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Defining Moments In Mustang Monthly History
We celebrate our 35th anniversary with a look back at the covers, people, and cars that helped establish Mustang Monthly as the "All Mustangs, All the Time" magazine
Mustang Monthly remained dedicated to the '65-'73 Mustangs into the 1980s, but we couldn't ignore the ground-swell of enthusiasm for the fast and inexpensive 5.0L Mustangs. We incorporated coverage of each new performance model, from the GT to the SVO, along with the many hop-ups that became available for late-model Mustangs. In 1993, tech editor Mark Houlahan, an original owner of a '90 5.0L LX hatchback, suggested the addition of a monthly section just about 5.0L Mustangs. Called "5.0L Power!" Houlahan's new section debuted in the October 1993 issue as a 28-page "magazine within a magazine" with departments, tech articles, and features. It ran for a couple of years before being absorbed into the regular content of the magazine.
Sidenote: Unbeknownst to the Mustang Monthly staff, Jerry Pitt at Hot Rod's Mustang magazine was spearheading the launch of a new Petersen Publishing title called—you guessed it—5.0 Power. When Pitt learned about Mustang Monthly's new 5.0L Power! section, he quickly changed the name of the Petersen title to 5.0 Mustang, which today is a sister magazine to Mustang Monthly. After merging with former Dobbs' title Super Ford, it is now called 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords.
Sidenote II: Last year, Mark Houlahan returned to Mustang Monthly as tech editor. He still owns his '90 5.0L LX.
It's the Pitt
Editor Tom Corcoran resigned on January 17, 1994. I know the date because it was also the same day as the Northridge Earthquake in southern California (although I somehow don't think Corcoran's resignation had anything to do with it). Later in the week, I received a call from Jerry Pitt, editor of Petersen Publishing's Mustang & Fords magazine. His wife was unsettled by the earthquake and wanted to leave California. Jerry wanted to know if there was an opening at Mustang Monthly.
As a matter of fact…
After my three-month stint of filling in at the editor's chair after Corcoran's departure, Pitt hit the ground running when he arrived in Florida. With him, he brought the experience and knowledge from having worked at a larger publisher, along with contacts for freelancers, enthusiasts, and advertisers on the west coast. Although he was editor for only nine issues before moving into an editorial director position, Pitt's out-of-the-box ideas added a fresh slant and appearance to the magazine.
Sidenote: After packing up his California home and family for the move to Florida, Pitt made the trip cross-country as part of the Mustangs Across America cruise for the 30th Mustang Anniversary Celebration in Charlotte in 1994.
Sidenote II: Through all the buyouts, Pitt climbed the corporate ladder to eventually become publisher of Hot Rod. He's now senior marketing director for Source Interlink Media.
Okay, perhaps this is a stretch for a defining moment, but the December 1997 cover surely defined the often irreverent and always humorous tenure of editor Jeff Ford. With a feature about comedian Tim Allen's '68 Shelby G.T. 500KR and a tech story on "Garage Improvements," Ford seized on the perfect opportunity to spoof Allen's popular TV show at the time, "Home Improvement." With Ford as Tim "The Toolman" Taylor and tech editor Houlahan dressed in flannel as sidekick Al Borland, the pair of editors almost looked like the real thing. Houlahan gets the nod as most authentic.
Sidenote: Tim Allen actually mentioned Mustang Monthly in season eight (1998-1999) of Home Improvement during the "Young at Heart" episode. You can find it on YouTube.