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RE V8 dangling wires

Listers- In late Dec while replacing a CV boot, I noticed two unconnected
plugs on the drivers side inside the engine compartment. Joe Y. thought they
might be associated with the brake sensors. After further inspection I
concluded they were test connectors for the tranny, but promised to update
you if this was a bad call. Well I traced the wires and they went to the O2
sensor in the exhaust system. After much searching, I located the mating
jacks on the engine under the distributor/cruise control bellows. After
reconecting the car seems to have a bit more pep, and idles 150rpm lower. I
have been runing without an O2 sensor for many months. Can anyone explain how
this was possible? American cars won"t even start with the O2 sensor
Frank Santoro (FBFISH@aol.com)
Kingsville Md
1990 V8