Mustangs stampede through Pittsburgh
A line of 100 red 2005 Mustangs rumbled past Heinz Field and PNC Park (background) before crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge and proceeding through downtown on Friday to kick off the 23rd annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The Special Edition Mustangs were created to help celebrate the massive auto show and vintage auto races and were the centerpiece of the event, which benefits two charities. The cars are now available at local Neighborhood Ford Stores in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, West Virginia and western Maryland.
The sight was one to behold – 100 “Torch Red” 2005 Mustangs rumbling down the Interstate, past Heinz Field and PNC Park, across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and through downtown Pittsburgh’s Triangle under a police escort to their reserved parking area at the 23rd annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix on Friday.
The Mustang, which became an American icon almost from the day it was introduced in 1964, was the PVGP’s Marque of the Year – the car model or style celebrated during the nine-day automotive event. Approximately 175 Mustangs from 1964 to present day were on display during the weekend at Pittsburgh’s massive Schenley Park.
But the star of the show was the field of gleaming red 2005 Mustangs prepared just for the event. Sporting oversized decals on each door of the Marque of the Year insignia with the familiar chrome pony in full gallop in front of red, white and blue vertical bars, the cars turned heads and literally stopped traffic.
“We were very fortunate that Ford was able to allocate 100 Mustangs for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. And we’re able to offer these limited-edition vehicles to the car-buying public,” said Dan Taylor, President of Jerry Taylor Ford in Grove City, Pa. Taylor is chairman of the Pittsburgh Ford Dealers Advertising Fund (FDAF), better known as the Neighborhood Ford Stores in its advertising. The Pittsburgh FDAF is a cooperative of 100 Ford dealers in western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and the panhandles of West Virginia and Maryland and is one of this year’s PVGP sponsors.
“Each of our dealers is receiving just one of the Vintage Grand Prix cars,” added Taylor. “We expect they will sell quickly because of their involvement in what is recognized as one of the most prestigious automotive events in the country.”
The totally-redesigned 2005 Mustang, whose retro design evokes the classic ‘fastback’ image of the 1967 model, has been enthusiastically met by car buyers. Taylor said he and other dealers stopped taking orders for the 2005 GT model months ago, and that other Mustang models – especially convertibles – have been in short supply, too.
“The Mustang is such an icon that spans all different demographics – it’s always had a timeless appeal,” noted Taylor. “It has remained an affordable, sporty and fun-to-drive car that is popular with teenagers, adults, performance enthusiasts and racers.”
The 2005 Mustang was designed by Hau Thai-Tang, a 1988 graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Thai-Tang, Director of Ford Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Teams, rode in one of the 100 Mustangs during Friday’s “Mustang Stampede” through Pittsburgh. He attended the weekend event as honorary race director.
“Everybody dreams of coming back to campus someday with a really cool car. On Friday, I got to do that, but I had 100 cool cars,” said Thai-Tang. “It was exciting to see so many Mustangs on display and meet their owners. And this is probably the only time anyone could go out and buy one of the cars that was on display at a nationally-significant auto show.”
Thai-Tang is no stranger to Mustangs. As a five year old, he remembers seeing a white 1970 Mach One and falling in love with the Mustang. Years later, he led the development and launch of the 2001 Mustang GT, V-6, Cobra and Bullitt GT models. He’s applied the knowledge he gained working with Ford Racing to the Mustang and other Ford products, which have won accolades from Motor Trend, Road & Track and other magazines, as well as from drivers.
“The Mustang’s popularity really showed during the entire nine-day event,” said Daniel DelBianco, PVGP executive director. “Friday’s ‘Mustang Stampede’ was a unique way to kick-off this past weekend’s car show and vintage auto races.”
DelBianco said attendance of the nine-day event was strong, despite a week of sporadic thunderstorms. He estimates more than 150,000 people attended at least part of the car show and vintage auto races on the streets within Schenley Park on Saturday and Sunday.
Proceeds from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix help provide residential care, treatment and support for developmentally disabled individuals at the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. Since 1983, the PVGP has raised more than $1.75 million. For more information visit the official website www.pvgp.org.
Pittsburgh, July 18, 2005
Source: W. Patrick McSweeney
Photo's: Archie Carpenter
For more Mustang Stories go to the Mustang Story Index