By: Erica Bradley
Hello, my name is Erica Bradley. I am currently 22 years old and live in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was born October 20th, 1994 along with 2 sisters. That’s right. I am a triplet. I was the last one born, just one minute after my sister before me. But we are nothing alike and they have COMPLETELY different personalities than me. I grew up on a farm with cows and chickens and 48 acres of freedom. Anything to do with the animals, I was a part of…Fast forward 19 years and I had dreams to start my own horse farm. I actually enjoyed mucking stalls after these magnificent animals. Those dreams started to crumble when I received a friend request via Facebook from a guy that lived 2 houses down from me. This man showed up to my house in a Black 1998 SN95 GT Mustang to pick me up and take me to Tractor Supply to get bolts for his Dirt Track Race Car. That should have been a warning sign.
Soon we became more than friends. He started teaching me the basics of the automobile. He taught me how to check the oil and how to bleed the brakes. He taught me how the engine works and gave me answers to any questions that I asked him. Then, one day, while sitting in his father’s shop, I told him I wanted a Mustang. His face lit up like a kid in the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. The hunt for the perfect car had begun. We combed through ad after ad until we came across one for a Stock Silver GT Mustang. We decided to go take a look and check it out. This car ended up being the first Mustang I had ever driven. I was terrified. I had never driven anything that low to the ground or that nice (I grew up driving old trucks). On March 3rd 2014, I became the proud owner of this car. Now 3 years later, you would never guess she was the car from the ad.
This car became my addiction. I worked hard to learn everything I could about it. From pulling the motor to changing the oil, I wanted to learn it all. I spent countless hours watching and learning in the shop. It was time well spent in my opinion. I fell head over heels for this car. On July 7th, 2015, my worst nightmare became my reality. I had been let out of work late that day and was heading to the shop to meet with friends. As I was passing a car on a two lane road, with a dotted line, another car pulled out in front of me and lined up to hit me head on. I’ve never been so scared in my life. It was as though time stood still and my breath was caught in my throat. I locked up my brakes and clipped the car’s back bumper as he dove into the grass and I slid into a motel parking lot. After getting my wits together about what just happened, I got out of the car to assess the damage and to make sure the other driver was not injured. The front driver’s fender was destroyed along with the FR500 wheel. Luckily we were able to find a red fender and got a friend to paint it to match the car. I took her to her first Mustang Week just eleven days later.
That’s where the obsession started to settle in. I started to look at ways I could customize her and stand out. I knew I needed a paint job, so the idea of painting it whatever color I wanted started to dance around in my mind. It had to be a color I loved. My favorite color was pink but I did not want a pink car. After a lot of frustration, my painter suggested Molly Pop. I trusted the painters in the color choice and they contacted Molly Saleen to collect the paint code. A couple weeks went by without success. The Paint Shop recommended the Dodge Challenger’s Furious Fuchsia instead. After testing the color on a model car, I fell in love with it. And just like that, I had a Pink Mustang.
The weekend after receiving it back from the paint shop, I took it to Auto Fair for the first time. If you’ve ever shown your car in Auto Fair, you know how late the nights get and how early the mornings arrive. On the way home Sunday night, we decided to stop at Steak n’ Shake for our dinner. As we were eating our food, talking about the events that happened that day, a gentleman came running into the restaurant asking if anyone owned a Red Mustang sitting outside. After a second to collect my thoughts, I looked at him and said that I owned a pink one, and pointed in the direction of where my car had been parked. He then told me that someone had just backed into it and was trying to leave. I ran as fast as I could to my car. I had the worst gut feeling ever. The hood, headlight, and front bumper were damaged. I ran to the stop sign where the lady was sitting and trying to leave. I demanded that she return back to the car with my phone in hand, already having dialed to the police department. It was torture seeing my car like this. It was sitting in the back of the parking lot, alone, beside the Black SN95 that was with me. Little did I know that this was a blessing in disguise.
I started hunting for a new hood and came across a Craigslist ad for a Mach 1 shaker hood. After a 2 ½ hour drive, I arrived at Trinity Stangs. I purchased a Mach 1 Shaker Hood and the 99-01 Cobra Front Bumper. (Actually, I ended up purchasing a lot of car parts there and had to return the next day to pick up the other items we were unable to take home that night.) And that is how this amazing relationship with Trinity Stangs began.
Since then, there have been 5 more accidents, including an encounter with a deer and another encounter with a semi truck’s ratchet strap. A grand total of 4 “back-intos” and 7 heart stopping moments later, I gained a lot of respect for and trust in my car. This car has brought me to where I would like to be in life. It has taken me places that I would have never imagined. And it has introduced me to amazing people I would have never spoken to on a normal basis. I’ve had the chance to complete Auto-Courses in my car and have been taught by an instructor on what to do and when to do it in different situations (which has come in handy multiple times). I’ve been able to take my car around a Race Track, have met professional drifters and have had the opportunity to travel with them and I’ve been privileged enough to ride along with some of these drifters, an amazing experience in and of itself. I’ve been to Drag Races and met amazing drivers there, also. This is something that, just 4 years ago, I never thought I would be a part of. I have even begun dabbling in Model Cars. I have attended a Model Car Convention and just like my car, I love taking them apart and making them into something amazing. This car has taught me many life lessons along the way. It’s taught me trust and respect, to be BOLD, and to be myself. It’s brought me into the car world and allowed me to achieve the first steps towards reaching my goals in life, such as becoming a Travel Blogger.
I enjoy writing and enjoy traveling very much. I would love to travel the United States (and more) in my amazing Pink 2000 GT Mustang with the companionship of my best friend, a German Shepherd / Jack Russell Mix named Snickers. Also, I plan to eventually purchase another Mustang to build from the ground up. I enjoy the transformations, the hard work, and the dedication it takes to build a great car.
“Whatever Good Things We Build, End Up Building Us.” – Jim Rohn