Jim Smart
December 29, 2006
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In 1980, no one believed this magazine would still be in print let alone witnessing the kind of passion for these cars that remains approaching three decades later. Hot Rod's Mustang magazine was launched as a newsstand one-shot annual in 1980. Two more Mustang annuals followed in 1981-82, produced by the editors of Hot Rod Magazine.

Because the editors at Hot Rod were themselves die-hard enthusiasts, Mustang was in the hands of people with a passion for exciting automobiles. The late Gray Baskerville was one of them. Gray left an indelible mark on anything he wrote about. He was an ordinary hot rodder who did extraordinary things in a career spanning more than three decades. Marlan Davis, technical editor at Hot Rod, weaved his magic at both Hot Rod and Mustang.

Petersen Publishing Company stuck its toe in the water and tested the classic Mustang niche before jumping in with both feet. Watching the apparent success smaller publishing companies were having with niche titles like Mustang Monthly, Petersen decided to take Mustang quarterly in the winter of 1982-83 with Volume 1, Number 1.

In 1980, classic Mustangs were still affordable, good-looking rides available for a song. And this is what inspired special interest magazines like this one, and our sister publication, Mustang Monthly. These new-found publications were niche titles that came of the resurgence of Mustang mania - renewed interest in the car that started the pony car stampede 16 years earlier.

Why the big interest in classic Mustangs in 1980? Because Ford Motor Company wasn't building exciting Mustangs at the time. The most powerful factory Mustang available at the time had a downsized 302 (255ci) with two-barrel carburetion, metric wheels and radials, and an optional fake convertible top. There was no GT nor was there a Mach 1. The Cobra name was so diluted by carbureted turbo four banger technology and cheesy looking graphics that it had lost its meaning. No one took the Cobra name seriously at the time. People who loved and appreciated Mustangs went with tried and proven rides like Mach 1, GT, Shelby, Boss, and more. An industry and subculture were born of a steamy, lingering passion for sporty classics.

Twenty-five years ago, you could snap up a Shelby or Boss Mustang for $1500 depending on condition and the seller. Garden-variety six and V-8 ponies could be had for anywhere from $100 to $1000. Some people were just happy to get these old clunkers out of their yards and driveways. Imagine being able to buy a convertible for under a grand. Ponder a 289 High Performance GT fastback for triple digits. Mach 1s could be gleaned out of the local classifieds for hundreds of dollars. Much of it had to do with price and availability of fuel in 1980 - and a huge sleeping market yet to be awakened.

When this title was first published in 1980, I was a sergeant in the United States Air Force, stationed in the dust bowl region of Western Oklahoma. At night, I wrenched on Lockheed C-5 Galaxies and C-141 Starlifters parked on the Altus Air Force Base flight line, taking in the fresh aroma of freshly tilled soil and rich Midwestern agriculture. By day, I played with two classic Mustangs - a '67 hardtop and a '68 fastback. I still have the '67 hardtop. At the time, I hadn't a clue there were magazines dedicated to the cars I loved so much. I would discover Hot Rod's Mustang on the newsstand when it was little more than a Petersen annual. I still have that magazine because I never throw anything sporting the Mustang name away.

This magazine wasn't much to write home about when it was launched because it was a slap together of Ford snippets from Hot Rod Magazine on cheap newsprint - pretty unimpressive by today's standards. In those days, we were thrilled to find anything in print dedicated to Fords. We snatched up copies of Mustang just to read about something in print that wasn't a Chevrolet.

Hot Rod's Mustang has always been mostly about modified Mustangs. Our technical articles in the beginning, as you might imagine, addressed how to get more power from a Ford V-8. Not much has changed. We're still showing you how to make more power in these pages. In 1980, we were impressed with getting 350 horsepower from a small-block Ford. Today, cam, head, and stroker technology is bringing us 600 horsepower - unheard of in 1980 on a street car.

