As you know, the Mustang was born on April 17, 1964, and a few years back that birthday became National Mustang Day. We can’t think of a more worthy day to celebrate and enthusiasts all over the world did just that in big and small ways. Many of those gatherings occurred the weekend before the big day, but a great one took place at the Ace Café in Orlando, Florida, on the actual day.

This was amazing. It was so much bigger than I ever anticipated. — Larry Beach, Event Organizer

“There was an opportunity. No one was doing a birthday party, so it needed to be done. It’s just that simple,” event organizer Larry Beach told us. “My point of view is that there are a lot of just normal car shows, so I feel like I need to do something different, something fresh to involve the younger generation. And this was really an attempt to do something different than we had done before.”

Rick Schmidt of National Parts Depot cut the first slice of the Mustang birthday cake from Jillycakes, and former Mustang Times editor, Mary Jean Wesche served it up to the Mustang fans in attendance.

In short order, Larry put together the concept of gathering one of each model year at the motoring-themed eatery for a real birthday party right down to a themed cake. Your scribe made the trip out to the event and participated in a Q&A session with other experienced members of the media. It was great seeing such a wide range of vehicles, rubbing elbows with true enthusiasts, and of course, having a slice of cake.

From the classics all the way up to the latest Mustangs, nearly every model year was present at the Ace. Only a 1974 and a 1980 Mustang were absent, but maybe next year for the 55th the full complement of years will be present.

“This was amazing. It was so much bigger than I ever anticipated,” Larry added. “It obviously needs to be done again next year, so we will do it again.”

There you have it. Look for another big event at the Ace next year for the Mustang’s 55th anniversary. Until then, check out our coverage of this year’s event, including a full photo gallery below…

Revology Cars was on hand with one of its replica machines and VMP Performance brought out two of its SEMA machines — a supercharged 2017 Mustang GT and a revved up Focus RS. Sponsors of the event included Ford Performance, National Parts Depot, Saleen, Shelby American, Steeda, and VMP Performance, which all contributed swag for fans in attendance.


This Saleen was a fine example of the breed and it was cool to see such clean Fox holding court right up front at the show.

More than 12 Mustang fans from Denmark, all dressed in red shirts, were on hand for the celebration in Orlando.

Your scribe’s first Mustang love was the ’82 GT, and Mike Taylor’s super-sano example had us drooling, even if it was painted in Mopar Green.

Photo gallery