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MAA Stories: The Ride of My Life....A Diary of the MAA 40th Anniversary Drive 2004

By Richard Liverani

Prologue

This story is about my experiences during the Mustangs Across America cruise to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the 40th anniversary of the Mustang.

Let me start with an introduction. My name is Richard Liverani. My nickname is Big Daddy. I am 45 years old and work at a maximum security prison in Nevada. I have been in corrections for over 20 years. My wife's name is Elin. Her nick name is Jo. (You will read about how she got that nickname later). Jo was involved in a car accident 10 years ago which has left her disabled and she can no longer work. She did however work in corrections for over 5 years in Texas before her accident.

In the Beginning

In the beginning there was only darkness... Then Henry Ford said... Let there be cars and so it came to pass that cars were built. Henry saw the cars and said... this is good. Man shall have reign over these cars I have brought forward We shall call these cars transportation. Years later Lee Iacocca said... Transportation is dull, let there be sports cars and behold it also came to pass that there were sports cars. Lee saw these sports cars and said...This is good. Lee proclaimed we shall call these sports cars the Mustang. The Mustang will rule over the restless spirit of man who longs for speed and power and beauty and so it came to pass that man became slaves to the Mustang. Worshiping the car and restoring it to pristine condition or paying homage to the speed god and putting in larger and larger engines with more horsepower. When man saw what they had done they said...This is good. The rest, as they say, is history.

I guess I owe my mother a debt of gratitude for starting me on the path to my love affair with the great American classic muscle car... the Mustang. My mother purchased a Medium Lime Gold 1967 GTA with a 390 4V for $995.00 to use as a family car. Back then Mustangs were a dime a dozen. Looking back I can't understand why she picked that car. A small fastback for 4 people makes no sense to me but when you are an impressionable 15 year old all you know is the car was beautiful. It looked fast just sitting still. I couldn't wait to get in and drive it. I learned all I could about how the car worked and what made it tick. It first became my brother's car and he used it to drive back and forth to work until he went into the Army. I inherited the car in my senior year in high school. I still remember the first time I got to drive the car. Everyone was leaving the school and getting on the busses when I came around the corner. I felt like I was driving the absolute coolest car in the world. As I was pulling out of the driveway I put my foot to the floor and I could have spun the tires until they went flat. I let off after what I felt was a decent enough spin out. (One that wouldn't get me kicked out of school) After that I was hooked! It felt so good driving that car. I couldn't imagine having any other car. I had the car for about a year until I too went into the Army. The last time I remember seeing the car was in 1977 and it was stripped of its interior and the motor was sitting under a tree with a metal tub on top. I was heart broken but at that time I was not thinking about cars. I had my mind on my girlfriend (and soon to be wife). I never saw the car again but I thought about it often.

Fast forward to March 2003 (quite a jump, huh?)I am driving home from work and I pass by the only used car lot in town and I spy a "Pastel Blue" 1970 Mustang sitting at the end of a row of cars. Unfortunately, the lot was closed and there was no one to talk to. The price tag, on the windshield, showed $2,995.00. I looked over the car and decided I would return the next day. When I went back the next day the lot was open but there was no salesman present so I went home to leave a message. When I called, as if by magic, there was a salesman there. We talked about the car a bit and the salesman told me the car needed a carburetor and he would be willing to knock off $300.00 because of it. I returned to the lot and continued to look around the car. I spied a young kid and his mother looking the car over also. The boy was commenting to his mother that it would be a cool car. In my mind all I could see was some kid turning a classic Mustang into a punked out trick car and ruining it. I made up my mind then and there I was buying the car so I put down a $500.00 deposit and told the salesman I would get the balance on Monday. The rest is history.

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