Saturday, June 17, 2006, started out as a typical summer day in central Pennsylvania. The beautiful countryside surrounding the city of Reading was peaceful until a sudden thunder boom arose from the valley that is home to Maple Grove Raceway. The National Mustang Racers Association was in the house for the 22nd Annual Toyo Tires/Ford Motorsport Nationals.
While race cars blistered the quarter-mile, the Laurel Mountain Mustang All-Ford Auto Show field quickly filled with some of the finest Mustangs and vintage Fords on the NMRA circuit. The hundreds of cars and trucks on display brought on sensory overload for anyone who bleeds Ford blue.
Kudos to the judges who met the challenge of picking winners from a field of cars, all worthy of the coveted NMRA awards. The list of awards for Best Engine, Best Paint, Best Interior, and so on has been augmented this year with the prestigious Mustang Monthly Editor's Choice award. Mustang Monthly and its sister publication, Mustang & Fords, will be following the NMRA show circuit throughout 2006, 2007, and 2008 in search of cars that deserve the Editor's Choice award, which includes a feature article alongside the event coverage.
Have a nice Ford? Bring it and find out if your ride has the stuff to be named Editor's Choice.
Martin Buckwalter's '67 Shelby GT500 clone was our hands-down favorite Mustang at the NMRA's Toyo Tires/Ford Motorsport Nationals. According to Buckwalter, eBay provided the clean '67 Mustang, originally powered by a small-block with automatic transmission. Within 18 months, the car morphed into the trophy winner you see here.
Buckwalter's Mustang certainly has the power worthy of the Shelby logo. The bored 428 FE long-skirt block is fitted with 11:1 pistons, a Melling oil pump, a Canton Racing 8-quart oil pan, and is topped off with ported and polished heads, a Blue Thunder aluminum intake, and twin 600-cfm Holley four-barrels. Rounding out the powertrain is a Centerforce clutch that makes the connection to a four-speed Top Loader and a Ford 9-inch Traction Loc rearend with 3:70 cogs.
If you're going to build a Shelby clone, it has to handle. To accomplish that goal, Buckwalter installed a set of 1-inch lowering springs and Cooper Cobra GT radials mounted on reproduction Shelby 10-spokes measuring 15x7 inches. Stopping power comes from Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation's discs in front and stock drums in the rear.
Comfort and appearance were given the same treatment and attention to detail with a complete refurbishment of the interior, including a 10-disc CD changer, Moto Lita steering wheel, JME Enterprises' gauge cluster, and an A-pillar gauge pod from California Mustang. The beautiful dark red, metallic paint shines through five coats of clear.