At Portland’s Cars & Coffee, the Ford Mustang still means America

At a gas stop at a Chevron in Lakehead, California, I stop in the middle of the candy aisle to read email.

“Hey! Why does your license plate say DIE?” The voice from the front of the store asks.

He says it again, then again, before I realize he’s talking to me.

“It doesn’t,” I explain. It’s a Michigan manufacturer’s license plate with a special code. “It says DTE and then some numbers.”

I burrow back into email next to the Snickers. He calls out again, and this time he wants to know what’s really going on with the blood-red Mustang parked outside.

“So, how’s that thing drive?”

The cashier’s name is Mike Spencer, and he’s a car guy. A car guy, not normally a Ford guy. His brother has a Dodge Challenger Hellcat, his dad has a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle with a 396 small-block V-8, and he has a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro

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