May 2009

Wild Horses Drag Them to Birmingham

That thundering sound in the distance wasnít the low rumble of a passing storm; it was the ubiquitous growl of a thousand galloping ponies descending on Birmingham, Alabama.


On April 17th, Ford Mustang owners and enthusiasts from across the country and around the world celebrated the 45th anniversary of one of Americaís pioneering and most legendary vehicles by assembling for four days at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.


However, like with the Mustang itself, it wasnít simply the destination of the anniversary celebration that mattered - it was the journey. Through 45 years, a handful of generations and over nine million owners, the Mustang has solidified its place as Americaís premier (and original) muscle car. Perhaps in honor of the long and storied past of the vehicle, owners marked the occasion with a massive Mustang convoy road-trip to the big event.


Spearheaded and organized by the Mustang Club of America, the convoy started in Las Vegas, Nevada and wound its way through the very heart of the nation, almost as a symbolic tribute to the birthplace and inspiration of Fordís signature pony car. As the days passed, more and more vehicles joined the convoy, resulting in upward of a thousand on the final dayís drive.


In Birmingham, these spirited club members were accompanied for the long weekend by owners and fans from across America and around the globe. In fact, more than 15 nations were represented, coming from as far away as France, Denmark and Australia (some with their vehicles), further reinforcing the truly global reach and appeal of the Mustang.


From live entertainment and food to professional Ford racing and on-site performance upgrades, the four-day event was a celebration of the fun, freedom and culture of the incredible Ford Mustang. From nine of the original 1964Ĺ models up through the newest 2010 rendition, Fordís flagship was mightily represented and duly celebrated.


From casual fans to diehard supporters, the celebration in Birmingham was, more than anything, a chance to reflect on and embrace automotive past, present and future. From its humble origins to its limitless future, the Mustang means many things to many people. To some, it represents the pinnacle of American achievement. To others, itís the unencumbered freedom and youthful exuberance that no other vehicle on the planet embodies.


Perhaps most of all, itís a symbol of excellence and strength, of a meaningful past and a hopeful future, of a storied youth and an impressive maturation. Maybe itís why generations of drivers have held onto and preserved their Mustangs for nearly five decades and why so many more are embracing the newest models to roll off the assembly line.


In fact, Ford would argue that the newest iteration of the Mustang just might be the best ever. Combining modern advancements with the unmistakable classic styling of the 1960s models, the newest generation of pony cars features a remarkable 4.6-liter V8 beneath the hood, and it holds tightly to the unwavering spirit that made previous versions so appealing to so many.


With their latest achievement, Ford seems to be ensuring that 45 years from now equally passionate Mustang enthusiasts can once again gather and pay tribute to the vehicle that started it all.