Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
December 16, 2013

Up to the Challenge

Cloudless and temperate mid-July weather, along with the considerable promotional skills of our old friend and Pro 5.0 veteran Joe DaSilva made the second annual Canadian Ford Challenge a well-attended gig. Staged once again at St. Thomas Raceway Park in rustic southwestern Ontario, the 2013 CFC was perhaps more of a huge gathering of Joe's many friends, customers, and fellow quarter-milers than it was a hard-core race affair. Even so, plenty of strip action, a car show, and a two-hour cruise from DaSilva Racing's east-Toronto headquarters were packed into the one-day event. Joe strives to keep it lowkey and friendly to dragstrip newcomers with a morning of open time trials, while offering an afternoon program of Pro Comp-style eliminations. At the end of the day, DaSilva Racing's distinctive maple-leaf–shaped trophies were awarded—whereupon the energetic Mr. DaSilva no doubt immediately started planning next year's Challenge. —Dale Amy

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Seeing Red

Mustang owners love to congregate. Owners of the same era often like to hang together at events. In recent years, even owners of Mustang with the same color have come together. The latest group of like-minded, like-hued Mustangers to gather is the Red Mustang Registry ( On May 12, 2013, the group embarked on a charity cruise to Dover International Speedway with the mission of donating all of the proceeds of the Get The Red Out DVD filmed at the event to the Hurrican Sandy Relief Fund.

"Our goal was to have fun with family and friends, and share our experience with others in order to raise money for those who need it most. If you should meet any RMR member, you will see that we promote family and community," said Daniel Ramey, vice president and vendor relations of RMR. "Our goal is to continue to do these events and increase efforts across the nation to do the same. It is more than just Mustang fun—it is Mustang family, and we are here to keep that tradition alive."

5.0 Feedback

Painful Chord

Your account of the accident in your Shelby struck a familiar, painful chord for me. My fourth Mustang was the car of my dreams, a red GT500. To pay for it, I sold my two other dearly loved Mustangs, including the first car I had ever owned. I kept the Shelby spotless and never drove it in bad weather. My friends and family complained that I cared for the car more than I did for them. (They were probably right).

Our last evening together started out normally, just a bunch of friends running around in a hot car. After a late spaghetti dinner, Jimmy and I dropped off the girls and headed back to where he had parked his car. In the 11 months I had owned the Shelby, it had never exceeded a speed limit, rolled through a stop sign, or squealed its tires. Jimmy, a Mopar guy, casually remarked that he was not so sure the high-performance Ford was everything it was cracked up to be. Without thinking, I took action to prove him wrong.

It was the stupidest thing I have ever done.

As we rounded a corner in a residential neighborhood, I stepped on the gas and saw the speedometer quickly climb to 90 mph. Jimmy shouted: "Stop sign!" However, I knew the road well enough to know that on the other side of that stop sign, a long, straight stretch led into a park. I did not slow down. Unfortunately, I failed to appreciate at that instant that the road on the other side of the stop sign led away at a 45-degree angle to the street I was on and that it was downhill from the cross-street. (It had always looked straight and level at low speed).

We blasted through the stop sign at about 90 mph, and the car became airborne. The road disappeared below and to the right, and we landed in grass before mowing down a concrete marker and smashing into a huge oak tree. The car came to a sudden stop in compete darkness, and the unthinkable was suddenly reality. My worst nightmare had come true. I uttered an expletive and forced the door open.

Jimmy and I suffered minor injuries and were released from the hospital the next morning. There was nothing salvageable about the car. The fiberglass doghouse was splintered, pieces of the suspension and drivetrain were scattered about, the floorboard was buckled, and not a single sheetmetal panel escaped unscathed. I vowed to rebuild, but the realities of economics and insurance claims intervened. The remains of my beloved '69 GT500 were hauled off on a flatbed.

Although it happened more than 30 years and seven Mustangs ago, I still keep a picture of my Shelby hanging on my wall to this day. It is a constant reminder to not do stupid things.

Rob Hickey
Louisville, KY

Wow, Rob. I always knew those Mopar guys were a bad influence. Seriously, that's a pretty good case for ignoring peer pressure. I can see why that loss sticks with you to this day. Thank goodness you and Jimmy, nor anyone else, were injured or seriously hurt. It must have been hard to let the car go, but the outcome could have been much worse.

Not Just a Car

Just read your Sept. '13 editorial—sorry to hear about PVT. The story about how you resurrect and rebuild it will be a good one! So you wanted to hear how I handled crashing a car I loved. Well the short answer is, I love my mother more than the car.

My father was a car guy. To put it in context, my work at an automotive company puts me in the company of the 1-percenters (like biker gangs) of car guys. He was easily in the 1 percent of the 1-percenters, having raced ARCA in the '50s and amassing a decent collector-car fleet. One of those cars was a '69 Mach 1. He bought it out of SoCal in 1980 from the original owner—literally a little old lady. So 100-200 miles a year were added to the 42,000 original miles over the next 20 years.

The car was a great example of a survivor with all original sheetmetal and powertrain, but enough replacements and patina that eliminated the anxiety of driving it. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2001, my father sold his car collection to support my mother's retirement. The '69 Mach 1 was the only vehicle he held onto.