We've long shown our readers how to do things themselves - build transmissions and rear ends, freshen up old interiors, prep and paint cars, replace bumpers and trim work, troubleshoot electrical systems, straighten out unhappy cooling systems, install headers and dual exhausts, pick the right wheels and tires, and a whole lot more. We've always been good at this because Hot Rod's Mustang has always been staffed with enthusiasts who do this stuff themselves. Most of what we have run in this magazine through the years has been on our own cars and those of friends - things we have tried ourselves and shared with our readers.

Most of our car features in the early 1980s were about wild and crazy modified Mustangs at a time when the trend was toward concours restorations. Restoring to stock was politically correct, yet most enthusiasts wanted to modify and drive their Mustangs. Seems modifying and driving a Mustang was a West Coast thing while restoring to stock and trailering was traditionally Midwest and East Coast. Hot Rod's Mustang never wavered much from modifying and driving, which should tell you something about this magazine's West Coast roots.

Mustang has always been about speed, power, and personal expression - with the occasional smattering of antiseptic factory originals. From the start, Mustang was a well-balanced magazine, with careful attention to all readers. We showed our readers how to build a powerful supercharged small-block. Two pages later, we tackled restoration issues. Mustang quickly proved to be the magazine for just about everyone who loved Mustangs. Circulation soared to 200,000 readers with a healthy advertising base that consisted of names and treasured friends still with us today.

Hot Rod Technical Editor, Marlan Davis, took our readers to Air Flow Research (AFR) in the spring of 1984 for a look at how to improve 351W head airflow. Marlan is still with Hot Rod Magazine. AFR manufactures its own cylinder heads today. Our cohort in crime, Marvin McAfee of MCE Engines in Los Angeles, built dyno engines for Air Flow Research at the time.

Hot Rod's Mustang - A Commitment To Ford Enthusiasts

When Petersen Publishing Company decided to take a crack at the classic Mustang niche market, it started with annual one-shots just to see who would bite. A lot of people did. These annuals became keepers for personal reading libraries all over the world. With each Mustang annual, Petersen begin to see the value in addressing the Mustang market on a more frequent basis. With Editorial Director Lee Kelley at the helm, the decision was made to take Hot Rod's Mustang quarterly. Our good friend and long-time associate, Cam Benty, assumed control of the magazine and set the tone for issues to follow. Bruce Caldwell, a Hot Rod staff editor at the time, took the reins from Cam and was editor for many years from his home in Seattle, Washington.

Under Bruce's direction, Hot Rod's Mustang took on definition and became a legitimate competitor to Mustang Monthly Magazine. Because Petersen's primary focus was mainstream titles like Hot Rod and Car Craft (some jokingly refer to it as "Camaro Craft"), Mustang didn't change much. It wasn't until 1985 that Mustang became bi-monthly. And it would be more than a decade before it became monthly.

Our Advertisers

In our first two issues, there was no advertising. In Issue Number 3, we sold advertising space to names that remain with us a quarter-century later. Others have come and gone. Ironically, our first advertiser was our competition in Florida - Mustang Publications - that originally published Mustang Monthly. That first ad from Central Florida publisher Larry Dobbs included useful titles we've long been familiar with - Mustang Recognition Guide, How To Restore Your Mustang, and Mustang Value Guide. These titles enabled Larry to grow Mustang Publications into one of the greatest publishing success stories in modern history. Two of these successful Mustang book titles remain in print, available from California Mustang.

Other advertisers in 1982 including The Paddock, Mustang Club of America, Mustang Headquarters, American Mustang Parts, Jim Osborn Reproductions, Ford Parts Warehouse, Tony D. Branda, Larry's Mustang & Thunderbird Parts, Carroll Shelby Sportswear, National Parts Depot, Cobra Restorers, Dallas Mustang Parts, Firestone, Engle Cams, Glazier's Mustang Barn, Kanter Auto Products, Auto Custom Carpets, VDO Instruments, Quickor Engineering, McLeod Clutches, Eastern Mustang Specialty, California Mustang, Valley Ford Parts, Mustang Mart, Circle City Mustang, Mustang of Chicago, and Auto Krafters.

