Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 19, 2007

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We couldn't believe people were complaining about the heat. After chilly or downright freezing weather for the past three years, temperatures in the 80s were a welcome change for National Parts Depot's 13th Annual Mustang and Ford Roundup on January 6-7, 2007. Held at Silver Springs, home of the famous glass-bottom boats, warm temperatures and sunshine made it feel more like spring than winter-well, except for Saturday afternoon's rain showers. T-shirts and shorts were the preferred attire, as opposed to jackets and sweaters.

As usual, NPD paid for the registration costs for the first 1,000 pre-registered vehicles-a deal that also included two passes to the Silver Springs park-resulting in more than 1,400 preregistrations. With great weather in store, 1,040 Mustangs and Fords were jammed into every nook and cranny, setting a new record for the Roundup.

Traditionally held the first week in January, next year's event has been pushed back to January 12-13 to avoid conflicts with New Year celebrations. Let's hope for more good weather.

On the Road Again

As part of Mustang Monthly's 20th anniversary in 1998, we embarked on a series of four cruises at four of the nation's premier Mustang shows. Dubbed "Pony Trails," the driving events provided an opportunity for Mustang owners to cruise with other Mustang owners instead of spending an entire weekend parked on a show field. On January 9, 1998, the first Pony Trails, 12 Mustangs strong, rolled out of the Best Western parking lot in Zephyrhills, Florida, for a scenic trip through the Ocala National Forest to Silver Springs for the Ford and Mustang Roundup.

Ten years later, Pony Trails is still part of the action at Silver Springs, and it's more popular than ever. This past January 5, 135 Mustangs departed the National Parts Depot headquarters for an 1 1/2-hour trek to Cedar Key, a quaint fishing village located on the Gulf of Mexico. I caught a ride with NPD Marketing Director Scott Halseth, who rented a new Mustang convertible for his trip down from Detroit. A convertible in January? Yep, and thanks to Florida's balmy weather, we made the drive with the top down.

Part of the Pony Trails fun is driving along with Mustangs as far as you can see, front and rear, so we were thankful to the Ocala Police Department for stopping traffic at major intersections so we could stick together until we exited I-75. From there, it was a scenic cruise on two-lane highways all the way to Cedar Key, where we were greeted by the local police chief as we rolled into town. From there, everyone filtered into the shopping district for lunch at one of the many waterside restaurants.

Afterwards, NPD Vice President Rick Schmidt invited everyone back to headquarters in Ocala to tour the company's impressive car museum, which is filled with pristine, low-mileage classic cars, including several Mustangs and Fords, of course. There was also a mobile chassis dyno where Mustang owners could back-up-or back-down-from their bench-racing boasts.