On Thursday, April 15th, 2014 Ford will celebrate 50 years of the Mustang. In honor of the occasion Edsel B. Ford II and NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and David Ragan reflected on how a Ford Mustang came into their lives.
The story wouldn’t surprise anyone. What would the son of a Ford get for Christmas when he was 16? What else, a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback.
“My favorite Mustang memory, certainly like many others, is the day I got my first Mustang.“, said Ford.
Like the rest of us car buffs, Edsel’s dad Henry Ford II didn’t give him just any Mustang. His was customized. It had a special paint scheme in a pearlescent white finish with slim blue racing stripes over the top and the rocker panels.
It also had a functional hood scoop, chrome trip on the three grilles in the head lamp buckets, and fender-mounted rearview mirrors similar to the Mustangs sold in Europe. His father added one last special change, the rear fuel filler cap which normally had the pony logo on it had his initials “EBFII”.
The coolest part about Edsel’s special Mustang is that he drove it. It didn’t sit in a show room.
“That car was special for sure.” Edsel added, “I drove it through high school and then one summer afternoon on Long Island I let a friend borrow it. He was driving the car home, lost control and rolled it in a potato field near our house. My beautiful Mustang was destroyed. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the car was totaled.”
It is not surprising that some of the current Ford Racing NASCAR drivers have a Mustang or Mustang memory.
Greg Biffle bought a 2007 Mustang GT 500. Just like the rest of us he couldn’t just leave it the way he received it.
“I bought it because I really wanted one bad.” Biffle added, “I started doing modifications to it. I changed the blower pulleys and did all sorts of stuff. I have had a ton of fun with it.”
Ford Mustang’s run in Carl Edwards blood. He got his when he was 19. It was a 1985 Mustang GT with T-tops.
Edwards said, “We put a clutch in it. My dad and a guy named Bobby Williams and I worked on it and painted it and my buddy Ray Owen helped me work on it and he was a big Mustang guy.”
The Ford Mustang has made quite a splash when it returned to racing in 2010 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. It isn’t surprising that some of the other drivers memories surround their success with the Mustang in that series.
Brad Keselowski said, “My favorite Mustang story is when the Nationwide Series went to the Mustang and we went to Michigan and the Mustangs were there and they were the first cars to have the decals on the side that made it look like the production car. That was really cool.”
The 2011 and 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion was won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. driving a Ford Mustang.
“When I was growing up though, my Dad, he builds engines for a living and a friend of his had a Mustang Mach 1.” Stenhouse Jr. added, “I was young, about seven or eight, so I don’t remember the exact year of the car. I believe it was a 1969 though. He took me for a ride in it one day and we got sideways. We were staring right at the back of a big truck and right at the last second he turned it and we spun around the other way and kept going. That was so much fun. I loved it. That was probably when I fell in love with Mustang.”
Joey Logano got his first win for Roger Penske in a Ford Mustang but he doesn’t have one of his own yet.
Logano said, “I need to get a Mustang to add to my stable of cars for sure. I love the old Mustang Mach 1 series. Those cars are just iconic.”
Somehow a Ford Mustang just draws a teenage boy. Aric Almirola is no exception.
Almirola said, “A memory that sticks out to me about Mustang is that I had a friend in high school that had a Cobra Mustang. I was driving a race car at the time in high school and he said he wanted to see what his car would do with a race car driver driving it. So my buddy in high school let me drive his Cobra and we put black marks around the street of our high school everywhere. I mean everywhere. That was a lot of fun.”
David Ragan happens to be a lifelong Ford fan. It isn’t surprising that there were many Ford Mustangs in his life. Even those that weren’t as sexy or fast.
“I grew up with my dad or uncle having some project Mustang cars around.” Ragan added, “We never really had new, fast Mustangs. They were always the mid-60’s. They really liked the mid-year cars.”
In the last 50 years the Ford Mustang has touched just about everyone. What is your Mustang Memory? Please take a few minutes and tell us about it in the comment section.
Feature Photo Credit Ford Media