Our first Cover 4 color advertiser was our competition - Mustang Publications. Florida publisher, Larry Dobbs, put it all on the line to launch Mustang Monthly and challenge the big guns at Petersen, Argus, and McMullen Publishing. In 1999, Dobbs would sell his operation to one of the very companies he competed with for many years - Petersen. This is why Mustang Monthly and Mustang & Fords are published by the same company today.

Our largest advertiser, Ron and Dave Bramlett's Mustangs Plus, was just getting started in Stockton, California 25 years ago - fueled by an interest in classic Mustangs. Ironically, the Bramletts got interested in Mustangs as a result of their interest in Corvettes. At the time, Mustangs Plus operated out of what was little more than a trailer and a small patch of California soil. Today, Mustangs Plus encompasses a lot of square footage along North Wilson Way in Stockton - with thousands of customers around the world. Advertisers like The Paddock, National Parts Depot, and Mustangs Unlimited have several locations around the country - something they couldn't say in 1980.

Most of the advertisers just mentioned remain in business today - proof positive of the timeless passion out there for classic Mustangs and vintage Fords. Other advertisers have faded away - unable to compete in a fiercely competitive marketplace. When you've been in print as long as we have, advertisers become more than just business associates; they become friends and extended family. We're grateful for not only their business, but also their friendships.

Who can forget Carl Sprague of Custom Auto Sound? Carl remains a wonderful friend with the dry wit of the late comedian, Pat Paulson. I greatly admire Fred and Sue Glazier of Glazier's Mustang Barn out of Souderton, Pennsylvania. Fred is the first person I ever ordered Mustang parts from back in 1978. In those days, you got genuine Ford parts because the reproduction parts weren't available. The Glaziers remain treasured friends I've personally known for nearly 30 years. Fred earned his living in the pharmaceutical trade when he came to realize he enjoyed restoring Mustangs more. Glazier's Mustang Barn was born - and on the property where Fred grew up. Whenever I see Fred at Carlisle, it's like coming home.

Our mission has always been showing our readers how to build and modify everyday Mustangs on a wide variety of budgets. MUSTANG always had a little something for everyone, including how to buy a classic Mustang to begin with.

The Bramletts of Mustangs Plus have been extended family for more than a decade. Jon Enyeart of Pony Carburetors remains a drinking buddy and a great storyteller anytime we hook up at a show. Count on a good time anytime you hook up with Mike and Sandy Eaton of Eaton Detroit Spring. Mike has always managed to keep us in stitches scratching his back in a restaurant with a dinner fork or telling jokes we've never heard before. Jerry Choate of Scott Drake Enterprises brings lots of Caecilian Italian character to the table whenever we get together. I've always loved his style - ready to take on anything placed before him. Challenge Jerry - then get out of the way. I've known Lauren Fix of Classic Tube (her father, the late George Jonas, founded Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation) since she was 18. Today, Lauren is a seasoned parent, wife, entrepreneur, and television personality who never lost her love of Fords. She and her husband, Paul, founded Classic Tube many years ago. Her brother, Mike, continues to run Stainless Steel Brakes.

We've watched the more established advertisers, like Holley, Edelbrock, Comp Cams, and Crane Cams, go through abundant changes. Tammy Holland at Comp Cams, for example, has been by our side for most of the past 25 years. We call Tammy when it's time to build an engine. And we e-mail her just to say, "Hey!" in true Tennessee style. We fondly remember Racing Head Service (RHS) when Ivars Smiltnieks was alive, kicking, and building engines for us. And when we're around Memphis, we like to drop in on Steve Davis of Performance Distributors - again just to say hello and swap lies. We remember when we had the good fortune of shaking hands with Steve's father, the late Kelly Davis, a terrific man who founded the company long ago. Kelly was a good man who lost a lengthy battle with lung cancer. We've learned the greatest challenge of long-time friendships isn't staying in touch - it is saying goodbye...

Through The Years - Our People

All in good fun - we've always kept our sense of humor at Mustang & Fords. Ted and Cal' at Scotty's Body Shop set up this lead shot for an article we did on frame straightening.

