Just to add to the frustrations and challenges I had already faced with buying a new 2012 Boss 302 Mustang, sure enough, the car was delivered to the dealership…while I was in New Zealand. I was helpless to do anything about it for weeks, except stare at the lone camera-phone photo that the dealer took.
Damn. How could I be so far away? Still, the car existed, in Kona Blue, and the dealer was sticking to his story that he would sell it to me. Everything was falling into place, but I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even though I couldn’t think of anything else that could go wrong, I didn’t release the deposit I had on the second Boss. Not yet.
Finally, on Saturday, June 25, Mrs. Pribble and I made the 230 mi. trip to McKinney, Texas to pick-up the car. That’s four hours on IH35 and another hour in Dallas, so yeah, it was miserable. But as we broke-through to the South Central Expressway and eventually saw the dealership, the excitement washed away the badness that had come before. I scanned the lot. “There it is,” I said jumping out of the truck almost before it had stopped.
This was the first time I saw my Boss. Actually, it was the first time I had seen any Boss. To me, it looked like a jewel, lying in the sand. The Kona Blue popped in the bright sunlight so much more than these photos show. It was brilliant. I knew that I had done the right thing to fight for this color.
We walked around the blue Boss, clucking and purring about how beautiful it was. And it was. It was so much better than I had even hoped. I was awestruck. My wife hugged the car. Then we went inside and there was another Boss! They still had the red one, on which I had initially and inadvertently placed my deposit. Even in the short time that we were in the dealership, the red Boss was getting a lot of attention and several people sat in the car. I made sure to snap the number plate (#722) for the registry. It occurred to me then, that I didn’t even know the number of my own car.
I set that aside for the moment and completed the transaction with the dealer. All of the work had really been done beforehand and everyone was on their game. I signed a couple of papers, made-out the biggest personal check I have ever signed in my life, and we were shaking hands and starting the car in less than 15 minutes. The only reason we were there longer was for chit-chat and taking photos. I have to credit to Butch Millican, Ron Rojas, and Bob Tomes Ford for a pleasant buying and delivery experience.
We left the dealership and set-off to see my pal, Charles Braden. As it happens, Charles and his family only live about 10 minutes from the dealership and in that short period of time that it took to drive there, I saw two people fumbling with their camera-phones, trying to snap the Boss while they were driving, and then before we got out of Dallas, I saw four other people visibly gawking at the car. One carload of people passed me and then swung their heads so violently to catch a look out the back window, that they looked like the little girl from The Exorcist.
Charles was excited of course. We crawled all over the car together, looking at all of the subtle details, and it again occurred to me that I didn’t even know the serial number of the car. Of course, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not buying the car as a collectible and besides, as others have said – if it isn’t #1, then it’s just a number. Still, for the Boss, the number is almost a name. So, we opened the hood and took a look at the punk rock girl’s dogtag:
We went inside to cool-off and Charles had kindly put some pre-recorded Boss racing on TV. We visited for about an hour and then drove home. The drive was tiring and uneventful. I was still exhausted from a week of jet-lag, so it was all I could do to keep my eyes open and not crash my car on the first day. I tried to vary my speed from time-to-time, falling behind Mrs. Pribble and then dropping down a gear to catch back up. The car pulled effortlessly and sounded great doing it.
Much has been written about the special exhaust system on the Boss. It’s a four-way (quad) exhaust, with the main flow going out two tailpipes, but there are also two side pipes that exit in front of the rear tires. These side pipes help give the Boss exhaust a unique signature sound. However, these side pipes are also corked from the factory in order to meet noise standards. Some people have claimed that the exhaust is plenty loud as-is, but I would disagree. I found the exhaust was much more quiet than I expected. Too quiet, even. Luckily, the attenuation plates used to partially block-off the side pipes are easy to remove. So, on Sunday, I did just that.
Each side pipe is secured with just one bolt and two nuts. I jacked-up the car and removed the side pipes.
Oh, look at all of the exhausts that were trying to escape out of that little tunnel. Amnesty International would not approve at all. Give those exhausts their freedom!
Removing the disks made a huge difference! The sound of the car is glorious – a loud, growling trumpet sounded from one of the four Mustangs of the Apocalypse! And yet, I can lug the car around my quiet neighborhood without any fuss. It really is a brilliant factory exhaust. I’m sure some will want to modify it, but I just don’t see the need.
Quick notes and first impressions from the logbook:
- The Recaro seats are a perfect fit for me (5′ 11″, 175 lbs.). Completely supportive and comfortable. They did not fatigue me in any way on the four hour drive home from the dealership and I expect that they will perform admirably at the track.
- The steering wheel is good, but not perfect. It’s handsome looking and the mouse fur is comfortable, but the rim needs to be thicker and the wheel needs to be just a little smaller in diameter. Also, when at 9 and 3, my palms fall directly on the spokes of the wheel, which have no grip. Looks great, doesn’t feel quite right. Radio controls are nice.
- The shifter is balky. It is an extremely tight short shifter, but it’s definitely not slick. Many owners are reporting trouble with the 1-2 shift. I’m actually getting hung-up on the lame 5-6 shift. That’s not a performance issue for me, but it is annoying. Also, the Boss does come with the skip-shift feature. I thought I would hate this, but since I do, in fact, drive like a little old man most of the time, I’m finding that it isn’t bothering me. The shift knob itself is nice, though it doesn’t fall as easily to my hand as I would like.
- The steering and clutch are light. Very light. This might be my biggest surprise of all. I was expecting a muscle car that required…you know, a little muscle. Nope. If this were an automatic, my mom could drive this car. I would prefer too light over too heavy, but I would be happy with another 10% effort on the steering and clutch. The electrically-assisted steering does have some adjustability, but I haven’t tested that yet.
- Pedals are setup nicely for heel-toe downshifting, but there is no dead pedal. Sigh. C’mon guys.
- The chime that sounds when I put the key into the ignition, sounds like my washing machine.
- The tilt-steering lever sticks out from the bottom of the steering column, so that when I am getting out of the car, as my leg swings under the steering column, my knee cap smacks right into it. Bloody painful! I suppose I could tilt the steering wheel all the way up when I get out of the car, but I have never been that guy. I like things to stay where I set them. The lever should be relocated to the side of the steering column. While they are at it, they can go ahead and add a telescoping adjustment feature, too (Hint: put that lever on the other side of the steering column).
- I don’t like the funhouse rear-view mirror. Why are all of those skinny clown cars chasing me? Help!
- Not that I had any choice in taking them, but for $500, I expected the floor mats to be made of Panda fur. They aren’t.
- No surprise, but the back seat is a lie.
I can (and will) nit-pick all day. This list is only scratching the surface. I expect to do a more detailed review after I have driven the car for awhile. But make no mistake, this is a fantastic car. I simply love it.