20th Anniversary Fabulous Fords Forever: Knotts About Fords
SoCal's premier Ford event celebrates its 20th anniversary in fine style
From the October, 2005 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Tom Wilson
Photography by Tom Wilson
Eddie Alvarado's red '95 Cobra...
Eddie Alvarado's red '95 Cobra frames the right side of this view ofKnott's Berry Farms' signature Independence Hall. Eddie has "the usualbolt-ons": cat-back, pulleys, cold air, Hurst shifter, Fluidyneradiator, and larger brake rotors. He adds one item per year due tocost, and finds he enjoys the car more with the slow steady approach,rather than murdering the credit card and loading the car up right away.
OK, we'll admit it. The Fabulous Fords Forever car show at Knott'sBerry Farm just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and I've only beencovering it for 18 years. That's not to say I've been to everyone--years ago, the date typically conflicted with the Indy car race atnearby Long Beach, and I'd go there to document Scott Pruett, DorseySchroeder, or Tommy Kendall knocking them dead, or maybe just RobbyGordon knocking into them in the Trans-Am series. But it's safe to sayI've been to Knott's 15 times, so it's starting to feel like home.
Home is supposed to be a comfy place, and Knott's always is. My favoritepart is the variety. The car club council, and Ford, that put the showtogether, ensure the widest possible spectrum of Fords are at Knott's,so there is always something interesting to look at. Even if you glancedat the ancient non-Mustang Fords years ago, the breadth of Ford'sinvolvement means you could spend a lifetime learning the stories behindall those vehicles and still hardly know it all.
The debut of Crazy Horse II...
The debut of Crazy Horse II by Eric Cheney's XMP and Boyd Coddington wasthe real news at Knott's. Eric says he'll build 1,000 of the cars, ineither Stage 1 or 2 guise. The $23,871 package (not including the base'05 Mustang price) of the Stage 1 car will include suspension mods along withthe bodywork, plus enough bolt-ons to reach 365 hp. The Stage 2 adds ablower, 650 hp, and $60,522 (!). This is the Stage 1 car, which lookedsharp with its custom bodywork and all-Recaro interior.
And the show itself has a personality. At the dawn of the modern era,the Total Performance Years were still mainstream by default of nothingnew and exciting, and those knuckle-dragging Bosses and Shelbys wererevered as the greatest ever into the late '80s. Those cars are stillhonored, but today's Mustangs are so quick that while the old iron ratesa respectful glance as it rumbles by, it's not really considered hotstuff by the young turks. Today, a Mach 1 is a 2-year-old car, not a30-year reunion attendee.
Naturally, we spend most of our Knott's time in the late-model Mustangsection, where the trends evolve about every two years. When it was aFox world, hot performance was the rage. "Have blower, will attend" wasthe mantra. When the SN-95 and especially the New Edge cars showed up,the interest turned to show. Big stereos and more purple nitrous bottlesthan a Cousteau expedition were what it took to draw a crowd. And then,the retro Bullitts and Machs arrived, and now the '05. Theirrear-vision styling seems to have drawn a performance resurgence, forthis year, we pleasantly noted more hot, clean Fox cars than we've seenin a while. Of course, the tuners are all agog with 20-inch Warlockwheels on the '05s, and that sexy street chic thing will filter down tothe private late-model owners eventually, but for now the newest
Mustangs belonging to real people at Knott's are stone-stock and hoodsdown at the show. That'll change next year.
Horse Sense: Knott's Berry Farm is now known as an amusement park,complete with humongous roller coasters, water rides, and such. Itstarted ages ago as a working farm specializing in jams, hence the"Berry" in the title.
This '88 T-top is a poster...
This '88 T-top is a poster child for Fox fun/show cars everywhere. Ownedby a youthful Tony and Jamie Tyrrell of Covina, California, the silverstreak runs a GT-40 long-block crate engine and V-1 Vortech forgo-power, along with a never-been-used nitrous system for show. Trickedout front to rear to attract attention, the front-end sports a Cervini'sbumper cap and spoiler, plus APC headlights, and some polished trimaround the radiator. The interior was full-boat as well, and Tony saysthey just can't stop adding parts to it. Welcome to the club.
Themes are selected each year for Knott's, not that it really matters. This year the Thunderbird was the featured car, and there were enoughpastel portholes on hand to fill a good-sized marina. T-Birds of everytype were well represented, actually, including a white example claimingto be the one in which Suzanne Somers glided noiselessly throughAmerican Graffiti. Like the other past champions and featuredindividuals, it was displayed on the special grassy area (green grass isa highly valued commodity in the parched Southwest, and to drive on itis heady stuff for a SoCal native).
Making a repeat this year was the Snake Walk, a meandering path aroundKnott's reproduction Independence Hall. A well-groomed garden, completewith willowy trees, pond, and patrolling ducks, this is where all theSVT Cobras coiled. Likewise, the huge herd of Broncos were way out inthe north forty, some even in the dirt where the massive Knott's parkinglots fade before blending into the surrounding streets.
