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|24th Annual Fabulous Fords at Knott's Berry Farm|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Monday, 20 April 2009 14:20|
Acres and acres of Fords celebrate a number of important Blue Oval Anniversaries.
Sunday started with the best of intentions. The plan was to hit three really big shows in Southern California beginning with a multi-marque show at B&M in Chatsworth, about two hours north, then on the return trip south a stop in Orange for the huge annual multi-marque show on the square followed by the Fabulous Fords Show at Knott's Berry Farm in nearby Buena Park. Unfortunately, the best laid plans... I started with a late departure and the thought that it would be best to make a quick run through Fabulous Fords, then the Orange Show and on up to Chatsworth. One small, well, actually a rather big problem; there were more than 1,000 cars at Fabulous Fords. By the time I was done it was almost 3 PM, way too late to head over to Orange. My inability to be in three places at once means that if you're a Blue Oval fan it's your lucky day; this show report is exclusively Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys.
Hitting the show just before 11, I figured that I'd buzz through and then go on to my next show...NOT. Since the show celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Mustang, it was no surprise that there were hundreds of Mustangs on display, stock, modifieds, Shelbys, Saleens, Roushes, and dozens of local tuners who applied their craft to every generation. Of the hundreds of Mustangs on display, two stood out. The first was a very stock-appearing aqua '67 owned by Mike and Bonnie Mitchell. If there were ever a "just right" Mustang, it was this unassuming coupe with the dog dish hub caps and a 300-horsepower 302 under the hood.
The other Mustang that really caught my eye? A 1993 Mustang notchback done up in the colors of the Nevada Highway Patrol, owned by Don Fallon. One of about a dozen authentic Mustang Special Performance Package (SPP) patrol cars, in their day these were the fastest pursuit vehicles in the US. Among the other SPP Mustangs were an unmarked Beverly Hills cruiser and a Mustang once assigned to the United States Secret Service.
After getting through all the Mustangs it was on to my favorites, Ford's often forgotten brand, Mercury. Here there were several noteworthy cars, but the most unusual were two pillarless grocery getters, 1959 Mercury station wagons. The first one encountered was Ken Zander and Tim Taylor's 1959 Colony Park hardtop nine passenger classic with stunning wood trim. The second '59 Merc wagon, a very original two-door Commuter six-passenger driven to the event from Northern California by Sal Orlando, is even more unusual and rare, one of just 1,051 built that year.
Two other special Mercury wagons included an aqua 1955 Mercury Monterrey signed by Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Little Ricky of "I Love Lucy," Paul Stanley of Kiss, Marcia Brady of "The Brady Bunch," and Davy Jones of the Monkees. The fourth in this quartet of Mercury wagons was the white 1953 woodie owned by Bob Torres with a unique restoration story. Seems that it was recovered in one of the less desirable 'hoods in Compton where it served as the "lounge" for some ladies who were involved in what Bob calls "extracurricular activities." Before the restoration could commence, Bob had to remove some of the clothing and other paraphernalia left behind, if you get my drift. All four Merc wagons will be in the Automotive Traveler image gallery.
In addition to the 45th anniversary of the Mustang and the 40th anniversary of the Boss 302, it was the 50th anniversary of Ford's Galaxie; once the flagship of the full-size Ford line. Representing the first year of production was Wayne McCartney's Galaxie 500 retractable but my favorite, for sentimental reasons, was Paul Sheatsley's Medium Turquoise 1965 Galaxie 500 2-door hardtop, so similar to the 4-door hardtop company car my dad had when I was growing up. Other Galaxies from Northern California's Sheatsley Family included brother Bob's stunning bucket seat-equipped Rangoon Red 1963 XL500 convertible along with son-in-law Adam Lipman's 1966 Canyon Pearl Red Galaxie 500 convertible. Check them all out in the image gallery.
One of the guests of honor was Ford Racing legend Parnelli Jones, quite possibly the most versatile driver of the last half-century. On display in the showcase area was his 1970 Trans-Am championship winning Boss 302 Mustang, one of the most recognizable Trans-Am race cars. Out on the show field were other replica race cars including a NASCAR-style 1969 Talladega built and owned by Rick Stanton.
I took more than 600 photos on Sunday, so it's going to take some time before I can edit and post all of my favorites, but we're starting the image gallery today with 12 images and will be adding more each day through Friday, so check back often to see what surprises we're saving for later in the week.