Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2009

It was a great way for the NMRA to kick-off its 2009 season. In spite of gloomy economic forecasts and tumbling stock markets, plenty of Mustang and Ford owners shed their concerns for a weekend of racing and showing during the NMRA's Nitto Tire Spring Break Shootout on March 5-8.

As always, the season-opening event took place at Bradenton Motorsports Parks, just a hop, skip, and a jump down I-75 from the Mustang Monthly offices in Tampa. This year, the Mustang Club of West Central Florida served as the host club, so there were plenty of Mustangs, both vintage and late-model, in the show field. With over 300 cars registered, the show gathering set a record for the NMRA Florida event.

Editor's Choice
As members of the Sarasota-based Mustang Club of West Central Florida, Joy and Ed Woodward drove their '66 GT convertible to Bradenton to help with the club's host function at the show. They went home with the Mustang Monthly Editor's Choice award. And we weren't alone in our admiration of the Woodwards' Ivy Green GT-the car also won the NMRA's Director's Choice award and Sunday's Best Interior honor.

Purchased in 1992 while living in Illinois, the Woodwards put the Mustang through a 3½-year restoration that culminated in 2004. "We did about half the work ourselves," Joy said, with the other half handled by the Mustang Corral in Edwardsville, IL. Restored as an occasional driver, the Edwards added safety features like headrests and three-point seat belts. But after winning an award at the Mustang 40th Anniversary Celebration in 2004, the car has been spending more time at the shows.

The Woodwards have traced their Mustang back to its original owner, a Dr. Arnson from St. Louis, who loaded up his convertible with nearly every option on the "designed to be designed by you" Mustang option sheet. That explains the GT Equipment Group, Pony interior, air-conditioning, console, Rally-Pac, and AM/8-track radio. Joy and Ed added the Cobra dress-up kit to the 289 four-barrel engine.