850,000 miles: The Blue Beast's last ride

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The average person buys a new or used car about every six years.

That's not the case for one Fairfield woman.

Carol Marini put just over 850,000 miles on her Ford Mustang. It's the only car she has ever owned. Marini and her ex-husband bought the 289-horsepowered Mustang shortly after it rolled off the production line in 1968.

"Think I paid $3,200 for it," Marini said.

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She called the classic muscle car "The Blue Beast," and for 49 years she has meticulously maintained every inch of the car.

"The engine has been rebuilt three times," Marini said.

The car has also gone through a number of paint jobs and an interior restoration.

"About the only thing that I haven’t changed is the rear axle," Marini said.

In 2011, the Mustang's odometer rolled past 800,000 miles. Ford mechanics verified the mileage and Bill Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Co., wrote her a letter.

"I was so honored that he took the time to write me," Marini said.

Her plan was to put one million miles on the Blue Beast, but back in October, the Mustang's long ride came to an abrupt end.

"I was rear ended by a 19-year-old girl," Marini said.

The crash nearly killed her. The Mustang ended up hitting a guard rail and was run off the road.

"The sturdy construction of the Mustang saved my live," Marini said.

The sturdy construction may have saved Marini's life, but her mechanic said little could be done for Blue Beast. The car was a total loss.

Marini says hardship seems to follow her.

"Let’s just say, the last 10 years has been a pretty difficult time for me," Marini said.

Her problems started in 2007 after she was evicted from the 1916 craftsman-style house she rented and remodeled over 38 years.

"That home and the Mustang were everything to me," Marini said.

Marini was living on property owned by the Fairfield Budweiser Bottling Company, which sold the house and the 40-acre property to a land developer.

"I fought for it," Marini said. "Ultimately, I lost and they gave the house to the fire department to do fire training and it went up in smoke."

A year later, Marini got into some trouble with here finances.

"I lost my income and life savings as a victim of a Ponzi scheme," Marini said.

After that, Marini moved five times in three years, until she was granted public housing and social security.

"During that time, the Mustang became my salvation. My escape," Marini said.

Now, her temporary rental car is far from an escape. Her insurance company set her up with a 2015 Ford Focus with lots of electronic features.

"There is all these icons. I don't know what they do because I didn't have icons on my Mustang," Marini said.

Unfortunately, she may now have to get used to a modern car. The '68 Mustang is beyond repair and insurance won't pay for a newly restored replacement.

"It is not just a mode of transportation," Marini said. "It has been my best friend and essential to my life."

Marini is 72 years old. She has no family. Her best friend may be gone, but she says the Blue Beast did leave her with the most amazing gift.

"My beloved Blue Beast repaid me for the care and attention I have given it over the years by saving my life," Marini said.

Now, she hopes to find another 1968 Ford Mustang. One that she can transfer some of the Blue Beast's parts into and keep the beast alive a little bit longer.