MCA No Borders Internationals, Oakville, ON
MCA No Borders Internationals, Oakville, ON. Click image to enlarge

Articles and photos by Peter Bleakney

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MCA No Borders Internationals, Oakville, ON

Oakville, Ontario – For fans of the Ford Mustang, Oakville was the place to be August 2nd and 3rd. The Mustang Club of America held its first ever National event outside of the continental USA in the parking lot of the Oakville Ford plant, dubbing it the “No Borders Mustang International”. It was hosted by the Golden Horseshoe Mustang Association. The meet featured 437 of the iconic pony cars from as far away as Florida and New Brunswick glistening under the weekend sun.

1966 (left) and 2007 Shelby Hertz Mustangs
1966 (left) and 2007 Shelby Hertz Mustangs. Click image to enlarge

As I pulled into the event, a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 H was nose to nose with a 2007 Shelby Mustang GT-H in front of the Ford headquarters.

In 1966 Ford struck a deal with Hertz to supply the rental company with 1001 special 306-hp 289 V8 Shelby Mustangs – thus the “H” designation. History repeated itself forty-one years later when 500 2007 Shelby GT-H Mustangs were made available through select US Hertz outlets. While it is usually never a good idea to buy a used rental car (it is a known fact many of these 1966 Shelbys were raced by customers – some even cannibalized for parts), the 1966 GT350 H is an exception. Specimens like Bob Swent’s white and gold “H” fetch well north of $100,000 now.

Tom and Joyce Nichols' 1968 Shelby GT500 KR
Tom and Joyce Nichols’ 1968 Shelby GT500 KR. Click image to enlarge

Tom and Joyce Nichols brought their Lime Green Metallic 1968 Shelby GT500 KR Convertible from Springfield, Illinois. Introduced in February of 1968, the KR is considered by many to be the ultimate Shelby Mustang. It is powered by a 335-hp 428 Cobra Jet V8 and only 518 convertibles were produced. The Nichols have owned the car for four years, spent 50 grand on a complete restoration and have turned down an offer for $400,000.

Perusing the $5,321.59 original bill of sale was quite interesting. Power disc brakes were a $64.77 option, while the AM 8-track player cost $79.10!

Matt Pasella's 1968 Shelby GT500
Todd Mitchell's 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II
2007 Mustang California Special, owned by Tom Dattilo
Matt Pasella’s 1968 Shelby GT500 (top) and Todd Mitchell’s 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II; 2007 Mustang California Special; owned by Tom Dattilo. Click image to enlarge

Another showstopper was Matt Pasella’s red 1968 Shelby GT500. Matt bought the car in 1977 for $2,100 and has kept it in storage in Onaway, Michigan for 30 years. He’d just had it restored and this was the car’s first outing.

Less like a phoenix, and more like a capon (that’s a neutered chicken to you and me), the 1974 Mustang II rose from the ashes of the muscle car era. Based on a stretched Pinto platform, this was a branch of the Ford family tree than many feel should have been nipped in the bud. Dark days for car enthusiasts, these were.
Nonetheless, the pinnacle of this automotive nadir was the 1976 Cobra II. Todd Mitchell of Buffalo brought his mint example to Oakville and is justifiably proud of his piece of Mustang history. Everybody loves an underdog. While the two-barrel 302 V8 only managed to wheeze out 139 hp, the 1976 Cobra II was a sales success. Ford planned on selling 5000 but moved five times that many.

The MCA show wasn’t all about vintage Mustangs, as there were plenty of current models, and many highly modified. A white 2007 California Special with 20-inch wheels and Lambo scissor-door treatment stood out in this crowd. Tom Dattilo of Beeton, Ontario bought this car new and confessed to sinking about 80 grand into it – so far. The Vortec supercharged V8 kicks out about 525 horsepower. “I had Mustangs when I was young.” he said, “So I guess you could call this my mid-life-crisis car.”

Ted and Jim Daminski's 1969 Mach 1
Ted and Jim Daminski’s 1969 Mach 1. Click image to enlarge

The most outrageous Mustang I saw here was Ted and Jim Daminski’s 1969 Mach 1 featuring a chromed 750-hp blown 351 Cleveland V8 bursting out of the hood.

Based on the Falcon platform, the Ford Mustang was introduced to the public on April 7, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair and became a runaway success – racking up one million sales by mid-1966. Unlike the competitors it spawned – the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger – the Mustang has remained in production since its inception. Taking another page out of the “history repeats itself” tome, the Challenger has been resurrected by Dodge for 2008, soon to be followed by the 2009 Chevy Camaro, both ready to do battle with the successful retro-inspired fifth generation Mustang.

And the Pony Car trots on.

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