Tom Wilson
October 18, 2013

Horse Sense: It's all speculation at this point, but next year Fabulous Fords Forever will certainly be a stopping point for the 50th anniversary of the Mustang festivities, plus we might well have an all-new Mustang to consider. In any event, Fab Ford organizers are bracing for a large year at Knott's in 2014.

There's been a theme at the Fabulous Fords Forever car show for years now—more Mustangs.

With the popularity of the S197 Mustang, the herds of Ponycars at Fab Fords have only grown, and this year the galloping reached a milestone the show founders would not have dreamed possible: over 1,000 Mustangs. Actually, it was exactly 1,100 Mustangs out of a total car count of just under 1,900 Fords onsite and 2,097 pre-registered. So by any measure, there was a lot to see at the 28th annual Fabulous Fords Forever show.

Commonly called "Knott's" in reference to the venue at the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, California, the show is the premier Ford car show west of the Mississippi. It's also easily the largest all-Ford show in the West and a marking point on the Ford lover's calendar. When Knott's rolls around in April, the new year is definitely underway, summer has almost arrived, and a new round of Ford events and cars is soon to be enjoyed.

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Within the Mustang legions at Fab Fords, there were several sub-themes. Perhaps most noticeable was the flood of Foxes. These cars seemingly took a few years off at Knotts, then started showed up in smaller numbers, many looking tired from years on the street and generally overshadowed by the new herds of modified SN-95s, and absolutely the S197s. But this year the Foxes were back, many spiffed-up and seeming modified. If it was hands-on experimentation and development you desired, the Foxes were the cars to see.

Just the opposite are the Coyotes. These new 5.0s seem to come in two varieties: with a few cosmetics and simple bolt-ons, or with a power adder. This is actually normal for newer cars still in warranty, but compounding it is the Coyote engine's excellence. You don't need to do a thing to it for fun street performance, but when the urge strikes, a supercharger is an item that makes a major difference.

Seeming to punch above their weight at Fab Fords was a good showing of Boss 302s. Of course, the Shelby GT500 squad has been pushing the limits of their enclosure for a couple years now.

Behind-the-scenes personnel and procedural changes have smoothed once rough edges, and the show is well positioned for a truly oversized year in 2014, when the Mustang 50th anniversary is celebrated. Fabulous Fords Forever has already set the next show date for April 27, 2014, again at Knott's Berry Farm. That timing will accommodate those who want to attend the big Ford/MCA bash slated for April 16-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Charlotte, North Carolina. It will also allow a strong corporate presence from Ford when Knott's rolls around next year.

It's going to be fun—see you there!

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Stubborn Problem

For a big show run entirely by volunteers, Fab Fords is an amazing success with few complaints. Years ago it was boom-box stereos and burnouts, both thankfully self-contained these days. But one issue refuses to go away, and that's participants making early departures.

This year was the worst we've seen in this regard, at least in the Mustang camp. With everyone committed to stay until 3 p.m., people started revving up and driving out an hour earlier. The vast majority stayed, of course, but those leaving pose a massive headache to the show organizers, who fret over the liability of someone trampling a baby carriage when they should have been parked. They also cheat showgoers who are still making their rounds—we're always working the show until after it closes—and are a major distraction and imposition to those who stay. There might be legit reasons for a few people to unexpectedly leave early, but clearly most of these are wanting to beat traffic.

Fab Ford organizers are looking into sanctions against early departures, most likely not being admitted the following year. It would be far better if the throttle-happy would simply police themselves.

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