My mother is the car's owner and I have become the caretaker. In the spring of 2011, the Mach 1 got new wheels and tires (just too hard to find decent 14-inch tires for the original wheels) to replace the dry-rotted Goodyear Eagle IIs. It was just a test drive, being the first drive out of storage and on the new wheels/tires. The car was driving great, and after a few miles down the country two-lane, I went to turn right. Hearing a horn, I looked in my mirror to see an SUV barreling at me like a torpedo. A last second yank on the steering wheel turned a passenger-side T-bone wreck into a hard glancing blow into the passenger-side door and fender.

My mother ran to the other vehicle, which had mowed down a stop sign and ended up in a corn field, to find out that everyone was alright in the other vehicle. After getting the Mustang off the edge of the side road, I met my mother at the edge of the corn field. She began crying uncontrollably, and I held her and tried to comfort her by repeating, "It's just a car." But that was an outright lie. It was not just a car.

My brain bounced between replaying the wreck to figure out why I did not avoid the accident and relishing the fact that no one was hurt. Then one of the SUV passengers came over and said "Don't cry. It's just a car." I could tell my mother wanted to slap her in the face. I wanted to punch her in the mouth. It's a good thing she was a girl.

The shock overcame me at first, then I realized helping my mother was more important than the car. A new door, fender, trim, and wheel/tire got the Mach 1 back on the road. The first drive was on the same road and made the intended turn—to make sure we knew it was just an accident.

Glad you are not hurt—and PVT is not "just a car."

Keith Daugherty
Via email

Thanks for putting my little pirouette into perspective, Keith. I realize it's not "just" a car, but as you learned, people are much more important that metal. I'm glad your story had a happy ending too.

Millersville Sleeper

I have been following the Cheaper Sleeper project since it's inception, mainly because I too have a '93 5.0 LX hatchback. I have owned this car since 1997 when I bought it in stock/unmolested condition with 30,000 miles.

During the 16 years that I've had the car my intent has always been to maintain a "sleeper" look while maintaining a drivetrain that is both powerful and reliable. About a couple of years ago, I finally reached the point with my car where all of the major drivetrain work is done. It's simply time to sit back and enjoy the car's 500 rwhp and 480 rwtq, and slowly take care of some of the less important, non-mechanical items when time and money allow it.

I realize the term "cheap" is subjective and can mean many things to many people. My experience has taught me that there isn't much about this hobby that I would consider cheap, especially if longevity is as important as e.t. and horsepower numbers. Maintaining these cars and pump gas is something beyond the cost of the original build and is always ongoing. I realize if you turn your own wrenches and find deals on parts you can reduce some of your costs.

I think using the term "cheaper" to describe a performance project in our hobby is almost humorous (ask our wives), and I'm wondering what the total cost of the build is so far. I'll also drop off some photos of what I call the Millersville Sleeper.

Mark DellAcqua
Millersville, MD

Cheap is simply a matter of perspective. Considering you can drop over $60,000 on a new GT500 before you start modding, a Fox that eschews image in favor of streetable performance is a veritable bargain. KJ bought the car for $1,000, and he's put about $6,000 into it so far. In today's world of Mustang projects, that seems like a pretty good deal. When you factor in that the car is reliable and fun to drive, it becomes an even bigger bargain.

Life in the Fast Lane

About six years ago I totaled my baby. It was a black '90 LX 5.0 hatch with red interior and a 25th anniversary badge on the dash. It was stock when I bought it, and my friend had recently removed the motor, freshened it up, and put it back in. The only thing I did was put on Flowmasters.

I had big plans for that car, and to make matters worse, the accident was my fault. Man that car was clean! I was bummed to say the least. Be thankful that you can fix yours.

So what did I do? I purchased a '93 Cobra look-a-like that someone had already started to play with. It was faster and prettier, but I didn't like it as much because someone else started the mods. I had to sell it a couple years ago because my wife and I had a baby boy. I tried to fight it, but I really didn't want to sleep on the couch every nite.

You have a sweet ride, and I know you will appreciate it even more when you get it back. I will get another Fox, and if I win the lotto, it might even grace the pages of your fine magazine.

I read something troubling in your story and I'm gonna give you some advice. Stay out of the slow lane! Only bad things happen in the slow lane. A trooper once told me, and I quote: "You can do 80." (The problem was he clocked me at 96.) I got a lot of tickets in my 'Stangs but if I was doing 80, they left me alone.

I don't know your driving style and I'm not trying to get you in trouble. I just stay out of the slow lane to keep away from the big rigs and the snowbirds that do 55 mph. It is just my opinion—you obviously should drive the way you want. But think about it—fast cars are made to go fast. With a whip like yours, you got no business in the slow lane. I don't care if it is raining.

This is the first time I have ever written about 'Stangs and driving them. It feels good I must say. I just wanted to write to let you know that I feel your pain. Good luck in the future with PVT—and stay outta that right lane.

Javas Buxton
Palm Beach County, FL
5.0 subscriber, currently 'Stangless

Thanks for continuing to subscribe, Javas. I hope that reading the mag will help you maintain the Mustang fever until you can get another Mustang. I'm also sorry to hear your LX was a loss, but maybe one day you and your offspring can build a Fox together and make it even more special.

As for my lane choices, I was only slowpoking it because of the sudden downpour I was caught in. Obviously playing it safe didn't work out, but I'll try to keep PVT out of the slow lane, weather permitting.

Short Times

It seems like the 2014 Shelby GT500 might be the last GT500 we see for a while. That's sad, but at least the car is going out on a 662hp high note... Ford is counting down to the Mustang's 50th anniversary with a series of videos posted on its YouTube channel at