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Destination: Charlotte

Mustang 50th Anniversary Celebration  

Story Keplinger Designs - July 08, 2014 01:00 PM

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The touchstones of the Mustang world were all here. This is the original Indy Pace Car. The first Shelby GT-350 Mustang and the first Shelby GT-350 competition Mustang were nearby.

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Scattered inside the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval, you could find any generation well represented.

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Ford had a very comprehensive timeline of all Mustangs, yes, including two Mustang IIs!

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Early and late model Mustangs took advantage of Charlotte’s road course in track activities provided by MRT.

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Numerous celebrities were on hand providing autographs, including Steve Saleen signing posters.

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It was a case of seeing and being seen.

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Foreign Mustang Clubs were well represented – these cars were part of the delegation from the Brazil Mustang Club.

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The so-called “Four-Eyed” Fox Mustangs are always a treat, especially when in this condition.

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The rain came, but so did the celebrating. Nothing was going to stop this party.

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This cruise blew away the old Guinness record, which now stands at 800 Mustangs in a parade.

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Part of the joy of owning a Mustang is being with those who love the cars and that transcends any weather condition.

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When the first Mustangs were arriving in Kannapolis, the last Mustangs hadn’t left the parking lot in Charlotte (Concord), so Guinness certified it as a new world’s record!

A tale of two cities and the Mustang lovers that descended upon them for one special weekend

They came from Brazil. They came from Finland. They came from across America. They came from the local area. They came to share in the celebration of 50 years of continual production of the Ford Mustang – the secretary’s car, the SCCA B-Production class champion, and the car that everybody around the world has a story for.

The Mustang Club of America, with Ford’s help, threw two big events – one in Las Vegas and one in Charlotte; here’s the story of the Charlotte event.

The “big” day, the actual anniversary was Thursday, April 17. Ford sent the top guns to Charlotte – Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Edsel Ford II were on hand to introduce the all-new 2015 Mustang to the crowds. During the banquet later Thursday evening, long time MCA member and editor of the MCA’s news-magazine, Mustang Times, Mary Jean Wesche was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Edsel Ford.

Friday dawned bright and sunny. The festivities continued with over 4,000 cars on display to be judged, admired or make beautiful noise around Charlotte’s road course. The rest of the 2,000 acres was crammed, packed with vendors, spectators, enthusiasts and Mustangs. Mustangs of every year, style, color and special designation were present. If you couldn’t find your favorite Mustang, you weren’t looking hard enough! There were even a number of special Mustangs present including the first Shelby Street GT-350 (5S003) and the first Shelby GT-350 R Model (5R002), great displays of Saleen, Steeda and Roush vehicles and a comprehensive timeline of Mustangs in the Ford pavilion.

The high point of Friday’s activities was the shattering of a world record - the largest parade of Mustang cars. The previous record was 620 for a trek between St-Eulalie and Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada, on June 7, 2008. Around 5:00 p.m. on April 18, 2014, the Mustangs started to gather at the Z-Max Dragway parking lot. When the cruise to Kannapolis began, there were over 800 Mustangs in a continuous line that stretched over 20 miles long. When the first Mustangs were arriving in Kannapolis, the last Mustangs hadn’t left the parking lot in Charlotte (Concord), so Guinness certified it as a new world’s record!

But then, the rains came.

About 20 percent of the Mustangs in the parade line were early model cars. Seeing that many early Mustangs and their drivers braving the rain to make history was a sight to see! Unfortunately, the rains didn’t let up throughout Saturday and the crowds began to thin and head home. When the tallies were counted, and everything was added up, over 65,000 enthusiasts had taken part of the Charlotte event, with over 4,000 Mustangs present.

 

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