We can't help but reflect on the terrific people we have known and worked with here at Mustang & Fords. Likely the most memorable character is our old boss from long ago - John Dianna - who was group publisher at Petersen for many years. Dianna was a taskmaster, a man bent on getting it right. Few people liked "J.D.", as many called him (many had other names for him too). But John Dianna knew how to run publishing operation, and you're going to learn more about him later in this article. There were a lot of jokes about John's height and his "Napoleon" approach to running an operation. You could always count on, "that's a stupid idea, now get out of my office!" But John Dianna ran a predictable operation that rewarded associates for a job well done. When you did your job well, you never heard from him. But if you didn't, you did.

I fondly remember Chris Horn, who was our publisher for a time back in the 1990s. Chris was a practical joker and a lot of fun to travel with. You could always count on a surprise at hotel check out. Typically, the hotel clerk would look at you and say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Smart, but your credit card is declined..." In frustration, I'd hand them another one. Same thing, "sorry - this one is declined too..." Then you'd hear Chris across the lobby laughing hysterically - a clear indication that you had been set up.

If you feel good about what you see in Mustang & Fords, you can thank the art director - and we've had many of them through the years. Our current art director, Steve Stratton, has weaved his magic at other Primedia titles, including Mustang Monthly. Today, Steve is turning Mustang & Fords around visually and we like it. We've had good art directors - and we've had our share of bad ones. Who can forget the talents of Thomas Voehringer, our art director back in the mid-1990s. He was extraordinary, right-brained, and always knew what I wanted as editor. Thomas had a common sense approach to doing a magazine. I'd think it and he'd do it nearly always as envisioned. That's rare in a world full of editors and art directors. Thomas also loved Fords - in particular Mavericks and Ford Econoline pick-ups.

We've been in the good company of Contributing Editor Jerry Heasley since our beginnings. Heasley can be found at virtually every major Ford event in the country. We found him running his mouth at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals in 2005 and snapped this picture.

Another element crucial to the success of any magazine is its writers and photographers. We've had magazine staffers and we have had contributor editors - freelancers who have brought significant talent to the table. Of all the contributing editors we've had the pleasure of working with, one name stands out more than the rest - Jerry Heasley. Heasley comes from a unique genetic code born of the Texas panhandle soil and spirit. Although Heasley calls Texas home, he's rarely there. Heasley is the busiest writer in automotive journalism. He stays busy because Heasley has always had a nose for news. In particular, he's always had a nose for unusual Fords hence his "Rare Finds" column in this magazine for the better part of its history.

Jerry Heasley is more than just a columnist in Mustang & Fords; he has been an institution in our industry for the better part of 35 years because he's as in love with automobiles as we are. Jerry has always had a fireside chat style our readers crave. What's more, his talent as a photographer has only gotten better over time. When Jerry gets behind a camera, he makes love to the subject, finding unique angles and positions that grab our readers. They grab us too.

For many years, we enjoyed the talents of Eric Rickman, a Petersen shooter who joined Robert Petersen when the company was founded in 1948. Rickman always had a story to tell and always managed to dodge the bullets of life by a whisker. He survived his share of close-shave drag racing mishaps during his time on the road. That's what happens when you have a front-row seat for some of the fastest cars around.

Another terrific guy who has served us well is Isaac Martin, who was our technical editor, and later the editor of Chevy High Performance. When the pressures of publishing became too much for Isaac, he moved on to full-time freelance writing where he could enjoy his freedom and stay closer to home. He was a terrific tech editor who knew Fords better than anyone, with a style and personality our readers could relate to.

When I think of great magazine photographers, I think of Scott Killeen and Randy Lorentzen. Most will agree no one does it better than Randy, who shoots most of those awesome shots you see in Ford ads and sales literature. Scott remains a friend who owns his own business today along with his wife, B.J. When working with Scott, you never doubted where you stood. Scott would bark, "I'm gonna smack your momma right in the mouth!" which made it all quite clear. In his quest for perfection, Scott was always on the ragged edge emotionally, but always great fun to work with. We have missed him for many years at Mustang & Fords. Jim Brown is another former Petersen shooter currently living in Oregon we have missed through the years. He always had a philosophical approach to everything. Christy Jewel, another Petersen photographer, was always as her name implied - a jewel in every way, and a splendid shooter. She was also a terrific friend and colleague.

