1966 Mustang Rally
In May 1966, over 1,300 Mustangs participated in a southern California dealer-sponsored road rally
Via the grapevine, we heard of a big rally-party for Mustangs only, to be promoted by Ford through their Southern California Dealer Association. Not having a Mustang in the stable, we entered the rally in a G.T. 350, generously lent for the occasion by Shelby American (Ed. note: Not surprising since SCG Tech Editor Jerry Titus was a Shelby team driver). A three-hour SOP (Editor's note: for "seat of the pants" with just watch and odometer) rally… "A breeze!" we thought. It was actually 10 rallies, with 10 different starting points from Santa Barbara to San Diego. After the final checkpoint, all the cars were to converge at the Pomona Fairgrounds for a barbecue lunch and the numerous trophies and merchandise awards.
We got our first shock when we pulled into our San Fernando starting point and found 90-odd Mustangs waiting for their starting time. This was quite a strong turnout for a Saturday rally, and this was only one of the 10 starting locations! On our first SOP effort, we guessed at the speedometer error and everything else, obviously over-guessing as we tallied a seven-minute early error. Leaving the final control, it seemed as if every other make of car had vacated the freeway to make room for the Mustangers, as all the rallies joined the common route to Pomona.
In all, more than 1,300 Mustangs assembled—possibly the largest one-day assembly of a single marque-model car yet. The crews ranged from the normal two-people-per-car to the whole family. More than half of the entries had never been on a rally before, including the overall winners—two girls from Pasadena—who zeroed the whole run. They took home two huge trophies, a set of fancy Mustang wheels, plus the Grand Prize—a color television set.
Editor's Note: We recently stumbled across a series of images in the Source Interlink Media photo archives from what was obviously a large Mustang gathering in May 1966. Noting that the shots came from Sports Car Graphic, we dug through summer 1966 issues and found a small news piece in the August edition about a Mustang Rally promoted by Ford's Southern California Dealer Association. According to the report, over 1,300 Mustangs—all '65-'66 models—participated. Only one photo was included in the magazine, so we're adding a few outtakes to this reprint of the original article.