The Mustang Club of America celebrates the Mustang’s 50th birthday in Sin City
Throwing a birthday party is important. Putting on a 50th birthday party is an epic responsibility. When it comes to throwing such a shindig for one of the most popular cars ever, it’s time to come up with some wild ideas. With previous birthday celebrations consuming single large venues, the timing was right for something even larger.
No matter what side of the country the show was on, the 2015 Mustang was the clear star of the show. So many people had yet to see the car in person at the time they made it out to the Mustang 50th Celebration. We had seen it several times, but it just keeps looking better to us. Others are still adjusting to the change, but once these cars hit the streets, we suspect the majority opinion will swing in favor of the S550.
As such, the Mustang Club of America tossed parties in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Now that’s the way to celebrate the Mustang reaching the significant milestone of 50 years of consecutive production.
Here is a look at the heralded independent rear suspension under the 2015 Mustang, as well as the exhaust system most of your will be upgrading almost immediately. We can’t wait to learn more about this suspension, and, more importantly, drive one of these cars to see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be.
Of course there is more to it than just getting two venues and filling them up with Mustangs. Just as they did in Charlotte, the MCA put together a host of varied events. Not only did Las Vegas Motor Speedway host the expected car show and manufacturer’s midway, but it also offered unique options like a half-marathon around the racing surface and a birthday party on the New York, New York casino hotel’s Brooklyn Bridge.
While the LX is still held in the highest regard by Fox fans, it is hard to ignore a clean example of the GT breed. This red GT is clean and sharp rolling on BBS wheels. It doesn’t hurt that it features the coveted black interior.
There was a lot to take in on both sides of the country. When the two events were announced, Team SVTP just knew that we needed to attend both, so that’s just what we did. Whether you were at one, both, or neither of the Ford Mustang 50th Celebrations, you can see what it was like to party away the Mustang’s 50th birthday in Sin City.
Our friends at Maximum Motorsports attracted attention for the company’s expansive line of Mustang suspension upgrades with this American Iron Fox that has previously starred on the cover of Mustang magazines. While the company got it’s start patching up the weaknesses in the Fox Mustang suspension, they have continued on with upgrades for all the generations since, including those with IRS. It should be fun to see what they do with the S550.
You would expect an SVTOA regional director to have a hot-handling Cobra, and that’s just what Dell Hughes has put together. A car that was once his daily driver has transformed into a track warrior thanks to a mix of Griggs Racing and Maximum Motorsports suspension pieces. Normally, cross-pollinating handling upgrades doesn’t pan out, but Dell says his car handles “fantastic.”
It’s always nice to see friends at events, and it was great chatting about the ins and outs of performance and drifting with Ford Racing National Sales Manager, Wayne Geoffery, champion drifter, Vaughn Gittin Jr., and Ford Racing Drag Racing Parts and Competition Manager, Jesse Kershaw. We were so intrigued by what it takes to build a competitive drifter, that we’re going to put together a story on Vaughn’s cars in the future.
Sure it was a Mustang celebration, but many of the manufacturers offer other performance options too. Case in point is Roush Performance, which offers ramped up Raptors to complement its line of staged Mustangs.
With a long history of working together, Shelby American had several Kenne Bell-equipped vehicles on the property. This Super Snake not only wears a polished Kenne Bell 3.6-liter Twin-Screw, but it is set up with the necessary lights, safety equipment, and decals to act as the pace car for LVMS.
Of course Shelby American offers several supercharging options across its broad lineup of Shelbified vehicles. This modern version of the historic Shelby GT350 wears a Whipple 2.9-liter supercharger huffing into a Coyote and creating 525 horsepower. Of course this model features a huge list of other performance upgrades and all the expected Shelby badges, embroidery, and decals.
If you want to attract attention and get photographers snapping, it’s hard to argue with a Gotta Have It Green Saleen S351. One of the greatest things about attending these anniversary shows is seeing the modern hardware parked right alongside the older models. Just as it was in Charlotte, however, we noted a really strong presence of modern Mustangs. Since many people drive to the event, that phenomenon shouldn’t be a big surprise.
