At Portland’s Cars & Coffee, the Ford Mustang still means America Page 4

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Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Icon with hand-built heart

Derek Vlcko grew up in a Ford family. His mother’s first car was a 6-cylinder 1964 1/2 Mustang notchback. His grandfather worked at Ford for more than 40 years.

Derek and his father went to the Detroit auto show every year together.

“Speed was pretty much tattooed in my brain,” he said. He remembered blasting down the freeway to a Tigers game in his dad’s 1989 Porsche 911 Targa.

READ NEXT: What does the Ford Mustang mean to America?

While his dad had a long run of Porsches, it’s always been the rumble of American muscle that’s drawn Vlcko.

A week after the 2011 Mustang GT was announced, Vlcko put his modified stage-2 Subaru WRX up for sale. It sold before he even placed his order in for the 2011 Mustang GT.

But it wasn’t the Mustang GT he wanted, it was the then-new 2011 Shelby GT500. He couldn’t stop looking at it, at least until he saw the window sticker and its markup.

After a few years with the Mustang GT he finally traded into a used 2011 Shelby GT500.

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Derek Vlcko's 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The Shelby’s hand-built engine appealed to Vlcko, that and the Tremec transmission.

Mustangs are as much a part of American culture as Levis and Coca-Cola, he thinks. It’s about being an American.

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Danielle Thatcher's 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Good-looking pony

Danielle Thatcher and her husband Aaron learned their Mustang lessons from their parents. Danielle’s family built and raced cars down the drag strip while Aaron’s father had a passion for muscle cars. Both grew up with Fords.

Danielle bought Aaron their current 2016 Mustang GT, and it’s now his daily driver.

Their Mustang story started with a 2012 GT Premium, which was traded for a 2016 GT Premium for its independent rear suspension that replaced the solid rear axle in the current Mustang generation.

To Danielle, the 2016 just looks better than their 2012 Mustang. The toggle switches inside the 2016 model are cool and functional as they change vehicle dynamics that range from steering weight to traction control limits.

Mustang ownership is a must for everyone because they are fun, Danielle says. She doubts the Mustang ever will go away.

“It’ll keep going just like it has,” she says.

For two months, Motor Authority crisscrossed the U.S. in an automotive icon seeking stories about the Ford Mustang's place in American history. These are our stories from the road about its owners, its history, and its status as an evolving symbol of our relationship with cars in America.



 
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