Tom Wilson
October 1, 2003

It's curious how a car show can have a personality-and even though it's held in the same place and the same month, it inevitably changes slightly from year to year. So goes Fabulous Fords Forever, held each April at Knott's Berry Farm, a longtime Southern California amusement park. Simply "Knott's"to the locals, the show embodies the entirety of Ford production vehicles, from a smattering of Model Ts through seas of '50s cruisers, Bronco off-roaders, Cobras, '60s muscle, and, of course, legions of Mustangs.

At 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords, we naturally concentrate on the healthy, late-model Mustang showing. Knott's is the debut for each year's crop of show cars, not to mention the main fare of clean street machines. And as the automotive hemlines rise and fall, so does the ambiance at Knott's. Last year, over-done, over-detailed show cars from the stereo and neo-neon set were big. This year, the new showings returned to the core values of streetability, wicked-good looks, and the muscle to back them up.

More radically, as the gray-suited hordes are beginning to dominate at the SEMA show, the armored divisions of corporate power also rumbled into Knott's this year. For the first time ever, an encirclement of semis from BFGoodrich, Ford SVT, Ford Racing Performance Parts, Ford proper, and Shelby American took ground and held it. Granted, SVT and FRPP have been on-site for years, as has the Saleen show truck, but this was the first time the big haulers had been grouped together rather than trimming the sidelines. It looks to be a new trend, and while hardly unwelcome, we hope the big rigs don't crowd out any of the enthusiasts' cars that make Knott's such a great show.

As usual, it was all we could do to sample just the late-model Mustang rows. With more than 1,700 cars on hand, seeing them all is tough by 3 p.m. when what can only be called the "exit event" swarms the gates. If you haven't been, it's worth the go.