Once upon a time someone somewhere bought a brand-spanking-new 1969 Ford Mustang Mach One. The original colors seemed to have been black exterior, white interior.
The identity of that buyer and exactly what they did with the car may forever remain largely unknown to me. But sometime between its purchase off a dealer lot and the time I got it used, the vehicle had apparently gone through some rough times indeed.
The interior was well trashed, dirt and grime-wise. Permanently stained by I know not what.
Substantial bodywork and repainting were necessary to restore the car to acceptable running condition by the time I took possession of it, apparently due to one or more crashes of various sorts in its past.
My choice of it for my first car ever seemed pretty much a random event at the time. Now though, looking back, I'm not so sure.
That car would end up strongly motivating me to learn more about many diverse subjects, such as aerodynamics, mechanics, electronics, stealth, high performance driving, survival skills, off-roading, weapons, and much, much more.
It would also help me to become more than the average high school geek I was, prior to purchase.
I became an expert driver. A reasonably skilled mechanic. A decent systems trouble-shooter with considerable improvisational skills (that's "Macgyver" type talent, for you rabid TV fans out there). And perhaps far better at designing dirt-cheap retrofits for turning a street car into a pseudo-race car and Batmobile than I could ever have dared hope, early on.
Is run-of-the-mill better than one-of-a-kind?
In the eyes of some today (garnered from emails), I ruined a perfectly collectible car back then. By transforming it from a mere one of many, mass-produced, factory-built clones, to truly one-of-a-kind.
But I have at least two decent comebacks for that: first, I basically did much the same thing here as a fellow by the name of Carroll Shelby. Except maybe better. As I wasn't constrained by various design compromises Shelby had to make for the market. Plus, the end product was truly, undeniably unique. Something you couldn't say about any Shelby project which resulted in more than a single car.
Two, if I had NOT modified Shadow the way I did, I might well have died young. And my Mustang been wrecked beyond repair and scrapped anyway-- just as happened to virtually all the other cars of this kind. So the collectible aspect was unlikely to ever be realized, anyway (check the stats, guys).
There's no doubt in my mind I wouldn't have survived back then had my car remained its original, ordinary self.
Partly because if my car had stayed in its original condition, so too might have I.
Now-- decades later-- I've taken to writing about those days. Letting my memories of that car and our adventures together inspire whole books' worth of stories for the 21st century.
Below are some of the tales. I hope you enjoy them!
In the accounts below details like names, dates, and more have been changed for reasons which should become apparent to readers. I also include a partial list of the actual events from which these stories are drawn for those who are interested.
[Caution: The accounts below may incorporate adult language, behavior, and concerns.]
- How one struggling teenager met one wrecked Mustang from Crossroads; I truly had no idea what was in store for me that day, as I looked over the pitiful remains of one thoroughly trashed pony car, sitting in the back at a combination body shop/used car lot.
- Slip, sliding away; Destiny gave me strong hints early on that there'd be no shiny, prissy look allowed for Shadowfast: for he was to have a much tougher job to perform than his pony peers. Even taxis and out-and-out race cars would be permitted by the prevailing circumstances to look prettier than Shadow.
- One small taste of Hell recounts how easy it is to be way off in your judgment of a particular character.
- A call to arms (or, Driven up the wall) is about how one local serial killer met his unexpected end.
- The Daytona 1200; Pitting your little homemade hot rod against the best Detroit has to offer can be daunting. But entering into such contests may be the only way to ever learn certain truths. Like how big money and raw power don't always rule the day.
a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l
- Wild horses is a tale about five teenager-driven Mustangs being pitted against a forest fire to rescue trapped elderly and children, when the local pros were too busy to do the job.
- Deep in the throat of Texas describes one summer vacation from college I spent in Texas.
- Too close to the bone; I never expected one day (or more like fourteen) I'd call Shadowfast my home. But it happened. One hot summer in Texas.
- No good deed goes unpunished; Soon after I stopped living on the street and got myself a trailer, I got myself into trouble with the Texas law.
- Kissing the wall; What do you give a Texas cop who thinks he's got your ass? His own ass.
- When push came to shove; One Texas cop's vendetta reaches a scary climax, forcing me to test Shadow's capabilities in a whole new way.
- Tornado Alley; If it's not the cops piling onto you in Texas, it's the weather.
- Heartbreaker; Just as with bones, sometimes you've got to break a heart to mend it.
To see lots more of Bridget, check out Heartbreaker.
- Breaking up; When my college military instructor finally lost his marbles, somebody had to hold him off long enough so that his students could escape. Unfortunately, fate gave that appointment to me.
The true source of this page is
- Ring of fire; If there's one guy in the world who was ever happier than me to have Shadowfast come into his life, it had to be ten year old Charley Sowders.
- Over the edge; Shadowfast helped a few people live longer lives. But he may have shortened the lives of quite a few more. This (and the previous episode) represent some major spikes in the number of casualties to be found in Shadow's wake.
- Daytona 2.0: Between a Ferrari and a hard place; Most of my pure street racing with Shadowfast took place in our early days. This was to be the final run of that kind, ever (I sure am glad I had my nitrous by this point!).
- What goes around...; There were maybe more bad guys involved here than during any other time in my adventures with Shadow; definitely more gunplay. But amazingly enough, maybe fewer actual casualties!
- Nowhere to go but up; Doing your job to the best of your ability may not always be the right thing to do. But there's often no way to know that until it's too late. In my case, I wouldn't know how far wrong I went until maybe 30 years later.
- Notes from the actual owner/driver of the Shadowfast super car; These stories and others on-site were inspired by actual events. To save myself some work in email Q & A, here's a list of some of those true life events, and a bit more about them than can be found in the tales themselves.
Copyright © 2007-2008 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved.
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