45th Mustang Club Of America Celebration - Over Whelming Celebration
The Mustang Club Of America Threw A Mustang 45th Birthday Party And Everybody Came
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.
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.
"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
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