You know your editor has a soft spot for Foxes, and this one really stood out. It’s always cool to see the cross-pollination of Mustang styles and parts. This juxtaposition of S197-style wheels on a four-eye Fox is a pretty cool combination.
Our friends at Whiteline were on hand to show off the company’s numerous suspension upgrades for 2005-and-newer Mustangs. Behind the gear is APR Performance’s widebody SEMA project car which recently appeared on the cover of a national Mustang mag. While the Whiteline team has focused on the newer cars, we understand they are working up some offerings for pre-2005 ’Stangs as well, so stay tuned.
Oklahoma- and Texas-based handling parts specialist Chicane23.com had a strong presence of customers at the Las Vegas edition of the Mustang 50th Celebration. Mr. Secrest’s Coyote corner carver obviously eschews fashion for form. He simply removed the grille to improve cooling, and he added one of Tiger Racing’s vaunted composite hoods.
Track Guys main man, Jeff Lacina, was on hand running the open-track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Of course all work and no play can make one a dull boy, so Jeff had his own VMP Supercharger-equipped 5.0 Mustang on hand to help show participants the fast line around the track.
On hand at both Mustang 50th celebrations, TMI Products brought its 2005 Mustang project car that held court at last year’s SEMA show. This ride is a showcase for the company’s new Sport XR seats for S197s, and it features a host of other upgrades including an Airlift suspension, a Flowmaster exhaust, Trufiber body panels, and some sick Vossen wheels.
Obviously Jared Sweeney was pretty stoked about celebrating the Mustang’s 50th birthday in Las Vegas. He was flying the event colors on the flanks of his 2002 Mustang GT. The Two-Valve underhood is upgraded with a Dragon elbow and a cold-air intake. Jared enjoys autocrossing, drag racing and driving his GT.
Based on the 2005-2010 Mustangs and Mustang GTs, the Shelby Terlingua is a rare member of the Shelby Mustang family. They were upgraded with the likes of Paxton superchargers and Baer brakes, and they were rated at up to 375 horsepower. However, we’ve never seen a convertible version in person, and it looked sharp under all those decals.
Galpin Auto Sports is widely known for its customization of all kinds of Fords. In recent years, the company has cornered the market on wild, widebody conversions of modern Mustangs. As such, it was no surprise that widebody Shelby GT500s dominated the company’s display. Another rare model in the company’s display was that silver beauty at the far right. That is one of the Iacocca editions created with the blessing of Mustang legend Lee Iacocca.
There is no better way to attract attention for your Coyote crate engines than firing them up at an event and letting the siren’s song of exhaust draw a crowd. That’s just what this little engine stand allows Ford Racing to do at events. Of course, we don’t have to hear one run to know we’d like to put one of these engines in an older Mustang.
Just because FRPP has a complete line of Coyote gear doesn’t mean that the Blue Oval racing arm has forgotten its pushrod roots. To the contrary FRPP also showed off this Z460 crate engine. Based on the FRPP 351 small-block, this large-displacement crate engine is filled with a forged SCAT crankshaft, forged SCAT H-beam rods, Mahle pistons, and topped by FRPP Z heads. It is rated at 575 horsepower right out of the crate. Vroom!
We spotted a teal 1993 Cobra in Charlotte in the car show, and it was really cool seeing this one speeding around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track. This one looks like it rolled right off the lot at Gaudin Ford and headed for the track for some fun. Seeing classics like this celebrate the Mustang 50th Celebration.
Your scribe had the good fortunate to drive one of these Aluminator-optioned Roush Stage 3 Mustangs. The green over silver paint scheme can be polarizing, but these cars pack the performance to quiet any naysayers. Think of these blown and built Coyote machines as the bridging the performance gap betwixt the Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500.
Hey, that car looks familiar. Yes, that is TMI Products’ 2005 display star making a few laps around LVMS. That is the way to experience the event in style!
Driving a convertible on a beautiful day is a wonderful experience, but you do get beat up by the wind. (Imagine what it is like with a flowing ponytail!) Well, if you want to roll in your 5.0 with the ragtop down so your hair can blow, you might want to check out these slick wind deflectors from Lovethedrive.com. The company offers both the deflectors and light bars for Fox and newer Mustangs.