Some of the expansiveness this year was due to a new parking schemeinitiated with mixed results last year, but brought to fruition thisyear. Instead of following the usual painted stripes in the parking lot,the cars were spaced out one and a half stalls per car. This was a majorimprovement, as it allows seeing much more of the side of each car. Andwith well over 1,800 Fords on hand, there was no danger of thingslooking sparse.
As always, the weather was perfect (how this happens in April isanyone's guess, but we're not complaining), and everyone seemed relaxedand enjoying life. It made for a great start to the show season, and,yes, I'll visit home again next year. Hope to see you there.
With the Knott's conclave...
With the Knott's conclave in its backyard, Saleen, the company, andSaleen owners always show en masse at Knott's. Here's part of the frontrow of Saleens--every identifiable car or hood in this photo is aSaleen, so you can see the turnout is strong.
Saleen brings its hospitality...
Saleen brings its hospitality transporter to Knott's, along with a hugesupply of the latest production Saleens. Normally we show Steve Saleensigning endless photographs under the awning, but this time, we thoughtyou'd like to see the Ford GT Saleen had on hand--Saleen assembles theGT for Ford in its Michigan facility. It was painted the newly-availablesilver, to which we say looks expensive no matter what the hue.
Granddad cruised his flathead...
Granddad cruised his flathead deuce with no hood on it, so why can't we?As he showed up fashionably late, we didn't get a chance to talk to thisguy about his Paxton Novi rig, but it definitely got the looks.
Yeah, they put carburetors...
Yeah, they put carburetors on Fox Mustangs. There was no information orowner around this exceptionally clean original '85 GT, but we could seethe Motorsport valve covers, caster/camber plates and MSD hardware. TheROH SP wheels and 245/50-16 Yokohama AVS tires looked sharp on this car,too.
Looking like it might see...
Looking like it might see some street action, this teal hatch is a greatexample of a cleaned-up project Fox running good power and still in thethick of it. Like many cars at Knott's this year, there was no ownerinformation on this car, but the Trick Flow intake, V-1 Vortech, Pro-Mmass air meter, pulleys, big Cobra R wheels, and widened front fenderssaid a lot.
We've been stopping by to...
We've been stopping by to admire Dave Dunmire's gorgeous black '89hatchback the last couple of years, and you can see why. With more than500 hp to the tires, the 306 D.S.S. Pro Bullet engine doesn't reallyneed the shine, but it doesn't hurt. Dave has a Snow Performance BoostCooler on the engine for an extra power hit (above the all-motor500-plus horsepower), and the chassis has a nice set of strip- orientedmods to put the power to the ground.
Gary Brandt says he paints...
Gary Brandt says he paints all his racing Mustangs using look-at-mecolors, making it impossible to forget his Brandt Racing Enterprisesbusiness. Obviously, the tactic includes this, his son's toy racer. An'86 coupe, Gary has run it in PSCA Limited Street using a 358-inchWindsor with a 350hp single-stage nitrous hit. There's plenty ofengine--it boasts GRP rods, a Steff oil pan, FRPP R-block, mergecollector headers, a Danny Bee beltdrive, and AFR 205 heads. Hooked to aC-4, 9-inch and 28x11.5 M&H slicks, the combo short times at 1.32seconds and turns 9.20s in good air at Phoenix.
Now this is a Mach 1. A '69,...
Now this is a Mach 1. A '69, owner Michael Lemu of Whittier, California,has stretched the original 351 to 418 inches and fitted a VortechT-Trim, '96 Mustang engine management and EFI, TKO five-speed, coiloversat all four corners, and Total Control arms among other things.Definitely a driver and not a show queen, the venerable Mach puts 550 hpto the tires according to Michael.
Bob Frontino's '88 GT is the...
Bob Frontino's '88 GT is the Mustang so many of us have been dreamingabout. Clean enough to eat off of, the still licensed and insured stripspecialist carries nothing but the best hardware and runs 9.90/140 mph.Bob works at Performance Associates, a speed shop in San Dimas,California, that has been building fast Fords since the TotalPerformance years. The 3,000-pound hatch uses coilovers, D&D controlarms, a Competition Engineering rear sway bar, plus 28x10.5-inch M&Hslicks to run straight. The power comes from a 302-inch DART block,super-ported Edelbrock Performer heads (not even rpm), an FRPP steelcrank, Carillo rods, and a hydraulic-roller cam. The T-Trim is cogdriven to 17 psi, and an air-shifted C4 and 9-inch do the rest.
We didn't catch the details...
We didn't catch the details on this clean, white Roush, but it does agood job representing the growing number of Roush and Steeda Mustangs atKnott's. Saleens get the lion's share of the specialty market inCalifornia, but the Roush and Steeda camps are growing at Knott's.
Focus fans have been slowly...
Focus fans have been slowly building their numbers at Knott's. JohnMcAbee obviously chose the gee-whiz factor of fancy door hinges with his www.superstreet.com Focus.
Another car with no information...
Another car with no information visible was this red Cobra convertible.We think they missed with the wheel and tire package, but get points fortrying with the Cobra R rear wing and custom NACA ducts and polishedscreen inserts, custom radio antenna, and other details. The late-modelCobras seem to attract this leading-edge styling treatment more than anyother Mustang.