Sweeping, Positive Changes

Throughout the 1980s, Petersen executive John Dianna watched Hot Rod's Mustang from a distance with his creative wheels spinning. He understood Mustang needed significant changes in order to be a runaway success. He saw the potential and was hell-bent to get it there. When Dianna became group publisher at Petersen's Automotive Performance Group in 1989, he took charge of Mustang, and immediately ordered changes in both appearance and editorial content. John got what he asked for - Mustang with a fresh look and an improved editorial format.

In 1990, John sat in his office high above Sunset Blvd and thumbed through Mustang. Despite a lot of positive changes under his direction and in the capable hands of Editor Bruce Caldwell, John believed it was time for more significant changes in the magazine. He had his eye on a young Petersen staff editor at Car Craft who showed promise. That staff editor was Jerry Pitt, who is publisher at Hot Rod Magazine today. When John offered Jerry Hot Rod's Mustang, it was a decision that would forever change the magazine's persona and direction.

"When John Dianna provided me with the opportunity to edit Mustang & Fords in 1990, my goal was to infuse my enthusiasm for Ford products into the magazine," he tells us. And that's exactly what Pitt did under Dianna's guidance. When Pitt assumed control of Mustang & Fords, it took on the adrenaline and passion of a man who has always loved Fords. Jerry's interest in Fords came naturally because Fords were all his father had ever owned.

We remember Hot Rod's Mustang primarily for the classics, but as interest in the high-performance FOX-body Mustangs began to ramp up in the mid-1980s, it was no secret attitudes were changing. Ford was building exciting Mustangs again with fuel injection, roller tappets, disc brakes, beefy suspension systems, meaty rubber, torso-embracing bucket seats, five-speed transmissions, and more. What's more, these were Mustangs you could drive Monday through Friday and take to the racetrack on Saturday night. It was impossible to ignore.

Mustang & Fords has always been about stepping outside the box. This is one of our oddest spreads from the mid-1980s - four-wheeling in a classic Mustang.

Not everyone will agree with this statement, but it seems the Mustang's most pivotal year was 1985 when it received roller tappets, quad-shocks, larger wheels and tires, a meaty rear axle, and dual exhausts. For us, that's when the pendulum began to shift toward late-model Mustang performance. In 1986, Ford fitted the Mustang with fuel injection, which some believe symbolized the end of a tunable Mustang. Not us. We were determined to learn how the darned things worked and went after them aggressively. Ford had a solid, reliable performer in its 5.0L High Output Mustang GT and LX.

As Ford refined the Mustang, we went along for the ride and liked what we saw and experienced. First, we became acquainted with Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection (SEFI), we started showing our readers how to tune it themselves. In due course, the aftermarket got involved, bringing its own set of fast-quick solutions to performance challenges. Collective efforts between our advertisers and editorial department enlightened our readers, making them more comfortable with the mysteries of automotive electronics.

When it looked like Ford might chloroform the Mustang name, a die-hard enthusiast inside Ford, John Coletti, went to bat for the most successful American automotive nameplate ever. Coletti was a Ford engineer who convinced Ford management to give him a shot at redesigning the Mustang. He amassed a team of very committed, talented people to develop an all-new FOX-4 Mustang with the heart and soul of Ford's original. Ford called it SN-95. Job 1 was scheduled for October of 1993 at the Dearborn Assembly Plant.

Ford launched the SN-95 Mustang with a 100-city introduction in September of 1993. Enthusiasm for the new Mustang was overwhelming, and a powerful message for those of us in the magazine business. The 1982-94 5.0L High Output Mustang had a following all its own. What's more, a sizable percentage of that following were classic Mustang buffs.

