I went ahead and got rid of the license plate bracket that came with the car and mounted my shiny new plate straight on the car; I had to curl the bottom under to avoid having plate dangling below the bumper. Illegal because now it's a smaller target for radar and laser guns, but I think the police won't worry about me speeding in this car!
I gassed up at the local BP station; we're using new credit cards through them that give us 10% off for the first 60 days. Odometer: 246,425.8 miles Purchased 8.98 gallons of 87 octane at 3.86/gallon. Time to begin tests!
I made sure before I left to get gas that I had the full curb weight of the car and nothing else; I even got rid of the antenna and cable that came with the car. I did, however, have some stuff I had to carry around; stuff I already removed but don't want it to affect my tests. I got rid of the sagging and stapled headliner, the torn-up sun visors, the rear speakers and brackets, and the rear washer fluid reservoir. I noticed the washer reservoir had a cracked lid and it looked like it had leaked a few times. Underneath the washer tank I found the scissor jack and lug wrench. It took 5 minutes with a huge wrench to remove the bolt holding the jack down. That would have been a fun surprise on the side of the road. I hosed down the rusted shut jack with penetrant, but I'm not feeling optimistic. Might have to steal one from the mustang.
Ceiling without headliner; note the exposed roof rack bolts.... That will be deleted later. On the right: deletion items! Headliner, visors, washer tank, rear speakers, privacy screen (saving in the garage for shopping trips), and a huge stack of small screws and bolts.
After getting cleaned up, I went and had a leaky tire bead sealed (found bubbles around the rim with the soapy water test) on my way to the gas station. After getting gas, I went to the grocery store on the way home. Later in the evening, I used the car to pick up and drop off some dinner guests. They were dressed up, so I decided to try out the A/C (the previous owner said it worked fine). It worked great - a nice touch to have air available when I have passengers or when I'm driving with the baby in another month, but not something I'll ever use by myself unless I decide to experiment with A/C effect on fuel economy. It's been done by others.
Right now I'm rolling around on 32 psi tires, and trying to do everything a conservative driver would do behind the wheel to figure out what fuel economy this gets with no mods. The next few miles of driving will be the control in my experiment. Today I worked on making sure the alignment was perfect, and then I took to doing some rewiring to prepare for hypermiling. I'm putting in two toggle switches and a push-button switch. I need to pick up a couple of parts, so the install will have to wait a day or two. Luckily, I have time; I need some more miles on this tank to get a baseline of mileage for this car.
One more note: since I removed the rear speakers, I was listening to the Beatles on the radio while doing alignment tests today and I noticed that the left audio was missing. I investigated and found that the left front speaker is trashed. Another weight savings mod! I wired the stereo to play both left and right audio on the right speaker, which is a little blown but nowhere near what the left side was. Good enough; this car is a supplement to my nice car, not a replacement.