1966 Ford Mustang GT Hardtop - Mustangs In Paradise
In Hawaii, Mustangs Are A Year-Round Experience
There's hardly a Mustang club in the United States that didn't celebrate Ford's 100th anniversary in one form or another. And that includes the Aloha Mustang and Shelby Club of Hawaii. Last May, the AMSCH staged its annual Mike McKenna-Windward Ford-sponsored "Mustang Madness & All Ford Show XI," a one-day charity event (for the American Cancer Society) at McKenna's Kailua dealership, located on the windy side of the island of Oahu.
Of course, it doesn't take much convincing to get "mainlanders" to visit the Hawaiian Islands. And when you're asked to serve as grand marshall at the AMSCH show, how can you resist? Past event dignitaries have included Carroll Shelby, SVT's John Coletti and Dave Dempster, My Classic Car host Dennis Gage, and Steve Saleen. Next year, William Clay Ford himself is rumored to be attending.
However, since 2003 is Ford Motor Company's 100th anniversary, the club chose to pay tribute to the oldest surviving Ford product in the Hawaiian Islands. The 1907 Model-N Ford runabout was recently restored by the Aloha Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America.
"This Model-N was assembled at the Ford Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit, and shipped directly to Hilo, Hawaii, in 1907," said former AMSCH President Don Johnston. "To our knowledge, it is the oldest surviving Ford product in the 50th state." According to Johnston, the Model-N was originally used to drive its owners around the plantations on the "Big Island."
Last May, the rejuvenated Model-N was in good company. All told, 125 Ford-powered entries (70 percent of them Mustangs) rolled up to McKenna's Kailua dealership to compete for honors in 18 classes, including a special "rumble contest." Out of that number, the mix of early versus late-model Mustangs was about 50/50.
Also noteworthy is the fact that, through the sales of three new Fords, McKenna was able to donate $300 to the "Spirit of Giving" program that benefits local schools. The dealership also donates a new car to Oahu's "Project Graduation" program each year for the student with the highest GPA. The nickname of the local high school? The Kalaheo Mustangs, of course!
While we were slumming in Hawaii, we took the opportunity to grab some photos of Hawaiian Mustangs. Unlike mainland Mustangers, owners there don't always have a Mustang shop just around the corner, and it can take days to have parts shipped across half the Pacific. Yet, the Mustangs of Hawaii are as nice as any on the U.S. mainland.
Na Lio Alani (The Orange Horse)Like many of us, Le Notley once owned "the Mustang that got away." In Le's case, it was a no-frills '65 Mustang coupe. Thirty-two years later, a lady who worked in Notley's office asked if he was interested in buying an "old" Mustang.
"I told her it would have to be one of the classics, but she didn't know what year the car was. I made an appointment to see the car, and I was not disappointed. As her husband hoisted the rollup garage door, I caught a glimpse of the chrome exhaust tips. It was a GT!"
The Mustang proved to be a fully loaded, fully restored Emberglo '66 GT hardtop with a white vinyl top, an Emberglo two-tone Pony interior, a 289 4V, and automatic. And the price was right. "We didn't even haggle," smiled Le. Suffice it to say, Le's prized GT is a head-turner wherever it goes on the Big Island of Hawaii. Called "Na Lio Alani," Hawaiian for "the Orange Horse," Notley's '66 Mustang GT coupe also bears the vanity plate "MINT 66." It's all that and more.