Tom Wilson
July 25, 2011

There's nothing like 1,500 Fords in one spot to keep us coming back year after year, and like moths to the flame, we buzzed to Knott's Berry Farm for the 26th annual Fabulous Fords Forever car show last spring. Even with the car count down due to $4.30-a-gallon gasoline, as always there was more to see than any one person could hope to cover. Plus, after a cool, wet winter, the show came on one of the first days of warm sun and a clear blue sky, perfect for a day outdoors surrounded by Fords.

Not that we pay slavish attention to it, but each year Knott's recognizes specific Ford vehicles or personalities. In 2011, the show officially celebrated 40 years of Panteras, 40 of Pintos, 45 of Broncos, and 50 years of Econoline vans.

So, no Mustang anniversaries this year--the original Boss 302 was recognized last year--but that didn't stop Mustangs from making up almost half the show at around 900 pony cars. From the legions of daily drivers given a good waxing and displayed with their hoods down, to the pair of four-day-old '12 Boss 302s and their ecstatic new owners, Knott's offered its usual Mustang abundance.

While the cars are the stars at any show, we'd like to take a minute to recognize the unique organization that makes Fabulous Fords Forever possible. Ford Motor Company provides the indispensible heavy hit that gets big shows like this moving, but it's the 34 independent Ford car clubs that cooperate in sharing the heavy lifting that make the show happen. Hundreds of volunteers from these clubs do everything from filling goodie bags to parking cars, to which we say thanks!

We're already looking forward to next year.

Old School

Obviously we live in the here and now in Mustang performance at 5.0&SF, but for a quick tutorial on how gas used to be burned, a walk from the distant Shelby area back to the main Mustang field at Fab Fords will take you diagonally through the nifty '50s and perhaps some of the '60s musclecar stuff. We made the walk early this year and couldn't resist the low sunlight on the Ford Special Oil Bath Air Cleaner. You had to have been there--when intake air was made pure by bending it around a deep saucer of oil (we're not making this up) and changing your filter involved pouring out a sediment-heavy half-quart of oil, with a few large insects and maybe some flower pollen floating on top. It makes us appreciate panel air filters all the more.

Making An Entrance

Fine as it is to eyeball show cars in detail, get them moving and we're like 8-year-olds in front of a television. Apparently we're not alone, as a favorite Knott's hangout is the single two-lane entrance. From breakfast time until the 10 a.m. official opening, the cars arrive in random order--the ancients chugging, the cruisers gliding, the race cars snarling, or sometimes silently as crews push them along. To anyone with a lawn chair, it's a ready-made all-Ford parade. Unfortunately we never have time to watch the whole procession, but here are a few scenes of the variety from this year's arrival.

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