More Mustang Madness

          Growing up in the suburbs there was a guy who lived up the street. He was older, the oldest kid on the block. His younger brother was the same age as my older brother. So it was natural, I suppose, that he became someone all the kids on the block sort of looked up to.
          He was the first to get his driver's license. He got a job working, first at a gas station and later driving some heavy equipment around the rail yard. With the money he earned he bought a 1968 Ford Mustang. While the pony had been roaming the streets since the middle of 1964, it wasn't until 1967 that there was a major change in the car.
           One of the biggest changes that came in '67 was the availability of a big block V-8 which offered power options up to 390 horse power and 460 foot pounds of torque all growling in 427 cubic inches of raw power. While those bigger, faster options were inexpensive by today's standards, a teen age boy couldn't very easily afford them and so my neighbor settled for the 289 cubic incher that pushed 270 horses at 312 foot pounds of torque. Still a nice ride but lacking some of the giddyup  of the bigger engines.
          That was a summer when the guy who drove our Mr. Softee truck just happened to own a 1965 Chevy Corvette (C2) that sported a 327 cubic inch small block V-8 pushing 375 horses under the hood.
           Well, as guys often do, these two began bragging about their cars and when push came to shove, it was decided the only way to settle things was to head to the local drag strip, Edgewater Park, and settle this like men.
          It seemed as though half of the neighborhood was there that night. My brother and I shelled out the extra money to get pit passes that allowed us to wander around the cars that were going to race as the evening's entertainment.
          When we saw our neighbor we noticed that he wasn't prepping his 289 for the race but rather had a 427 belonging to a friend of his. Knowing that the two drivers had put money on the outcome of the race, my brother, being fair minded, and I found our ice cream man and let him know what was happening.
          I half expected the Mr. Softee driver to be mad and go charging after our neighbor but he just smiled and said, with a shrug, "That's OK, we eat Fords for breakfast."
          In the end, the Chevy won the race; not so much because it was a better car but because our Mr. Softee man was a better, more experienced driver. Our neighbor got blown off the start and never had a chance. He reluctantly paid up and never again made a big deal about how great his car was. But it was a great car and still is.
          Wandering around the 31st Annual Tri-State Mustang Club All Ford show recently and shooting pictures of these classic automobiles reminded me of that story many summers ago. I don't know what happened to the Mr. Softee driver and proud Vette owner. He didn't have that route the next summer. My neighbor graduated high school, got married and a few years later was killed when the forklift he was driving overturned.
           That day at the race track I was climbing down from up in the bleachers rather then cross a bunch of bodies when something on the ground caught my eye. I moved some dirt and there, looking up at my 13-year-old eyes was a $50 bill. That was a lot of money back then.
          Enjoy these pictures taken at the All Ford show. Leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any great car memories from when you were growing up.


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