Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
December 7, 2016

It can be unbearably hot during the summer months in Florida, but there’s certainly very little chance of snow when it comes to the Sunshine State. That is why tens of thousands of “snow birds” flock to the state every fall to escape the frigid north. Many of these winter weary people are indeed automotive enthusiasts as well, often either bringing their toys down with them, or having a second fun car stored at their Florida home. The winter car show season flourishes in Florida and often the typical cruise night or “cars and coffee” crowd can double during these months with these visitors from the north.

We were honored to be tasked with presenting an Editor’s Choice award at the show, but it wasn’t easy trying to pick from all the great cars in attendance. Ultimately we chose Bill McCluskey’s 1966 Mustang fastback to bestow the award upon.

Of course Florida is also a permanent home to many Mustang owners. Florida has a huge Mustang club following, most of them MCA regional groups, and their big events are usually dropped onto the calendar for fall, winter, or spring dates before it gets too hot to be outside at a car show all day. One such group is the Mustang Club of West Central Florida. Their annual show in the Bradenton, Florida area happens in mid-November and pulls in a nice crowd for what has become a wonderful day of friends, Mustangs, and possibly even a little bit of shopping for the missus.

Celebrating its 25th annual Ponies Under the Palms on November 20th, 2016, we hopped in the car for a quick ride down the west coast of Florida to check out the show ourselves. The show has been held at the Main Street area in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Restaurants, designer shops, a movie theater, and even mini-golf mean the family won’t get bored! The shows main sponsors were AutoNation Ford in Bradenton, Target Graphics, Lamborghini of Sarasota, Freedom Performance, River Club Car Wash, and Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Charities that benefited from the show’s registrations and donations include Take Stock in Children and Southeastern Guide Dogs. 154 cars were on display and we’re pretty sure we snagged a photo of each one for our show gallery below. Enjoy the photos and if you find yourself in central or southwest Florida next November, come on out. We’re sure you’ll have a great time!

Photo Gallery

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