Horse Sense: John Macolino, our Editor's Choice winner at the '13 NPD Ford and Mustang RoundUp, was back again in 2014. Jay Meagher at Real Street Performance swapped out the stick for an automatic, which John reports has calmed the car down a bit, but made it faster at the same time.
For those of us in the South, we're ready for a car show by January. Christmas and New Year's are in the rearview mirror, which means we're able to get back to some normalcy, and back to concentrating on our Mustangs.
Thankfully, National Parts Depot's Ford and Mustang Roundup is held annually after the new year, so we can get out of the office for a couple days and check out some Mustangs at Silver Springs State Park outside Ocala, Florida. The area around Silver Springs is horse country, so it only makes sense to have one of the South's largest Ford and Mustang shows there.
NPD's Ford and Mustang Roundup kicks off the season, and it brings out the finest Mustangs from not just Florida, but throughout the Southeast as well. For people that live north of Florida, the show gives them an opportunity to head south for a break from the brutal cold.
Unfortunately, this year's show had the weather putting a damper on attendance. Rain in the forecast kept many show attendees at home. It was their loss as rain didn't enter the area until 6 p.m. on Saturday. There were 70 new show attendees on Sunday, which enjoyed sunny but cooler weather.
Your author is a sucker for a white SN-95, and as far as I’m concerned, the ’95 Cobra R is the king of the breed. A name every Mustang drag racing fan should be familiar with, Josh Klugger says his example was once owned by Bob Bondurant. Josh isn’t terribly afraid to drive the rare ride, of which 250 were made. He made the Friday Pony Trail ride with 116 other showgoers, driving from NPD’s Ocala headquarters to Cedar Key, a fishing community on the West Coast of Florida, where Josh and his buddy Jeff Smith enjoyed some big shrimp. You should already know this, but the ’95 Cobra R featured a 300hp 351 Windsor engine with a Tremec 3550 transmission. The Cobra R didn’t have leather, but instead a tan cloth interior, and without any power options, or even a stereo. The ’95 Cobra R, like the ’93 Cobra R, was built as a race car, and was only for sale to licensed racers when new.
If there’s a Mustang show in Florida, you can bet on seeing Roberto Jorge and his ’12 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca. Roberto is from Hialeah, Florida, which is way down south in the Miami area, but we see him at Mustang shows all over the state. Roberto has always been a Ford man—his dad was the same way—but he admits to living on the dark side for a bit. He saw the error of his ways and returned to the Ford fold. He had a ’08 Shelby GT500 that he traded for the Laguna Seca you see here. Roberto is a member of the Muscle ’Stangs of Miami Mustang club (www.musclestangsofmiami.com).
When Jeanne Nemoga’s name was called as the winner of the ’94-’98 Mustang class, we thought we were on an episode of the Price Is Right. She screamed and sprinted like Usain Bolt to the stage. Jeanne’s used to husband Paul winning trophies, but she’s steadily worked on her ’97 Cobra convertible for a couple years now, and her hard work was recognized. Speaking of husband Paul, he purchased the go-kart in the foreground and had it painted to match Jeanne’s Cobra ‘vert. While talking to Paul and Jeanne at the show, many kids came across the kart, and tried to hop right in and go for a ride.
A supporter of National Parts Depot and this magazine, TMI Products had a big presence at NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup, with quite a bit of product at the show, ranging from early Mustang all the way up to late-model Mustang seating options. Not only that, TMI had door panels on display as well, should anyone need new examples for their Fox Mustang.
It’s not every day you get to see a Cobra Jet, and Rick Hernandez had his ‘08 CJ at NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup. Rick’s CJ is number 5 of the ‘08 run, which boasted a total of 50 cars. Rick said the CJ had a barely-NHRA-legal engine in it with a Liberty four-speed in the tunnel. Rick admitted to getting a little help from Ford Racing, but then he mentioned the name of his race team ... Credit Card Racing. That’s gotta be one large credit limit.
On Sunday at the end of the festivities, NPD’s Rick Schmidt and his right hand man Derek Putnam present the awards to individual class winners. Each respective class winner comes up to the stage to receive an award, and have their picture taken for NPD’s website. As you can see, living in Florida has its advantages, but one disadvantage is having the sun in your eyes on a daily basis, even in January. My Classic Car’s Dennis Gage was on hand for the show, as well. He is the gentleman with the trademark handlebar mustache. Dennis knows NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup has plenty of timeless classics on hand.
Ocala, Florida’s Loren Wilson didn’t have to travel far to attend NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup. His ’84 SVO looks like it could be driven to California though. Loren’s SVO still has the original engine, with a Stinger Performance intercooler to augment the original turbocharger, but it also has a 3-inch downpipe to go with a full 3-inch exhaust all the way out the back. The SVO was repainted about a year ago by International Auto Body in Ocala, and Loren has been attending the NPD Ford and Mustang Roundup for six years now. The only exterior mod? As you can see, the factory wheels are powdercoated body color.
We don’t find too many original owner Fox cars, but Buford, Georgia’s Jack Skidmore is one of the few. Jack purchased the car in July 1989 at Crystal Ford in Silver Spring, Maryland. As of NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup, the LX coupe boasted 168,000 miles on the car, which still has the original paint, long-block, T-5 transmission, and 8.8 rear. Upgrades abound though, and include a Hurst Competition Plus shifter, a Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft, Eibach springs, a Cobra intake, a ’93 Cobra grille insert, a Saleen front bumper filler, black Cobra R wheels, and much more.
Chris Escobar’s SVO is looking more like a show car these days, but even looking the part, this car’s main purpose in life is to do battle on the dragstrip. The car has eclipsed the 7-second zone and is set to take on all comers in the world of True Street-style racing. The car boasts a built Coyote engine with twin Garrett turbochargers, a ‘Glide, and a chassis and cage ready for more 7-second passes.
One of the cleanest SN-95 Cobras at NPD’s Ford and Mustang Roundup was that of Orange Park, Florida’s Brian Cole. Story goes Brian saw the car at the 2013 Turkey Run at Daytona International Speedway. The Cobra was for sale in the car corral, but Brian also had another car for sale. He would be unable to buy the Cobra if his car didn’t sell, though. He told his son if his car sold, he was buying the Cobra. “You gotta ask Mom and she’s going to say ‘no,’” replied his son. Since when have such words stopped the purchase of a Mustang? Brian’s wife said to send her some photos of the Cobra, stating, “I better like the damn thing.” Obviously, she liked the car, and Brian bought the low-mileage Cobra, which boasts genuine Saleen wheels, Eibach springs, Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates, a Steeda Autosports bumpsteer kit, a UPR Products cold-air kit, an MGW shifter, and a chrome strut-tower brace. The funny part of the story is that Brian and the Cobra’s former owner live 3 miles from each other. Focus on Det