I had forgotten how much fun driving was until the day I drove my daughters Mazda 3 manual transmission home from the dealer (she wanted a stick, but didn't know how to drive it at the time.) I figured she wanted an economical hatchback and who was I to turn down what at the time sounded like a sound decision. I should have paid more attention to the numbers along the side of her car, 2.3L. I remember thinking 'Wow! This car has some get up and go'.
My daughters Mazda 3. The car that started an obsession
At the time, driving for me, meant sitting behind the wheel of my 2007 F-150 with the cruise control set to one mile below the speed limit, listening to an audio book on the radio. Or riding my bicycle miles and miles between work and the train station. I was content, had money in my pocket! Everything was grand, or so I thought..
I found myself wanting to drive my daughters car more and more. Making excuses about gas mileage, oil changes, tire rotations, etc. I realized when my daughter had enough, when I found my key ring lighter with one less FOB. -- Okay, message received.
So, I started researching Mazdaspeed 3's. Unfortunately for me, they stopped making the high speed version of my daughters car. However, while researching the MS3, I found more and more references to a new 'hot hatch' on the market by Ford. The Focus ST.
It didn't take long to find one at a local car dealer. I recall tactic the salesman took and admired him for it. No high pressure sales, no tricks. He just handed me the keys, pointed me in the direction of a windy road and told me to go all out. I remember as the car bit into the turns the elation I felt, the feeling of raw power, and course the torque steer!! Feeling a bit nervous, I hazarded a glance over to the salesman, who only encouraged me to drive harder, go faster! 'See what the little car could do.' He said. After the test drive, he made a few comments, told me to call him if I was interested, etc. then walked away. He knew he had me. The grin on my face said it all.
Unfortunately for him, the car wasn't the color I wanted. Looking back to my teen years, I recalled a friend of mine who had an all black Mustang. I always liked his black car. Beautiful when washed. I decided I wouldn't settle this time like I did with my 'white' F-150. This wasn't about being practical after all...
2013 Ford Focus ST
I kept watching several car buying websites, called a bunch of places, the search continued for about 1 month until this black beauty showed up on craigslist for around 21K. Used with only 15k, I jumped out of my office chair, and bolted for the door. 4 hours later, I was the proud owner of a 'very' stock 2013 Focus Focus ST!
I had the car now what! Okay, so the car seemed fast to me. I could fit everything I wanted in its spacious cargo area. Dad would have really loved racing a car like this.. -- Wait, what was that?
Growing up, I remember my father always watching racing, his favorite sport. He was always into racing, he'd drag me to any local event to watch, such as the Eloy Grand Prix in Arizona. Or, later on, we would go to the 4th of July Sovern races at the Seattle International Raceway (now known as Pacific Raceways.) Racing was in his blood, just not something he could afford to do. Now, here's a hatchback suitable for daily driving, but sporty enough for the track, all for under 30k!
Alas, it's the end of October, and the local Autocross clubs have finished their season. I have this fun car, but what to do, what to do.. -- Oh., Whats this? Whats a 'Track Day..?'