Jim Smart
August 1, 2009

The Knott's Berry Farm Fabulous Fords Forever event has become a springtime pilgrimage for thousands of western Ford lovers. Many a new restoration or product debut has happened at Knott's over the years. Suffice it to say Knott's is where Fords, Mercurys, Lincolns, and Ford-powered vehicles amass each April so everyone can celebrate more than a century of Dearborn automobiles and engines.

Over 1,800 cars crammed into the 24th edition of the Fabulous Fords Forever show, which was a smorgasbord of Ford anniversaries: 45 years of Mustang, 50 years of Galaxie (although Galaxie hasn't been in production since the early 1970s), Mercury's 70th anniversary, and 40 years of '69-'71 Boss Mustangs. With each of these anniversaries came some of the best cars from the West, some as far away as Canada. Over a thousand Mustangs from 45 years of production turned out to salute the anniversary milestone. Although activity for the Fox-body Mustang seems to have slowed in recent years, you couldn't have convinced us at Knott's. There were more '79-'04 Mustangs than any other generation, and with a fiercely loyal following.

Mercury fans showcased some of the best examples from nearly three-quarters of a century of upscale luxury cars, including the Mustang's corporate cousin Cougar. Ford's most memorable full-size carline, the Galaxie, stood out with some striking Galaxie sedans, hardtops, convertibles, retractables, and fastbacks. We even have to admit feeling awed by the parade of classic Pintos, which took us back to our youth in the 1970s.

While Chip Foose and Steve Saleen signed autographs, enthusiasts canvassed the show for old friends and a chance to share memories and swap stories. We ran into old buddy Don Fallon, who sold his concours restored '70 Boss 302 years ago and got into Special Service Mustang police cars from the 1980s instead. His Nevada Highway Patrol Mustang coupe made its debut this year at Knott's.

The Boss Mustang Reunion attracted dozens of '69-'71 Boss Mustangs, ranging from concours restored to low-mileage originals. Jim Harris' '70 Boss 302, sun-bleached paint and all, attracted the most attention because people crave a good "found in a barn" tale. They lined up to hear Jim's story about how the car sat in someone's side yard for a couple of decades before someone turned Jim on to its existence.

Five Trans Am Boss 302 Mustang race cars were on display to give everyone the thrill of hearing what these rocket ships sounded like when they were blazing a trail of greatness across the United States nearly a half-century ago. Les Werling also showed up with his Bud Moore '70 Boss 302 tribute car and Ford C-800 cab-over car hauler, which are featured elsewhere in this issue.

Ford tells us that over 25,000 people turned out to witness the greatest annual gathering of products of the blue oval in the American West-a record according to Sandra Badgett of Ford Public Affairs. Participants registered from 11 states and Canada, including distances as far away as Nebraska, Idaho, Colorado, and Texas.

For more information on Knott's Berry Farm's Fabulous Fords Forever car show staged every April, go to www.fordcarclubs.org or call 626/914-3738 for a recording.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery