The average person buys a new or used car about every six years, but that's not the case for one Fairfield woman.
Carol Marini, 72, put 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 horsepower Mustang shortly after it rolled off the production line in 1968.
"Think I paid $3200 for it," said Marini.
She calls 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 3 times," said Carol.
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," said Marini.
In 2011 the Mustang's odometer rolled over to 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!" she said.
Marini did have plans to put a million miles on the Blue Beast but, back in October the Mustangs long ride came to an end.
"I was rear ended by a 19-year-old girl," said Marini about the the crash that nearly killed her with the car that ended up hitting the guard rail and running off the road. "The sturdy construction of the mustang saved my live."
The sturdy construction may have saved Marini's life but her mechanic says little can be done for Blue Beast. The car is 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," she said.
Her problems started back in 2007 after she was evicted from the 1916 craftsman’s style she rented and remodeled for over 38 years.
"That home and the mustang was everything to me," said Marini.
She was living on property owned by the Fairfield Budweiser bottling company who sold the house and the 40-acre property to a land developer.
"I fought for it," she said. "Ultimately I lost and the 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," she added.
Marini says she 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," she said.
Marini's temporary rental car is far from an escape. Her insurance company set her up with a 2015 Ford Focus with lots of electronic features. Unfortunately, Marini may 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. It has been my best friend and essential to my life," she said.
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 has repaid me for the care and attention I have given it over the years by saving my life," she said.
Carol hopes to find another 1968 Mustang, one that she can transfer some of the Blue Beast's parts into.