Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
December 9, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner

As one of the longest running all-Ford events, the annual Ford Expo only got better when it was combined with the NMRA series in 2005. Since then, the event has become one of the broadest-reaching events in the NMRA series, offering up mini-meets and reunions each year for various Ford nameplates, plus a ginormous all-Ford show, the original Ford Expo nostalgia racing, and now the awesome heads-up racing of the NMRA. Put it all together and you have an event weekend that any Ford fan could find something to drool over.

This year marks the 31st annual event, now called the Exedy Racing Clutch NMRA Ford Expo, held at National Trails Raceway this past September, and was certainly no different. From the great Y-blocks, FEs, and more of the classic race cars to the turbo'd high-tech NMRA racers, the track was action-packed all weekend. Mini meets for Y-block owners, Capri, and T-birds also marked the display field along with hundreds of cars in the NMRA All-Ford Auto Show & Shine. As usual, the vendor midway was full of manufacturers and dealers with parts galore. From classic Mustang door panels to nitrous bottle refills and everything in between, you could find it on the midway. Throw in the famous Embry Riddle 300mph jet dragster attempting to break the Ohio land speed record and you have a perfect Ford family weekend. Be sure to keep Labor Day weekend 2010 wide open so you can attend the 32nd annual event and see the action first-hand. Don't miss it!

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Modified Mustangs & Fords Editor's Choice
Doug Ford's '68 Mustang Fastback

Now with a last name like Ford you'd expect Doug Ford of Nelsonville, Ohio, to be a Ford guy right? Well, after talking with him for the better part of a half hour we can honestly say that's an understatement. His first car was a '68 Mustang Sprint coupe and he's one of a few people (myself included) who can say they've always owned a Mustang (or two). From those early beginnings, Doug's love of Fords grew. As he and his wallet matured, he was able to enjoy many Mustangs, including much sought-after R-codes and Shelby models, but as one would come in, another would leave, never really having a "collection" if you will. One of his prized rides was an ERA Cobra replica with a 427 Tunnel Port for motivation. At the same time a '67 G.T. 350 was keeping it company in the Ford garage. Doug had dreams of dropping the Tunnel Port monster into the Shelby, but couldn't bring himself to modify it.

One day trouble on the horizon for ERA, in the name of a dropped valve, meant a rebuild of the 427 FE. It was already a Dove block and heads, but with the damage done, a 428CJ crank and rods found their new home inside the Dove casting along with new 0.030-inch overbore pistons, bringing the all-aluminum mill to 460ci. It was a screamer in the lightweight replica for sure. Not long after, problems rose anew when Doug saw smoke pouring from one of the Cobra's side pipes. The sweet smell of coolant meant one thing-head gaskets. Doug was also experiencing problems on the home front and with a divorce looming decided to put the wounded engine aside on a stand in the garage.

Once things settled down at home, Doug started thinking about his FE again. With the ERA long gone he once again had visions of a Tunnel Port-powered Mustang, a tribute if you will to the Shelby Super Snake Mustang. This time he took the engine to Legends in Athens, Ohio, where Randy Haning got the FE monster back on track a second time. Meanwhile Doug's hunt for a Mustang netted him a '68 fastback rolling shell locally. His good friend, Chuck Shields, of Chuck's Body Shop in The Plains, Ohio, took care of the poor bodywork from the previous owner, making the fastback slick and straight. The 6-year restoration of the fastback was just finished this past year and Doug has been enjoying the fruits of his labor since. But remember what we said about Doug being a Ford guy? Well he truly does have a nice collection going now with an '07 G.T. 500, a '77 Cobra II drag car, a '68 coupe (similar to his first car), and a '95 SVT Cobra Mustang, plus his F-series daily driver too. Besides bestowing our Editor's Choice award upon his sweet '68 fastback Doug also took home a Top 20 Ford, and a 2nd Place Best Engine award.

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