Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 1, 2009
Photos By: John Moore
The Barber road course was a busy place all weekend, with open track, Mustang Challenge qualifying and races, and drift exhibitions. Participants in the Group parking area had the best view from their grassy hill.

Now comes the anticipation of the Mustang's 50th anniversary in 2014. Whereas the 25th anniversary in Charlotte initiated these traditional five-year events, it and the 30th, 35th, 40th, and 45th shows will likely be overshadowed by the celebration of 50 years of Mustangs-assuming, of course, that Ford and the Mustang hang on during these tough economic times. Throughout the 45th, we heard speculation about the location for the 50th, with some Mustang owners suggesting Dearborn as the ideal spot (but is it too cold in April?) and others hoping for a return to Nashville, home of the 40th anniversary show. MCA officials appear to be hinting at a return to Barber.

"Did you see the Hertz Shelby that someone pulled out of a barn?" That was the question that circulated throughout Barber Motorsports Park during the Mustang 45th Anniversary Celebration. I heard it all day on Friday, and people kept stopping me on Saturday to make sure I had seen it. I hadn't. Finally, someone pointed to the upper tier of concours parking. Looking down a long row of pristine show cars and concours competitors, it wasn't hard to find because of the crowd surrounding it.

The parkway into Barber Motorsport Park was jammed on Saturday morning. Workers did a good job of routing attendees and participants to their respective parking and display areas.

Strangely out of place among the best Mustangs in the world, the crusty old GT350H tugged at the emotions. Coated by dust and dirt, some felt sorry for its neglected condition. Others dreamed of stumbling across just such a car and buying it from an owner who doesn't realize the value. A few hurried over in hopes that they could make an offer before someone told the owner what he had.

Amazed by the attention for his old Shelby, owner Andy Vann stood back and took it all in, answering questions and turning down offers. He knows what he's got, having purchased the car from a Birmingham Ford dealer in 1967, right after it was turned in by Hertz. Essentially, Andy is the second owner-after Hertz.

Andy told the story over and over. He and his wife drove the GT350H for 13 years. He says the hood was damaged when his wife ran into the back of a garbage truck. In 1981, he parked the Shelby because, "My wife was getting scared of all these people following her home and trying to buy it." The Shelby sat in his shop for the next 28 years-until the Thursday before the Mustang 25th Anniversary Celebration.

For anyone interested in a Marti Report for their '67-'99 Mustang, Kevin Marti (left) from Marti Autoworks was on hand with his laptop computer filled with Ford production information.

"A friend of mine works at the Barber museum," Andy told us. "He called and told me that I should drag the Shelby out to the Mustang show. He said to bring it just like it is-don't wash it, don't clean it." Andy says it took him all day to get the engine to fire. Then he discovered the brakes were shot, so he drove it to the track using the hand-brake.

Even in its dilapidated condition, the Shelby gave up little pieces of history. The sticker with the Hertz ID number, 0053.B.H., was still on the front bumper. When Andy looked in the glove box, he found an original Hertz rate schedule for the GT350H. In Birmingham, the '66 Hertz Shelby rented for $12 a day or $60 per week, plus 12-cents per mile.

We asked what Andy planned to do with the car after its celebrated display at the 45th. "I'm going to stick it back my shop until I have time to restore it." -Donald Farr

The 45th provided a parking display area for groups, like Mach 1s and Bullitts. The French contingent wowed everyone by renting 2010 Mustangs from Hertz and parking them, by color, in this precision lineup.

45th by the Numbers
Mustang Number One, VIN 100001, was on display inside the Barber museum
Number of original owners and their '64 1/2 Mustangs in the Original Owner display
Number of foreign countries represented at the 45th
Limit for number of Mustangs in the Thursday night cruise. We think there were more.
Tickets sold for the Saturday evening banquet
Estimated number of Mustangs, from show cars to race cars, that participated in the event
Number of participants and attendees on Friday and Saturday