There are many great things about our Mustang hobby and industry, both of which have grown out of the Mustang's everlasting endearment to owners. The social interaction of clubs and shows ranks high on the list, as does the satisfaction of being able to improve your Mustang through restoration efforts or by adding something as simple as a cold-air induction kit to a late-model. With the Mustang, the ownership lifestyle stretches way beyond the driving experience.
This month's cover story illustrates one of our hobby's best attributes. Thanks to our favorite car's undying popularity and desirability, Mustangs frequently attract attention for good causes, like the Mustang Dream Giveaway that will raise funds this year for the Carroll Shelby Foundation, the Henry Ford Health System, Disabled America Veterans, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund. Plus, some lucky person will drive away with a pair of beautiful Shelby GT 500s, old and new. I was fortunate to be part of the key presentation for a '69 and '12 Boss 302s during the 2011 Mustang Memories show in Dearborn. And while you couldn't smack the grin off the face of the winner, Thomas Barker, the thought of all the benefits resulting from the charitable donations gave me good vibes as well.
The Dream Giveaway is obviously the most visible of the charitable organizations (CEO Mark Breiner told me that they print 15 million brochures!), but all I have to do is glance through our events listing to see that there are plenty of other fund-raising activities throughout our hobby. Proceeds from this year's North Coast Mustang Club of Ohio's show goes to the Boys and Girls Club of Lorain County. In south Florida, the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center will benefit from the profits collected during the Fort Lauderdale Mustang Club's show at Maroone Ford. Duke Clancy with the Mustang Club of West Central Florida always makes sure that their annual show helps TideWell Hospice and Southeastern Guide Dogs. Even animals benefit from Mustang owner generosity.
Then there are more personal reasons why people and organizations get involved with Mustangs to raise money. When my longtime neighbor and good friend Mary Jean Wesche, now editor of the Mustang Club of America's Mustang Times, discovered that both of her daughters had breast cancer, she felt helpless until she hit on the idea to build a Mustang to raffle, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. A number of companies provided parts, including a '67-'68 fastback body shell from Dynacorn and an engine from Ford Racing, while Jeff and Julie Yergovich from R&A Motorsports provided the skill and labor. You may have seen Julie and Mary Jean as they traversed the country on numerous occasions to display the car and accept donations at shows.
There are many other examples. As mentioned in the January Pony Tales, the Mustangs of East Texas club has embarked on another "Pay It Forward" project to assist the East Texas Crisis Center. Back in December, we featured the SEMA Businesswomen's Network's "Powered by Women" '13 Mustang GT, which will be auctioned to benefit yet another type of good cause, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund that helps young people pursue a career in the automotive aftermarket industry. And just the other day, I was contacted by Tim Urban from Alternative Auto Performance here in Tampa. On his own, he's building a Fox-body Mustang to help military families.
It's good to be affiliated with a hobby that benefits so many good causes.