Gunners Garage

Mustang Magic

By John Gunnell

The debate has always been whether the first Mustang was a 1964-1/2 or a 1965 model. We all know the “pony car” was introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 1, 1964, but the cars all had 1965 VINs. So, if all the first run Mustangs were ’65 models, then this year is actually the model’s 50th birthday.

This all has nothing to do with the Manawa Mustang Round-Up held on Aug. 1, except in the sense that this 4th annual show was a big party for Mustang owners. They even drew over 100 Mustangs to the beautiful Masonic Center in Manawa, Wis. and it was definitely a great bash for those who came.

A scene from the Manawa Mustang Round Up.

A scene from the Manawa Mustang Round Up.

There are not many car shows in the hot month of August where you can sit inside in air conditioned comfort and look at the gorgeous cars outside. The design of the Masonic Center allows you to do this from the commons area. Of course, many people were also in the banquet hall chomping away on some delicious food.

The success of this event in a few short years can be traced to what we call “Mustang Magic.” Ever since the pony car arrived it has cast a magical spell on car buyers. The Mustang niche of the old-car hobby was the “leading wave” when we started writing about cars in the 1970s and today the brand is entrenched as a specialty car just as much as a Corvette or Jaguar.

When you go to a Mustang show you are likely to see a wide range of years, models and trim packages. The first car might be a ’66 Shelby and the next car might be a 2006 Mustang with a limited edition paint job or engine. And all of these cars earn admiration whether they are eligible for Wisconsin Collector tags or whether they just rolled off the assembly line.

That seems to be what’s responsible for the Mustang Magic. In fact, that may be why you see a lot of younger car enthusiasts at an all-Mustang show. The brand may be 50 (or more) years old, but it’s magical.

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