Our Nine Favorite Mustangs from the Mustang Club of America’s 40th Anniversary Celebration
Nine examples of what makes the Mustang so great
The Mustang Club of America celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, and to ring in four decades of shared enthusiasm, the club held a big Mustang bash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Aside from on-track action and a whole heap of fried food, the entire Indy Speedway infield was packed with Mustangs from all generations. Here are our favorites from the MCA 40th anniversary celebration
The trio of Mustang Indy 500 Pace Cars
In perfect symbiosis, three generations (1964, 1979, 1994) of the official Indy 500 Pace Car Mustangs reunited in front of the Pagoda. No word on whether these three cars were the actual parade cars used for the race or just one of the many official replicas produced by Ford. Either way, seeing the three cars back together, especially on such hallowed ground, is a special sight.
2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-C
With the release of the power-mad GT500 in 2007, the softer and less shouty Shelby GT was generally forgotten by most enthusiasts. The Shelby GT was a great package, however, raising horsepower by 19 to a total of 319, thanks to a revised exhaust and intake system. Stiffer struts, lowering springs, thicker sway bar, and a strut tower brace kept things flat, and a 3.55 rear axle helped acceleration figures. For 2008, a group of SoCal Ford dealers teamed together to petition Ford for a special California-only variant, eventually receiving a limited run of 215 Grabber Orange Shelby GTs.
A Cluster of Boss 429s
As far as Mustangs go, you can't get any more special than the Boss 429 from 1969 and 1970. On paper, these were performance powerhouses during their era; among enthusiasts, they are the stuff of legend. The 429 ci (7.0-liter) V-8 traces its roots directly back to NASCAR, having filled Ford's homologation requirement for NASCAR entry. For insurance reasons, Ford claimed the 429 made just 375 hp, but people have claimed wildly inflated figures for decades—as much as 600 hp in some cases! Regardless of the true output, these are some of the most vaunted and powerful muscle cars to emerge from Detroit.
1973 Ford Mustang Hardtop
Strangely enough, our favorite 'Stangs at the anniversary event were not the overbuilt, overpowered garage queens that populated the lot. We instead made beelines for the untouched original examples, especially when they were from the unloved 1970s. The '70s were not kind to Ford's Pony car, and it's a wonder why someone went to so much trouble to keep this 1973 sparkly fresh. By 1971, these were bloated facsimiles of the original Mustang, proving less popular and graceful than its predecessor. Most were chopped, modified, or crushed into oblivion, making this mint example a refreshing change.
A Perfectly Preserved 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R
Like the preceding '73 Hardtop, this Cobra R is a clean example of a Mustang generation too often thrown away. The 1993 Cobra R was a hardcore, track-focused variant of the already race-ready '93 Cobra. The 5.0-liter V-8 pushed out the same 235 hp and 280 lb-ft as the regular snake, but Ford stuffed a whole heap of go-fast bits into the chassis. Thanks to an interior devoid of any power features (wind-up windows, manually adjusted seats), rear seat and radio delete, the Cobra R shed 450 pounds over the regular Mustang. Ford filled that sizeable weight deficit with racing components, including adjustable Koni shocks, strut brace, power steering cooler, and a larger radiator. Contemporary performance was impressive, with 0-60 mph arriving in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph. The Cobra R was a darling among collectors. As such, this example still wears the plastic delivery bags on the seats.
Modified 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra
Again, we were excited to see a clean example of an unloved car. The much-maligned Mustang II was brushed-off by enthusiasts for many years, but the car now serves as an inexpensive rear-wheel drive platform for those looking for a project. This appears to be a modified King Cobra, Ford's failed attempt at resurrecting the Cobra nameplate.
Track-Ready 1967-1968 Ford Mustang
This is a pitch-perfect example of a pro-touring 1960s Mustang. It appears to be a 1967-1968 model, but any eagle-eyed Mustang fanatics in the audience are welcome to chime in with any discrepancies. This Pony appears ready for some serious track-work, including a roll-cage, modified frond fascia, side exhaust, and quick-release hood pins.
1968 Shelby GT500KR
Before the GT500 return in the mid-2000s, the 1968 GT500KR had one of the best names in the business. Under the hyper-aggressive bodywork beat a massaged 428 Cobra Jet V-8, pushing out a reported 335 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.
Ok, so this isn't a real car, but so much work and detail went into this full-sized Lego replica, we had to include this on the list. According to Lego, 194,900 bricks make up this plastic sculpture, with the bricks alone weighing in at 960 pounds. It's the little details that count; even the wipers and exterior badging was faithfully recreated with the building bricks.