Jerry Pitt and John Dianna got their heads and gut instincts together to plan and produce a spin-off of Mustang & Fords to be known as 5.0 Mustang, which has been in print since 1994. Mustang & Fords could then focus on the subject it knew best - classic Mustangs and vintage Fords.

In 1988 - we managed to get Carroll Shelby, Steve Saleen, and Rick Titus together at our Sunset Blvd studio for a cover shoot. At the time, you couldn't have convinced us ol' Shel' would still be around 19 years later. Whether you like him or don't like him, Carroll Shelby is a living legend and survivor. He's 83 and likely the oldest living heart and kidney transplant recipient. What's more, Shelby remains hell on wheels - with his name on new Mustangs again. And who said it would never happen again?

In January of 1994, my telephone rang in Tennessee. It was Jeff Tann, a friend of mine and editor of Rod & Custom Magazine at the time. "Jimbo, Jerry Pitt is going to Mustang Monthly Magazine in Florida. John Dianna would like to talk with you about Mustang & Fords." Although I was flattered by the prospects of being editor of Mustang & Fords, I was not interested in moving back to Los Angeles. At the time, I was editor of the Mustang Club of America's Mustang Times and had that responsibility to consider.

A few days later, I was on a 757 bound for LAX and an interview with John Dianna. I was honored that Dianna thought of me, and terrified of what it would be like to follow in Jerry Pitt's footsteps. Jerry was very good - and had done an extraordinary job of turning Mustang & Fords around. It would be up to me to maintain the momentum. I would have that honor for five. It would be a slippery fast five years that would come to an end as quickly as it began.

The word "Restomod" was born on my watch, but the idea was nothing terribly new. Modifying classic Mustangs is as old as the Mustang itself. Enthusiasts were bolting do-dads onto Mustangs and other vintage Fords when factory air was still in the tires. Restomod was simply a more refined approach to building a modified Mustang. Chevy guys called it "Pro Touring". Some of the muscle car magazines called it "restified" or "rectification". We wanted a clean expression of what this thing called modifying was. Because "modifying" was such a dirty word at the time in the eyes of purists, I came up with "restomod". When I called Ron Bramlett at Mustangs Plus with the word, he liked it, and that was good enough for me. We kicked other words around. In the end, "restomod" stuck, becoming widely used throughout the industry. Ron liked the word so much he trademarked it as a Mustangs Plus brand name.

When I became editor of Mustang & Fords, the trend toward concours restorations was still very strong - and that's where we were as a magazine. We focused on the best restorers in the country - Bob Perkins, Drew Alcazar, Greg Donohue, and others who produced concours restorations. However, there were fresh rumbles of thunder from an increasing number of people who were personalizing classic Mustangs in ways that made these cars more fun to drive. This approach was certainly interesting to me. Danny Banh of D.B. Performance Engineering had built himself a Canary Yellow '65 Mustang hardtop sporting fuel-injected 5.0L V-8 power, five-speed, late-model Mustang seats, and big 16-inch wheels. The car was striking and it sounded good. It would wind up on our cover twice - and in our pages three times. Sadly, it was totaled in a bad accident during our last cover shoot of the car six years ago.

Around the time I met Danny Banh, I reconnected with an old friend from the 1980s - Ron Bramlett of Mustangs Plus in Stockton, California. Ron demonstrated his forgiving nature by letting me off the hook for misspelling his name when I was at Mustang Monthly Magazine in the mid-1980s. I spelled his name "Barnbutts" in error because that's how it looked like it was spelled in the letter I received from a reader who knew Ron. Not a soul in Northern California has ever let Ron forget either in 22 years.

In those first conversations with Ron, we talked about modified versus stock, and which had the bigger hook. We concluded the hobby was going nowhere if enthusiasts were going to be limited to factory original restorations. The stress of concours restorations ran a lot of people off who wanted to do more with their Mustangs. Ron introduced me to tastefully modifying a classic Mustang with elements that not only made them look better - but also perform better. Ron pushed for ideas that made Mustangs safer. He was also an idea machine bent on making classic Mustangs personal and distinctive.

