Some people love their cars while others go so far as to “worship” the cars in their collection.
For Charles Ales of Frogtown, Kan., his passion for collecting Ford Mustangs has blossomed into a full-blown religious experience leading him to found the Mustang Church of America in his hometown museum.
“There’s not another one like it in the world,” Ales told The Morning Sun newspaper. “I’ve been around car nuts all my adult life. You can mess with their wives, you can mess with their dogs, but you can’t mess with their cars. It borders on a religion with them, so I built them a church.”
A retired school teacher, he said that he and his adopted son, Robert Brunch, got the idea for the church/museum last summer.
“We built a 100-by-70-foot building here for the cars and church,” Ales said. “The last 18 feet of it will be living quarters for Bob. When I get my landscaping done, later in the summer, I’ll be open or business. I’d like to have the dedication in August or September.”
Ales dreams of inviting Carroll Shelby, who is often placed on a pedestal of by Ford fans, to the dedication. “I bought four new Shelbys in one year,” he told the newspaper.
Among the Mustangs in the museum are all three Boss Mustangs, the 429, 351 and 301.
“I bought the 302 new,” he said. “I paid $3,500 for the 429 when I was teaching in Wichita. Those all hand-built, and they had to do a lot of modifications to get the Nascar Semi Hemi engine to fit in a Mustang body.”
He also will display his numerous model Mustangs, many purchased with his Toys R Us credit card, when the facility is opened.
To ensure that his “church” has the proper reverent “feel”, Ales has commissioned a unique mural for the wall behind his pulpit.
The life-sized mural will feature Jesus behind the wheel of a 1966 Mustang.
Throwing caution to the wind (and apparently the possible meaning of the biblical story of Christ throwing the vendors out of the church yard), Ales had T-shirts printed up with the same theme. His church logo, developed by Matt Wilbert, is a fish, a traditional Christian symbol, with a Mustang horse inside.
“Somebody asked me if I wasn’t worried about people thinking this was sacrilegious,” Ales said. “Well, I hope Jesus has a sense of humor.”
Ales and his son were both recently ordained through the Universal Ministry School of Theology.
“The Mustang museum will be open daily, and we’ll have car shows, swaps and two Mustang blessings a year,” Ales said. “Services will be on Sunday, and the church will be non-denominational. I’ll preach goodness and helping my fellow humankind. I’ll preach what we’re supposed to do — make this a better world than we found it.”