushing through RPMs bring bliss.  Windows down and radio off so I can hear the symphony.  It doesn’t disappoint.

Sitting near the river just a few days later I asked a friend what her favorite sounds were as the Bullitt’s throaty exhaust note made the top of my list.  The only close competitors were the ocean, soulful trains and birds at dawn.

Jules in 1966 Mustang

Wanting to see how far Ford has come, I chose the 1966 Mustang next.  An automatic, I was able to notice more of the classic details rather than being overcome by stance.  Lines and a spacious interior were quick favorites.  I can understand why many of these were family cars in their day.  Plenty of space for five, maybe six if there were kids…no car seats back then.

1966 Mustang interior

1966 Mustang front

John was happy I chose to drive the 66′.  See his wave above…

Power steering and braking absent, my moist palms made for an interesting grip on the acrylic steering wheel.  Using some muscle to power through the turns and testing the new braking distance needed to stop made for a lesson I loved.  She responded when I asked her and was an equally thrilling drive for very different reasons.   I think this car got more looks than the Bullitt as the LeMay Car Museum emblem mingled with Hagerty.

1966 Mustang LeMay emblem

A cool Michigan breeze made my drive complete as I motored up and down Woodward.  This Mustang’s chrome bumpers brought back great memories of polishing others like them with Turtle Wax and a diaper in years past.  Memories are what keep a car lover like me afloat…it was packed full of them.

“Lead footed” or not, there was something to love about each of these two machines.  One tickled the fancy and the other washed a wave of memories, both heavy with appreciation that Ford still values the Mustang and chose to keep it for future generations.

One thing for sure, there is an abundance of big-time thrills and a substantial reason why Mustang memories are weighty on the hearts of those that know and love them.

More to come…






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