From our late-night conversations and visits came ideas that would germinate into drivable modified Mustangs to be treasured and enjoyed. Ben Smith, retired Ford engineer and father of the stillborn Mustang Skyliner, decided to produce Mustang retractable kits for classic Mustang hardtops. In short, cut the roof off a cheap Mustang hardtop and install a retractable roadster top with chassis stiffening kit. It was a terrific idea that disturbed purists and beat excitement into the hearts of those interested in going over the top with a classic Mustang. The chassis stiffening kit would later become a popular retrofit for just about anyone wanting solid underpinnings.

From Ben Smith's retractable idea came Ron's idea for a classic Mustang roadster. Jokingly, he called it the Ronster. The name stuck and an awe-inspiring Sapphire Blue Metallic (we call it purple) Mustang chop-top was the result. When the Mustangs Plus Ronster appeared on our September 1997 cover, it inspired readers to do the same. Many ideas like the Ronster were conceived via think tank sessions among good friends interested in sharing ideas. When it was time to choose a color for the Ronster, Ron came down to Los Angeles and we walked Galpin Ford's lot searching for just the right color - a color that would look awesome under the lights. We both arrived at a 1995 color very popular at the time - Sapphire Blue Metallic Clearcoat - perfect for the Ronster.

When we became a monthly magazine in the late 1990s, it became necessary to add a feature editor. That's when Miles Cook, technical editor at Mustang Monthly, offered up his big brother, Wayne. When Wayne Cook and I shook hands nine years ago and began chewing the fat, I knew he would be a good fit for Mustang & Fords. He has been with us ever since because Wayne offers the same qualifications the rest of us have - pure passion for the breed - and time-proven knowledge (and skinned knuckles) to share.

We're especially proud of this cover conceived by photographer Scott Killeen and art director Thomas Voehringer for the September 1995 issue of Mustang & Fords. We had a ball doing this one and remain thrilled with it 12 years later. It conveyed our new "restomod" message centered around speed and performance.

In 1999, publisher John Cobb concluded it was time for a breath of fresh air at Mustang & Fords. As luck and timing would have it, we acquired Dobbs Publishing Group at the same time, getting Editorial Director Donald Farr in the process. Donald would replace me as editor, bringing a fresh approach to the magazine born of his success at Super Ford, Mustang Monthly, and Muscle Car Review.

Eager to chart a new course in the world of Internet magazines after many years in print media, Donald soon moved on to Mustang Weekly for an extended stay that would last three years. Larry Jewett, a motorsports editor, stepped in to replace Donald, bringing a unique style to Mustang & Fords. When Internet journalism just wasn't working for Donald, he decided to come back to Mustang Monthly Magazine. Jeff Ford, editor of Mustang Monthly for eight years, was moved over to Mustang & Fords in 2003. Larry returned to what he did best - motorsports writing as the editor of Circle Track. Because Jeff had unique wit and was a terrific writer, he was a good fit for Mustang & Fords. It is unfortunate Jeff left us when he did because he had a special devotion to the cars bearing his name. We miss Jeff.

In 2005, Mustang & Fords found itself in a predicament magazines find themselves in from time to time. It didn't have an editor. And for six months, it didn't have an editor, which is when Donald and I filled in. Mark Houlahan, technical editor at 5.0 Mustangand Mustang Monthly, was a seasoned automotive writer with 13 years under his belt. He had the unique blend of gasoline in his veins and he bled Ford Blue. Mark was invited to be editor of Mustang & Fords in the spring of 2005.

As you cruise through the pages of Mustang & Fords Magazine, take time to reflect on what it took for us to get here - and what it takes to remain in print. Our objective in 2007 is much the same as it was when "Charlie's Angels" was a hit television show - to think like our readers and do the best job possible. We've been through a lot of ups and downs in 25 years - and we're in the middle of a turnaround at this time. Before you is a staff of magazine writers that has cut its teeth in the trenches of machine shops, service departments, restoration facilities, and home garages from coast to coast. We've been there and know what you're going through. What's more, it is our passion for the rides you hold dear that keeps us going month after month - and as incredible as it may seem - for a quarter century.