Last night was the pre-rally party for the folks taking part in the Mustangs Across America rally that starts here in Los Angeles and will end up in Charlotte NC a week from now. This event will be the pinnacle of activies surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang.
But this is so much more than just about the car. Its about a connection and comradery through the car. It may have launced the whole pony car craze, and been the sole torch bearer at times, but it has a following around the world. Not bad for a car not officially sold outside the U.S.
In fact last night at the Saleen Factory in Corona hundreds of the fans joined together for a pre-rally across America for a party at the mothership for the Saleen Mustang. Folks representing Mustang clubs from several countries, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic to enumerate a few were there. All to share a night of fun looking at each others cars and sharing their own story with the Mustang. all excited for their 7 stop rally across America.
I met some interesting folks during the course of the night. All had a story about their Mustang and wanted to share it. Folks like the owner of the Shelby GT350 California Special that had an ingenious way to keep bugs off the grill and bumper and out of the radiator. The latter is important as older cooling systems would easily get plugged with bug guts and you’d have overheating problems. Their solution was simple window screen netting cut to fit and clipe with alligator clips to parts of the car that were out of sight. No nasty bug scraping and detailing at the end of a road trip and no worries of overheating.
In-n-Out was there and it was surprizing the number of people from around the globe that knew of the burger. Of course as an emissary of sorts I highly recommended them getting it animal style to complete their losing their In-n-Out virginity. No one was disappointed.
Of course there were the folks that were just gobsmacked I lived in L.A. What? The converstation went something like this…
“Where you from, which car is yours?”
“I’m with the media, we sold our Mustang years ago when we started having kids”
“Really, where are from?”
“Los Angeles”, beaming with pride
” Los Angeles, oh my how to you get around and survive”
“Its really easy once you learn the major roads and freeways”
“Well we heard from a young man in San Diego last night that the city is overrun with bloods and crips. Thats why we didn’t go into the city”
“Hmmm…you shouldn’t have let them scare you away. You missed seeing one of the most vibrant and exciting cities around. We have gangs like any urban area. To be truthful its been ages since I heard anyone mention either of them”
I knew I wasn’t going to change their minds, but I did get my two cents in. And I shuffled my way into the factory for a tour.
That was amazing. I never knew that Saleen was a manufacturer and built cars from the wheels up. They start with a factory fresh car, usually a Mustang, and tear it down and build it up from scratch. Its not an aftermarket, but a custom built car that has to be DOT certified for crash worthiness and CARB certified to meet our stringent emissions standards.
In fact there are several levels of customization for the Saleen Mustang. Starting with a factory fresh ‘stang they certify its readiness for the Saleen treatment the owner has selected and from there start to tear down and reassemble. The process takes as little as a week and as long as 6 weeks depending on the power and performance level you chose. Nothing is untouched. The final step is the road test and shake down to ensure it all will run they way it was intended.
Man, I wish we still had our Mustang. I’d give a minor appendage to join these folks for the Mustangs Across America run. I may try to catch the Mustang 50th Anniversary Event in Las Vegas if I can get away.
All pics by me. More from the evening in my flickr set.