Jim Smart
March 16, 2010

"It has been an incredible journey," Jon comments, "Who would have thought when I started this club in 1996 I'd have an incredible wife and an awesome son-and be surrounded by friends who have become an extended family."

Walking the Line
Running one of the nation's largest Mustang clubs has its perks. Over the years, Jon has made many friends at Ford, particularly at Team Mustang. In April 2003, Jon got the chance to walk the Dearborn assembly line as his '03 Mach 1 was built. Jon tells us, "I arrived in Detroit and the guy who was supposed to meet me was missing in action. I called Art Hyde, the most recent Chief Engineer and leader of Team Mustang, and explained the problem." Art came to Jon's rescue to make the assembly plant tour possible.

During his trip, Jon met Douglas Gaffka, one of Ford's lead designers. "He brought me into the design studio and showed me the S197 '05 Mustang-over a year before public debut. I was told not to talk about what I saw-and what a secret to keep!"

While visiting Gaffka and Mach 1's lead designer Melvin Betancourt, Jon asked if there was something the bean counters prevented them from doing on the Mach 1. Betancourt replied, "Originally, we wanted a wider, painted stripe that flowed into the u-shaped molding in the grille, but we couldn't get a hood that was painted two colors, so it became a thin vinyl decal." Betancourt took a table napkin and sketched the original hood stripe design. Later, Jon took the napkin to custom painter Eddie Gomez and had his hood painted to match.

When Jon's Mach 1 was started and driven off the line, Art Hyde finalized the build by autographing the strut tower. Nine days later, Jon watched his Mach 1 arrive at the Los Angeles railhead. Perhaps by coincidence or divine order, delivery took place on April 17, 2003, the Mustang's 39th anniversary.