On April 17, 1964 Ford’s Mustang arrived in the automotive world. That was 50 years ago. And shortly after its debut, Ford dealers took orders for over 22,000 of them at a base price of $2,000. Today, a Shelby GT, the Mustang’s hottest ‘tang, fetches upwards of $64,000.
Since its debut, Ford has sold 9.2 million Pony Cars as they’ve come to be called. And to celebrate this milestone, Ford has scheduled a host of birthday events in Detroit and around the country.
Starting April 10-16, Mustangs Across America is running a caravan from Los Angeles to Concord, N.C. where 500 Mustangs are expected to join the drive by the time the caravan arrives at Charlotte Motor Speedway where the Mustang Club of America is hosting the 50th birthday party.
April 13-16 has the Mustang of America Great American Pony Drive, which will be gathering Mustang owners from around the world to join them in Norman, OK where they’ll eventually meet at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
On April 16-17, Ford will put a 2015 Mustang convertible on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City. The car will be on public display 1,000 feet above the street both days from 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.
On April 16-20, both Mustang clubs will run simultaneous public events at both aforementioned speedways that will include displays of Mustangs from all 50 years. Also planned are Ford vehicle ride-and-drives, cruises and Mustang history sessions.
On April 17, and as it was in 1964, an original Mustang will be shown at the World’s Fair site in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Local Mustang club members will gather to see a 2015 Mustang on display plus other displays.
Also on April 17, there will be a Ford employee celebration at Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn.
Then on April 27, Fabulous Ford’s Forever Car Show will be at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. And May 3-4, the Petersen’s’ Museum in L.A. will celebrate 50 years of Mustang with special events and a car show with guests including champion drifter Vaughn Gittin, Jr. All totaled, there is expected to be over 5,000 Mustangs involved in these events along with 100,000 Mustang fans.
On the local scene, and not to be left out of the 50th birthday celebration and their own 6th birthday party, Allentown's America On Wheels will have a Mustang Cruise on Saturday, April 12 beginning at 10 a.m. The cruise will travel down Hamilton Street in downtown Allentown and continue on to the AOW Museum on Front Street.
Saturdays celebration will include the “Gone But Not Forgotten: Orphan Cars of the 50s to today” display. Orphan cars are those built by carmakers that are no longer in business. If you’re a car buff you’ll probably remember the Avant, Edsel, Ford’s Mercury, Studebaker and more recently, GM’s Pontiac and Oldsmobile brands.
Two other planned events include a Lehigh Valley Grand Prix demo where visitors can wear “alcohol goggles” that simulate the effects of driving drunk.
There will be a grand opening for Safety Square, which is a display that shows safe practices for various motor vehicles and pedestrians. Included too is a demonstration of liquid nitrogen by Air Products in Trexlertown. The latter is especially interesting in that liquid nitrogen is being used by various chefs to make specialty dishes including adding it to ice cream that creates “smoke” coming out of the nostrils upon exhaling when placing nitro infused ice cream in the mouth.
Then there’s the 5th annual (Mack Truck) Bulldog Beauty Contest on Sunday where contestants can vie for having a dog whose face only a mother could love.
The museum is located at 5 N. Front Street in Allentown. For exact times of the events check www.americaonwheels.org.