By Elyse Ranart
Photography by Sam Robles
Chris Picariello inherited his love of Mustangs from his dad. “His love and knowledge of old cars, particularly the Mustang, was something he shared with me growing up.” We talked with the Miami native on a long ride along the beach in his 1966 Mustang convertible – which can still stop traffic, and turn heads, almost 50 years on.
When did you get your Mustang?
The day after Thanksgiving, [when I was in high school] in 1986. I went with my dad to pick it up. After looking for quite a while, he found this 1966 convertible and that was it. He said he got it for ‘the kids,’ but I knew he also got it for him.
Where was your most memorable ride in your Mustang?
I’ve made a lot of memories in this car, but the first one was probably a week or so after we got it. I drove it to one of the local high-school hang-outs and I remember a group of older kids yelling out something like, ‘look whose driving daddy’s car.’ I’m not sure how they meant it, but at the time, I took it as a compliment – like it was too good for a kid my age to be driving, so it couldn’t be mine. It made me feel special that night and after 28 years, it still does, every time I drive it.
Why do you think the Mustang still has such a following?
When it came out in 1964 [and a half], it was beautiful and inexpensive. It was an instant hit. Then Bullitt came out, with [Steve] McQueen driving the 1968 GT 390 Fastback, which elevated its cool-car status even more. The Mustang has starred in over 500 films and television shows, so I guess it’s really part of American pop-culture. It’s funny because, even now, when I drive it, I get a lot of emotional reactions from teenagers, who still love it after all these years.
What is so special to you about Mustang?
Well, it’s got sentimental value, for sure, but beyond that, I’m driving a piece of American history, which I’ve really come to appreciate. After almost three decades, my Mustang is still growing on me – I love it more every year. λ