Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 17, 2014
Photos By: Evan J. Smith, Marc Christ

Morning broke in Charlotte with crisp 38 degree air and bright sunshine as thousands of Ford Mustang owners converged on Charlotte Motor Speedway to celebrate the Mustang’s birthday with the MCA (Mustang Club of America). The cold blast kept Mustang fans bundled up in their favorite Mustang anniversary jackets from the previous events, like the 35th, 40th, and 45th shows. However, the morning air slowly warmed to more comfortable levels and jackets disappeared and club t-shirts were visible from clubs all across the country—even international clubs!

As Mustang owners and enthusiasts filed through the CMS gates one could already hear the roar of Mustangs tackling the high banked corners of CMS in the morning’s first open track session. Mustangs as far as one could see, parked in orderly rows on the infield, and provided eye candy for fans of any year Mustang. The vendor areas, packed to the edge of their tents with people, offered restoration and performance parts for every model and year as well.

We were only on the grounds a couple of hours when the opening ceremonies were announced for 11 AM. Making our way over to the CMS start/finish line with the rest of the crowd you could feel the excitement in the air as Mustang owners from all over the globe, some speaking French, others Italian or German, discussed event plans or guessed what might be billowing under the shiny black sheet at the entrance to the track.

As the crowd settled down the opening ceremonies started with John Clor, Ford Performance Group’s Communications Manager, making an opening statement and introducing some of the important people who helped make the anniversary events come to fruition. These people included Steve Pruitt, President of the Mustang Club of America, and Ron Bramlett, Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Chairman. Clor also introduced special guests, such as Gale Halderman, one of the original Mustang’s designers, Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing, and Mark Fields, Ford Chief Operating Officer.

However, the big surprise guest was none other than William Clay Ford Jr. and boy did he arrive in style! Piloted by 2015 Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak, Mr. Ford was given a (brief) ride to the opening ceremonies in none other than the all-new 2015 50 Year Limited Edition Mustang (click here to read more about this stunning new package).

Enjoy the photo gallery from today’s opening ceremonies and check back right here at mustang-360.com for more 50th Anniversary Mustang event coverage throughout the weekend!

Mustang 50th Anniversary Opening Ceremonies in Charlotte, NC

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