A picture may paint a thousand words but to stand right next to these works of mechanical art renders the Mustang enthusiast temporarily speechless especially when considering the kind of creative mind and level of ingenuity one must possess to visualize and produce these cars. In Search of Mustangs was there to see them all.
Perhaps the most special of all the Mustangs that could be found, in a virtual sea of Mustangs, was the 1979 Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 which answers the question posed in the above link of “where is it now”. This piece of Mustang history has a specially built 5.0L V8 engine that includes 351W heads, Boss 302 camshaft, 289 Hi-Po springs, TRW pistons and a Holly carb, backed by modified C-4 transmissions.
Another thrill this past weekend was seeing the Boss 302 prototype used by Larry Shinoda and his design team as a platform for the all new 1969 BOSS 302. This “barn find” gem was literally found in a barn in Illinois. The Pastel Gray with a Black Mach 1 interior began as a 1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet Ram-Air model and was actually used by Shinoda as his personal car which includes a dent made, apparently, by one of the cows in the barn. Among the changes in style made by Shinoda were the C-shape stripes on the fenders and doors, black out paint around the headlights, the rear taillight panel and deck lid, rear window louvers, rear spoiler and filling in of the side scoops.
The 1970 ½ Red Quarter Horse was one of the more satisfying cars to see up close since it can be found on the ISO Mustangs “Wanted” list and because many prototype cars are never seen again, once they have served their purpose. Originally called a “composite” Mustang, since it combined features from four different engineering programs, these models were made in an effort to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak, as far as styling was concerned since Chevrolet was going to introduce a mid-year Camaro that had a new body style. A sports roof from the Boss 429 program, a Shelby fiberglass front end, a 429 Super Cobra Jet engine and a Mercury Cougar XR-7 dash and instrument panel were all combined to make up these “super muscle cars”. A studio shot of the Red Quarter Horse can also be found in the In Search of Mustangs registry.
While we only mention a few here, there were so many impressive Mustangs found at the Mustang Club of America 40th Anniversary, a more skilled writer could produce a whole book based on the historically significant and rare pony cars ISOM got the chance to see up close and photograph. But even more enjoyable than seeing all those cars was getting to chat and socialize with so many other Mustang enthusiasts who turned out in droves at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, knowing that the tradition of the Ford Mustang will continue to be passed down to a new generation of future drivers who could also be found in abundance this weekend as they looked on with the same awe and wonder that has inspired and excited so many generations from the past. As long as man relies on cars as his primary mode of transportation and perhaps even beyond, the Ford Mustang will remain one of the most beloved and expressly American achievements in automotive engineering history.