Hey Ford: The door’s still open to my heart
April 21st, 2009
A headline in the April 8 edition of the Wall Street Journal read:¬† “Ford Takes Online Gamble With New Fiesta.”
The story is about a Ford initiative to loan 100 young people a Fiesta, then allow them to post YouTube videos, tweets and other social media messages about their experiences.¬† Ford allegedly has no control over the postings.¬† It’s a bold experiment, but a good one given one big “if”: If Ford is confident enough in the coolness and quality of the car.
I’m pulling for Ford in a big way, just like I still pull for my ex-hometown Orioles.¬† Like me and the O’s, Ford and I have had our ups and downs.¬† Well, mostly downs.
The first car I owned was a used 1965 Mustang, a classic.¬† Rode like a charm.¬† But in about the third year of ownership, the floor behind the driver’s seat fell away, leaving just the carpet between a backseat passenger and the pavement.¬† Friends suggested removing the carpet and powering the car by foot, ala a Flintstones car.¬† Then, the passenger-side window refused to close all the way during the coldest winter in years.¬† I’m convinced that this contributed to my months-long celibacy¬†that winter.
Lap of luxury
After the Mustang, I had a grand experiment with a slightly used, huge Ford LTD.¬† I was in the lap of luxury, riding on pillows with a front seat that stretched door to door.¬† The car was stolen once when I was attending a new-wave show at The Marble Bar in The Congress Hotel in downtown Baltimore, but fortunately recovered in New Media, Pennsylvania.¬†¬†I’m sure the thieves enjoyed the luxurious ride, and the LTD had a killer sound system. The good times ended¬†when the gas crisis of the early 80s hit and I traded in my limo for a Ford Pinto.
The tar-pit Pinto
Yes, you know the Pinto by reputation; the one that burst into flames if hit from behind.¬† The one with the bone-jarring suspension.¬† My Pinto had a rarely documented problem: on hot days it would leak tar from a seam in the doors, as if a spore from the La Brea Tar Pit was embedded during assembly.
When will he ever learn?
Seemingly without capacity to learn from my mistakes, my first brand-new car was a Ford, a 1985 Mustang.¬† They made ‘em like they used to.¬† Among the problems: a back end that became disengaged from the front of the car, leaving me a mile away from home at 2:30 a.m. in front of a laundromat where a murder occurred the previous week; massive transmission malfunctions; cruise control getting stuck (and fortunately unstuck) seconds before exiting a freeway; a twisted fuel line that delayed our arrival in our new home in North Carolina; and a broken front bucket seat.
Carrying the torch
I drive a Volkswagen now, but I still follow Ford.¬† I wallowed in shame as they staked their claim on huge trucks and SUVs.¬† But lately,¬†I’ve¬†been cheered by a small hybrid SUV, good reliability ratings, and the promise of the little Fiesta (despite the fact that it’s¬†forefather was as wretched as the Pinto).¬†
Call me a fool, but if Ford calls, I might just open the door to my heart and come runnin’ back.