Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 11, 2013

We know a lot of Mustang owners are not part of the "show crowd" or have any involvement with a Mustang club. They prefer to go it alone, enjoying their vintage or late-model ride as a daily driver or perhaps a weekend track car. We understand that some owners just don't understand the whole "sitting in a lawn chair behind your car" that is the norm of many car shows. However, that being said, you owe it to yourself to experience certain car shows as they are much more than simply sitting in a lawn chair. Annual shows like the Ford Nationals in Pennsylvania, the Mid America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals in Oklahoma, and the Mustang & Ford Roundup at Silver Springs in Florida are all events that Mustang owners should be sure to attend.

This past January was the Silver Springs 19th annual show and Mustang Monthly was proud to be a part of the event once again with a Pony Trails cruise on Friday as well as the entire staff in attendance over the weekend. We can't think of a better way to kick off the show season each year than to get together with over 1,000 of our closest Mustang friends (1,029 to be exact this year) and spend the weekend in a low-stress, non-judged show atmosphere in one of Florida's oldest theme parks. Silver Springs has plenty to offer the young and the young at heart. The kids can learn all about nature and the animals that live along the Silver River while the adults will certainly enjoy going back in time to learn about the movies and TV shows filmed on the Silver Springs property over the years.

Of course, there's also the Mustangs (and Ford powered Fords) to drool over as well. The show regularly packs in over a 1,000 machines and they are generally parked as they arrive, with a few exceptions, allowing for an interesting mix of cars to peruse versus the more structured show venues where all the '65s are parked together and so forth. We find this a great way to explore the Mustang hobby and to experience other years than what you own. Check out the photos for just a small taste of what this show has to offer, but do yourself a favor and make plans to join the fun in January 2014.

We’ve been to every Mustang & Ford Roundup at Silver Springs and seen everything from freezing temps and light snow to driving rain and even 80-degree days in January. This year’s weather was postcard perfect and that meant long lines for the famous glass-bottom boat rides down the Silver River. Silver Springs has plenty of family activities to keep everyone entertained.

Photo Gallery

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Unlike traditional shows that have a vendor area selling wares, NPD invites key suppliers of parts sold through their catalogs for new product display and to answer spectator questions. This year we saw BBK Performance, Eaton Detroit Spring, TMI Products, Stainless Steel Brakes, Heacock Classic Insurance, and Classic Instruments.

Pony Trails

Since 1998 when a dozen Mustangs showed up for Mustang Monthly's first-ever Pony Trails, a Friday cruise has been a tradition at the Ford & Mustang Roundup. Subsequent participation bounced up and down depending on the weather, so it was no surprise when 151 cars departed National Parts Depot's headquarters for this year's event. With temperatures in the 80s, the convertibles had their tops down for the balmy cruise to Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast.

This year, we borrowed a '13 Mustang GT from Ford's press fleet for the cruise. With NPD's 1979-1993 Mustang wizard Matt Laszaic in the passenger seat, we caught up on the latest in Fox-body parts and restoration. The two-hour cruise ended in downtown Cedar Key, where we met up with the rest of the NPD crew at Steamers Clam Bar and Grille for lunch before a leisurely return to Ocala, where participants were able to tour NPD's impressive car collection. —Donald Farr