One of the first trucks we noticed as we started to walk the show field at Jacky Jones Dodge in Hayesville, North Carolina, at its annual customer-appreciation cruise night was a blue Ford with a vintage tag that read, “This is Jones Ford Country” — a throwback to the original Jones Ford in Hayesville from years gone by.
Though the original dealership is gone along with the Jones Ford name, avid Ford collector Jacky Jones is still going strong in the new car business and even though on this night we were at one of his Dodge dealerships, it was still definitely “Ford Country.” This annual customer-appreciation cruise night put on by Jacky and the dealership’s co-owner Ed Ashe draws 200 cars or so on average and is probably the best once-a-year cruise in the area has to offer.
Any time you can see a piece of an old Bill Elliott race car in the distance being used as yard art, chances are you are in Ford Country! This old Ford truck tells the story as it still wears the original Jones Ford decal on the tailgate as well as the "This is Jones Ford Country" tag on the front— two ultra-cool pieces of Hayesville, North Carolina, history!
We had our camera batteries fully charged in expectation of some of the coolest Ford’s around. As always, this cruise night did not disappoint! We’ve put together our top-five favorite Fords of the night as well as some honorable mentions in the photo gallery at the end! Check them out!
5. Stock Fox Mustang GT
The only reason this super-clean Fox GT isn’t higher on our list is because we could not locate the owner to get a look under the hood! The car appeared to be 100-percent stock, which is a rare sight today! Sporting”Turbine” wheels, “Cheesegrater” taillights, and porno-red interior —all items we all have tossed in the junk pile over the years — make this car cool.
Let’s hope this one is in good hands and stays unmolested! A clean stock Fox is getting harder and harder to find.
With a stock shifter, factory radio, and near-perfect quarter windows, this is truly a pristine Fox GT! In a world of Coyote conversions, five-lug swaps, and high-end builds its a breath of fresh air and, frankly, it’s a bit of a shock to see a stock Fox out in the wild!
4. 2.5-liter New Edge Mustang
At first glance you are probably wondering how this car made our top five? This original V6 car needs a closer look to really be appreciated. When we first heard the car pull into the lot, we knew something was different about it. From spending dozens of Saturday nights at the local dirt track, we had a sneaking suspicion about the engine, and we were correct. This former six-banger underwent one of the more unique engine swaps we have seen in a while.
For years, the Fox Mustang has dominated the popular entry-level dirt racing class — the stock four-cylinder division. The motor and chassis have provided a great combination for winning on the dirt especially with the large number of 2.3- to 2.5-liter engines available over the years in Mustangs and Ranger pickups. One of those 2.5-liter engines found its way into this formerly boring V6 Mustang and turned it into a cool hot rod.
This isn’t your sister’s V6! This Mustang is all-business under the hood with its race-prepped, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. If the owner could find away to quiet this monster down a little bit it would be one heck of a sleeper! However, as it is you know its something wild and radical as soon as you hear it!
3. 1948 Ford Coupe
Randy Cantrell’s super-cool 1948 Ford Coupe takes the number-three spot on our list. From the outside, this appears to be an all-original car, maybe even a barn find. But one quick look under the hood and inside the car and you realize there is a different story to be told.
This car is a modern street machine with power steering, power brakes, and a pushrod small-block Ford V8 — all upgrades that were not available when this coupe first dawned the showroom floor back in 1948. The upgraded suspension gives the car a killer stance over some ultra-cool, old-school wheels. We would love to jump in the front seat and ride shotgun on a trip in this classic Ford cruiser.
Although the outside may look old with its patina finish, there is nothing old and shabby about this interior. Modern gauges keep an eye on that Ford powerplant, while a pair of leather wrapped bucket seats keeps the drive comfortable. A smaller version of the original-style "banjo" steering wheel keeps this cool hot rod pointed down the road in the right direction!
2. 5.0-Powered 1940 Ford Coupe
A 1940 Ford Coupe is one of the most iconic Fords of all time! Raising the hood of this black beauty reveals some muscle added to that equation. Stuffed between those legendary fenders, where a classic Flathead V8 once lived, is a fuel-injected 5.0-liter Mustang engine. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the EFI 5.0 makes this ’40 Coupe ready to cruise.
Tired of walking up to a classic Ford and seeing one of those "other engines" in there? Us too! Janice and Johnny Hulsey's coupe does not disappoint! That the iconic 5.0-liter Mustang engine isated to a five-speed manual gearbox which we bet makes this Ford is a blast to drive!
1. 428CJ-Powered 1968 Torino
Take a mid-’60s, two-door fastback, add a big engine and what do you have? A muscle car of course. This 1968 Ford Torino GT is a great example of some of the cool Ford Muscle from the ’60s and with just one look at this car, it is easy to see why it was number one on our list.
Its Marti Report tells us that this car was one of just 660 Torinos to come with the powerful 428 Cobra Jet engine and C6 automatic transmission making it an uncommon example. Beyond that, this car is restored to near-perfect condition just like it came from the factory. Still sporting the Highland Green paint and a Nugget Gold bench seat, this thing is just too cool in so many ways!
The legendary 428 Cobra Jet. Found in Ford and Mercury cars from 1966 to 1970 including the above Torino, the Mustang, the Cougar, the Fairlane, the Cyclone, the S55 and certain special police applications. Horsepower ratings varied per year and application from 335 all the way up to 360. However people have always claimed that the number was closer to 410.
Every year on the second Saturday of August, Jacky, Ed, and the staff host this customer-appreciation cruise night. If you are within a few hours driving distance, it is well worth the trip.