Mustang Mania: MAA & Marti Auto Works

Odometer (NSX):  97,756


Odometer (ILX):  73,721


Any classic Ford lovers out there?  The Ford Mustang is turning the big 5-0 this year, and that’s a pretty big deal.  America’s favorite pony car has sold over 8 million units since its debut in 1964.  Chances are, most of us have ridden in one or even owned one at some point.

Phoenix local Sam Haymart has been involved with a commemorative drive to celebrate the Mustang’s anniversaries every 5 years since the 30th anniversary event took place in 1994.  His program is called Mustangs Across America (MAA).  This year, the event has surpassed any prior registration count:  518 vehicles.  Most of the participants are taking on the full enchilada:  A 2,400-mile drive from Los Angeles, California to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Man, I wanna join in!


The end point, Charlotte, is home to a Motor Speedway where a big Mustang birthday bash is being held, sponsored of course by Ford Motor Company.  Tonight, they’re in the Phoenix area so I met up with the group at a western-themed place called Rawhide on the south end of town, not far from Interstate 10.  Tomorrow night, they’ll be in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and from there, they’ll continue the eastward journey stopping in the cities identified on the map above.  If they’ll be in your area, it’ll be worth your while to rendezvous with the group and take part!

This made me excited for the 10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) coming up in late July.

Check out the photos below from my visit tonight to the designated meeting point.


Rawhide welcomes visitors from over 90 countries each year.  The site is a replica of an 1880’s town.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – RAWHIDE!  I know you’re singing it with me now.


Here’s a peek inside Rawhide. There’s food, entertainment, and – of course – a mechanical bull you can ride if you’re over 48 inches tall.


Giddy on up.  Let’s take a look at some of these cars.  “Wicked Pony” on the plate.  Yeah, pretty sweet.


Believe it or not, I’m a fan of this green color.


Here’s a glimpse of what the rest of the parking lot looked like this evening.


Mustangs of all years are welcome at the event.  Most are later-model cars, but a few die-hards had brought out their classics to put on some serious miles.  There were license plates from all around the country represented.


This participant had his or her map and clipboard ready to go on the dashboard.


“You Have to Understand:  It’s All About the Car.”  I need that plate frame!


More from around the parking lot.


Windshield banner on this one.


Racing stripes only look good on a Mustang.


Steakhouse food looked pretty dang tasty, too.


Here’s founder Sam Haymart’s personal car that’s been vinyl-wrapped as the event’s pace car.  It’s a 1994 5-speed that’s been fully restored to mechanical perfection in preparation for the drive.


I wish all the MAA participants a safe and enjoyable drive to North Carolina!

Shifting gears a bit, I wanted to share a related story from earlier this week.  As part of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA), I get to see some pretty neat stuff.

Arizona native Kevin Marti has always had a passion for Ford.  His company, Marti Auto Works, has built its name for the last 30 years as one of the world leaders in reproduction Ford parts for model years 1955 through 1989.  The PAPA organization got an exclusive tour last week of his service center which has been painstakingly set up to look like a 1970 dealership.

Stepping through the front door into the bright blue building, even the smell exudes a feeling of nostalgia.  Over the past few decades, Kevin and his wife Shelly have collected hundreds of period-correct items with which to equip their shop.  True to how a dealership would have looked some 40 years ago, there’s a parts counter, “new car” area, and a service lift with all the correct tools that would have been used in that era.

I’ve collected so much Acura stuff from the 1990’s that someday I could see myself doing something similar to this.  Ha!  Hope you enjoy seeing some pictures below from our tour.  Thanks to our PAPA founding president, Larry Edsall, for coordinating this opportunity.


Let’s take a look inside.  And a step back in time.


Meet Kevin, the man behind the operation.


Kevin told us a story about this “The Man’s Car” banner that was used in Mercury Cougar advertising.  A year later, after Mercury had sold far more units to women than to men, that slogan was understandably retired.


Here are a couple of neat items:  A data plate machine and a broadcast sheet printer.


Vehicle lifts.


Lots of neat photography including an assembly line shot of the 1966 Mustang.


Parked in the showroom:  1967 Mercury Cougar, 1968 Ford Mustang.  Behind the Cougar (which, by the way, is a stick-shift that I’d love to test-drive!) is a stand with factory literature and brochures for these and for many other classic Fords, all in original condition.


Kevin told us about how he got started in the business.


Here’s the parts counter.


Grab a Coke!  I’m not sure if the machine worked, but if it did, I’m sure all the Cokes therein would have been flat.


I thought the “6,000 Mile Motor Oil” was an interesting concept.  I think this was probably long before synthetic oils came into play.  These days, I’m driving my Acura ILX upwards of 8,000 miles on a single oil change.


Touch-up paint.


Philco was a battery, radio, and TV company back in the day.  From 1961 to 1974, Philco was owned by Ford.  Part of Kevin’s collection of memorabilia includes these television sets and a refrigerator.


Check out that vintage alignment machine!


On a fun last note, I took a coworker’s Porsche for a spin at lunch on Tuesday.  This is a “Speed Yellow” 2007 Porsche Cayman.


It’s equipped with a 2.7 liter flat 6 motor and a 5-speed manual transmission.  Power is 245 horsepower which is adequate for a car of that size.


Impressions?  Fun.  Loved the engine note and the eye-catching looks.  Gearshift was precise and handling predictable.  I didn’t much care for the climate controls, the ignition location (left of steering wheel), and the overall seating position.



Still, a sweet ride!  And I thank my coworker Tim for letting me give it a whirl!

Foglight surgery on the ILX tonight – I finally got around to replacing that broken passenger side housing.


We made it to Friday!  See you again soon.

4 Responses to “Mustang Mania: MAA & Marti Auto Works”

  1. Very Nice! My first car was a 1968 Cougar. Miss the car. Good times…

  2. Tyson- I guess I am an old Ford guy myself having owned a few in the past- a 78 tbird, a 71 tbird with a 429 “thunder jet” engine (what a beast), and as you know- a72 Gran torino sport with a 351c engine. Anyways, always loved the late 60’s cougars with the fold down headlights. Before owning the torino, I test drove a 68 cougar XR7 black on black with rare 410 engine. But alas I couldn’t afford the asking price while on a college budget 🙂

    • Wow, you do have quite the extensive Ford history! Someday I’d like to get a 72 Gran Torino Sport. Neat looking cars. You should’ve never sold yours 🙂 Did you prefer your 78 or 71 T-bird the best?

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