Amie Williams
Associate Online Editor
July 9, 2014
Photos By: Team MM&FF

It's hard to believe that our favorite Pony car has spent 50 continuous years on the road. What better way to celebrate than with two huge simultaneous events, held April 16-20, on each side of the country—Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, and Sin City's very own Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Enthusiasts have been amped about the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration since first catching wind over a year ago. On top of the dual festivities, Mustangs Across America (MAA) played host to a seven-day journey, open to any Mustang owner willing to drive across the country from Los Angeles, California, through 10 states, to the final destination in Concord. And so, Mustang enthusiasts from all over the world poured into Charlotte Motor Speedway and LVMS on April 16 for the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration.

Part of the Mustang-360.com crew made the 10-hour trek from flat Florida to the hills of North Carolina to take part in the birthday festivities, while others flew in from Manhattan after a Mustang party atop the Empire State Building. The remainder of our team joined the party in Vegas.

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As we rolled into town the night before the official festivities were scheduled to kick off, Mustangs of every color and generation filled the streets and surrounding parking lots, giving us insight into the expansive crowds attending this event.

Thursday morning was a celebration all its own, with the unveiling of the highly anticipated special Mustang, the limited edition '15 50th Anniversary Mustang, which was presented by none other than Bill Ford Jr.. Among the crew on hand was Dave Pericak, chief Mustang engineer; Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing; and Mark Fields, chief operating officer and soon-to-be CEO of Ford Motor Company.

In addition to the show, many Mustangs hit the speedway for open-track fun. This Boss 302 was rocking a Wood Brothers' theme.

We also participated in the Friday-night cruise, which was one for the record books, literally. With 621 Mustangs holding the previous cruise record, the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to tally up the herd of Mustangs participating in the cruise from Z-Max Dragway in Concord to the quaint little town of Kannapolis—about a 35-minute cruise through scenic back roads.

Taking a look down at the Mustangs staging for the cruise from Z-Max Dragway grandstands, it was obvious that the record would easily be shattered despite menacing rain clouds overhead. While we weren't given an exact number after many attempts to reach an accurate count, it has been confirmed that the record was broken by a couple hundred, which makes for 850-plus Mustangs cruising in one continuous convoy.

Steeda Autosports presented a nice display with a few of its Mustangs, including the famous No. 47 '93 Cobra R.
NPD also had a few Stangs in its large display. Shown here is the first VIN Fox-body Mustang.
We also had the chance to chat with Gale Halderman, the man credited with designing the very first Mustang.
Iconic Cobra Jet racer Hubert Platt was on hand with his '70 drag racer.
Ford's brass was heavy at the 50th …
MMD showed off its heavily modified GT, which recently graced our cover.
Mark Fields, the current COO of Ford and future CEO, is seen here with Jim Owens.
Ford Racing's John Clor was a big part of the opening ceremonies. Clor also gave a presentation, as did many of the Mustang dignitaries.
Ford used the event to unveil its 50th Anniversary special-edition Mustang. Mustang Lead Engineer Dave Pericak wheeled the 5.0, with Bill Ford Jr. riding shotgun.
Bill Ford Jr. addressed and then mingled with the crowd. His enthusiasm for the Ford brand is genuine.

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