Pete Epple Technical Editor
August 1, 2009
Photos By: Steve Baur, John Moore

On April 17, 1964, the automotive world changed and would never be the same. Flushing Meadows, New York was alive with activity as the World's Fair was getting underway.

The people on hand didn't yet know the significance of what they were about to see, but they witnessed history. Here Ford Motor Company first unveiled the Mustang, and it quickly became more than just a car. A cult-like following ensued and almost a half-century later, it's bigger than ever.

On April 17, 2009, Mustang fanatics from around the globe came together in Birmingham, Alabama, to attend the 45th Anniversary Celebration of our favorite ponycar--the Mustang. Thousands of Mustang enthusiasts flooded Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) for four days of festivities, all geared around the car that has united us for so many years.

As the activities began, hundreds of show cars filled the picturesque hills of BMP. Beautifully restored classics, wild customized late-models, and everything in between were on hand, bringing back memories for some and supplying ideas for others. An abundance of early Mustangs paid homage to the roots of the Pony, while the highly modified late-models exemplified how our hobby has transformed over the years.

Over the four-day celebration, the MM&FF staff met many wonderful people from all over the world. Meeting Mustang owners from 14 different countries opened our eyes to just how widespread the Mustang family has become. In addition to enthusiasts from the United States, Mustang-lovers came from as far as Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Sweden. Members of the Mustang Club of France traveled to Atlanta and picked up 45 '10 Mustang rental cars before driving to Birmingham. The club proudly displayed its Mustang pride, lining all of its rentals up in an impressive display.

If you found time to pull yourself away from all of the incredible cars in the show, the action on the track was just as exciting. Factory-built race cars and open-track racers took to the 2.38-mile road course, testing their iron against the 80 feet of elevation changes and 17 turns. A slew of FR500Ss hit the track in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge series. The 45th anniversary celebration was a double event for the series, and a great chance for drivers to gain points in the fight for the Miller Cup. Twenty-two FR500Ss started both races, but it would be an all Ted Anthony Jr. weekend as he took the win in both races.