Once again this we made the seven-day, seven-city trip known as the Hot Rod Power Tour with a few of our closest Mustang buddies in search of the coolest Fords in the country. With over 5,000 cars making the trip with us, we were sure we would find some killer Fords along the route that took participants from Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Zmax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, with five more cities in between.
Friday’s lunch stop was at Richard Petty’s place in Level Cross, North Carolina. The King opened his doors up for all to tour and provided a free lunch for those stopping by. His shop was once the one time home of his NASCAR operation, but now it houses Petty’s Garage where they build some pretty trick Ford Mustangs.
As usual, we were right and found way more cars and trucks that we could ever highlight in one story. Somehow we managed to narrow it down to five as well as a few honorable mentions we just could not leave out. Keep on reading to check them out…
2018 Power Tour Stops
Day 1: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Day 2: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Day 3: Hoover, Alabama
Day 4: Darlington, South Carolina
Day 5: Hampton, Georgia
Day 6: Raleigh, North Carolina
Day 7: Concord, North Carolina
5. Gulf Racing-Livery Coyote Fastback
The rest of our top five list consist of cars that completed every stop on the tour, the “long haul” as they call it. As far as we know, this beautiful Mustang fastback was only at the Darlington stop, but it was just too cool not to have on our list.
We spotted this thing from a mile away pulling in and immediately went to it once we were parked ourselves. With a Ford GT40-style, Gulf Racing-inspired paint scheme, this fastback begs for your attention. And, with big brakes, a race-inspired interior and a Coyote shoved under the hood this ride does a good job at keeping your attention. This is one gorgeous and unique Ford Mustang.
Its interior is simple and race-inspired. CCW wheels shroud massive Wildwood brakes, and a Coyote engine breathes through a Ford Racing Cobra Jet intake. Everywhere you turn this “#1 Mustang” proves shows why it commands attention. Had this car been on the long haul, it might just have topped our list.
4. Coyote-Swapped SVO
The Power Tour is often used to debut and show off aftermarket vendors’ latest builds and creations. While some never see any road besides inside the company trailer, others are tested, abused, drag-raced and auto-crossed along the seven-day journey to show off just what the companies products will do.
Event sponsor Ron Francis Wiring chose to do just that with its freshly built 1984 Ford Mustang SVO. Long gone is the turbo four-cylinder and in its place is a modern Coyote 5.0-liter engine. The car was able to complete the entire journey, logging 2,400 miles in total all while managing a 12.3 e.t. on a hot quarter-mile and sipping down an impressive 30 miles to the gallon.
Belonging to an electrical company, like Ron Francis Wiring, it should come as no surprise that this Fox Mustang is packed full of modern electronic goodies. While it’s not the most stealthy mount, the panel in the hatch does a nice job at showing off just what it takes to run the modern engine in this Fox.
3. 406ci Big-Block Falcon
Big-blocks ruled muscle car era in the ’60s and early ’70s, when the more cubic inches your car had, the better. While most of these monster engines were found in Galaxies, ’Cudas and Chevelles, occasionally, a big-block would find itself shoehorned into a smaller model, either from the factory in limited numbers like the famed Super Stock Hemi Barracudas of the late ’60s, or in a custom application like this 1964 Ford Falcon.
However they got there, large displacement in a lightweight car works. Not only does this car have a cool engine combo but the owners drive it. This car was on the long haul for the entire trip. We were never able to catch up with the owners, but we want to give them a big pat on the back for not going the normal route with this build!
With just two years of production in 1962 and 1963, the 406 engine is one of the more rare FEs around. It was tossed in favor of the bigger and now legendary 427 cubic-inch version in 1964, making it quite the collectible and a rare sight to see, especially in a non-factory application. From Ford, this engine would have produced 405 horsepower with a triple two-barrel carburetor setup as seen on this Falcon. That’s certainly plenty of power to push this Ford down the road. Not that the car needs any more cool points, but check out that manual transmission. We would love to take this baby out on our own for a day on the tour and bang some gears in it.
2. Driven Shelby Convertible
We spotted and fell in love with this first-generation Shelby Mustang early on in Bowling Green, Kentucky. With the hectic nature and wide variety of schedules participants take on the Power Tour, we never got a chance to see it again until the photo above when it was pulling into Zmax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, completing the 2018 long haul.
What we saw was enough to know that this red beauty belonged in our top five. A car that could have easily been a trailer queen is driven and we love it. That is what these cars were built to do, just as Mr. Shelby intended.
With Carroll Shelby’s signature on the glove box of this ride, one can only assume that is his stamp of approval on the way this car is driven and enjoyed. If they take this beautiful red convertible to many more events, the owners are going to have to get a second windshield.
1. Blown Aussie XC Falcon
Seeing this car for the first time is one of those Power Tour memories we will not soon forget. This trip is not just about the stops themselves, but the journey to the events. Every small town gas station turns into a car show each morning, and it was at one of those that we first laid eyes on the Mad Max-inspired creation that is Australian Grant Hodgson’s XC Falcon.
Grant had the car shipped over here in the early 2000s just for events like the Power Tour and the Street Machine Nationals. Although some mechanical issues derailed him in the early years, this Australian beaut’ tackled the long haul this year and drew a crowd everywhere it went. The car features a blown 351 Cleveland backed up by an original bull-nose Boss 429 Toploader four-speed manual transmission. Pretty cool, huh?
We did not run into this car again until we saw it pulling in off the long haul in Concord so we are thankful we ended up on the same fuel stop schedule as this Australian beast. This car is an easy number one for our 2018 list.
The car features a cool ’90s styling and Grant admits the car was built in the late ’90s with that style in mind! Even almost 20 years, its still cool! From the old-school Weld Racing wheels to the massive BMW E39 radio with satellite navigation (which works by the way). That massive 6/71 blower sitting atop the EFI fed 351 Cleveland will never be outdated.
Of course with almost 2,000 miles on the road and nearly 5,000 cars total on the tour, we ran across more than just five cool Fords. Be sure and check out our full photo gallery below as well as these honorable mentions…
This one-two combo could have easily taken up two spots on our list. The ultra cool duo belongs to Bobby Johnson and was easily the star of the Chattanooga stop. We are told the hauler is an old fire truck converted and painted up in Shelby American colors. We do not have much info on the fastback, but just look at it, it speaks for itself.
This gorgeous, first-generation Ford Lightning truck is definitely the one that got away. We saw it rolling into the Chattanooga stop but were never able to find it again. The tag says "stockish" but we do not believe a word of it...
Being a strictly Blue Oval-powered destination, sometimes engine swaps make us cringe. Check out our two favorite swaps we do approve of from the Power Tour. On the top is a wicked little Mazda Miata with a small-block Ford wedged between the front fenders. On the bottom is a 1950 Ford convertible with a cool, period-correct Lincoln engine.