Mustangs continued their march on the 24th Annual Fabulous Fords Forever show April 19, muscling their way out of their traditional late-model parking lot and into "other" parking lot. Once exclusively the domain of Model T's, A's, Torinos, and such, the other of the two main parking lots had rows of newer Mustangs standing proud.
Furthermore, it turns out Mustangs are cannibals. To be blunt about it, the Mustang growth at Knott's is largely S197s, which besides making statistical sense, speaks volumes of where Knott's entrants interest lay. Clean, lightly modified, street cars are the show's bread and butter, and as Ford has been building great Mustangs lately, they've been edging out the '60s-era ponycars and taking some of the interest from the early Foxes.
We'll admit to a soft spot...
We'll admit to a soft spot for obviously driven, not-over-done performance rides. Kenny Zachman's '03 GT fits the bill with its ProCharger, subdued presentation, and-because it's Cali-polished rims.
But to anyone hoofing it up and down the rows at Knott's, it's all academic. There are plenty of Fords of nearly every stripe, more than anyone can take in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Add in an early heat wave, just under 100 degrees, and Knott's was a real place in the sun this year.
Featured vehicles were the 45th anniversary of the Mustang, 70th anniversary of Mercury and 50th anniversary of the Galaxie. Additionally, there was a Boss Mustang reunion, giving Knott's-regular Parnelli Jones more guests than anticipated the day before the show, and giving showgoers a small feast of Boss 302, 351, and 429 Mustangs. The flyer also listed a Probe anniversary, but we didn't really notice. We did see a putting green around a Lincoln display, however.
Wendy Auerbach's '99 could...
Wendy Auerbach's '99 could be a poster child for the idea of a simple but clean ride. Herding with the CA-Mustang club and working out of Chicane Sport Tuning, Wendy's "NICE V8," as it says on her vanity plate, sports a straightforward, non-cooled Roots supercharger; Kooks headers; some suspension mods; handsomely fat wheels; and a clean, bright persona.
We've featured Michael O'Donnell's...
We've featured Michael O'Donnell's '01 Bullitt previously, which hangs more performance parts than the Christmas tree in the Summit Racing lobby. Here's some of his latest kit, a NANO nitrogen-assisted nitrous oxide system from NOS. The nitrogen keeps a constant pressure on the giggle gas for a more consistent hit. Also on board is the latest Snow Performance Boost Cooler with electronic proportional control.
KJ the Intrepid climbed up...
KJ the Intrepid climbed up to capture this slice of the Mustang lot. Roushs and Saleens face each other in the rows closest to the camera, while a combination of early and mainly late 'Stangs stretches into the distance.
Featured vehicles were nicely displayed on the central grass area, and we were pleased to see some old friends and feature cars honored there. Worries about losing cars or people to the big 45th Mustang anniversary, held the same weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, proved predictably groundless (California is a long, long way from the eastern states). Some who were able even commuted, including Steve Saleen who indulged in his airline travel fetish to appear in Alabama on Saturday and Knott's on Sunday. We still find it odd to see Saleen Mustangs over there and Steve Saleen over here signing autographs in the SMS booth.
Speaking of booths, Roush continues to make an 18-wheeler presence, along with Shelby Automobiles and Ford Racing. But that's mainly it for commercial presentations-other than Ford-as Knott's has been faithfully kept commercial-free. It's a show for the people.
Here's one with the hood up....
Here's one with the hood up. An unassuming black '94 GT from the outside, only the "SLEPURR" license plate gives away the 427-inch 351W with 225 AFR heads and all the 600hp EFI trimmings. The trans is a T-56, gearing is 3.73, the hit is undoubtedly muscular, and the whole thing is for sale by owner-builder Al Clark. Over $40-large is invested, he said, listing a California phone number and wearing Arizona tags. Interesting combination.
We didn't hear a total car count this year, but attendance was obviously strong. Our only thought is where are all the 2010 Mustangs going to park next year?
Horse Sense: Due to illness, we arrived just as the show opened and left right at the close, thus missing the parade of Fords as they filed in and the Blue Oval traffic jam as they rushed the exits. Definitely the most dynamic times of the day, we'll make a point to get there early next year.
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We'll admit we blasted Ford...
We'll admit we blasted Ford at the time over the horizontal taillights on the '94-'95 Mustangs, but fifteen years on, they hold a unique charm. Although it's tough to see here, there is a flat aluminum wing hanging off the back of Brian Olsen's sharp '95 GT. The polished Kenne Bell blower and bright blue accents underhood are easier to spot when you get around front, but we like the low rear angle of his sinister dark horse, too.