The Carlisle Winter Florida Auto Fest was host to not one, but two Ford shows. Both the Ford Performance Club of Florida and the Imperial Mustangs of Polk County displayed during the event, with the latter club celebrating the 20th anniversary of its yearly show.
Carlisle Events spends most of the summer hosting a variety of car event at its home base, the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. However, in the colder months the company flies south to host a pair of events in sunny Florida. Recently these events moved to the Sun ’N Fun facilities in Lakeland, Florida, where theWinter Florida Auto Fest was held this past weekend.
If you are familiar with Carlisle events, you know they bring more to the table than just a car show. In fact, the four-day winter event played host to everything from the chance to meet Butch Patrick, the actor who played Eddie Munster, to a full two-day, no-reserve auto auction.
A multi-faceted event, the Carlisle show hosts a sizable car corral with vehicles for sale, which is where we uncovered this gem. It’s rare to see Foxes in great shape this days, especially something like this V6 Mustang convertible. It has 78,000 original miles on the odo and the seller was only looking for $3,950 in cash. Sounded like a steal to us.
As you may have seen in out past coverage of these events, the Ford Performance Club of Florida is a relatively new enthusiasts group that opens its arms to all Ford Performance models from the ’60s all the way up to the current models like the Focus RS and Shelby GT350. The first of its kind, this club is endorsed by Ford Performance and has already grown to over 50 members in its sixth months of existence.
The swap meet and midway at the event was packed with automotive parts and paraphernalia. This giant neon Shelby sign would look great in a garage if you have the room for it.
A club for more than Mustangs sounds like a great idea to us, and President Larry Beach told us there are already people looking to start similar clubs in other states. Of course, sharing the Carlisle spotlight with the local Mustang club meant its display was modest as the opportunity for the P-51 photos was quite popular, but Larry says the Carlisle show is a great place to showcase what the club is about.
Likewise, the Imperial Mustang club partnered with Carlisle to host its 20th annual Mustangs & Mustangs show, which has an airplanes and automobiles theme suited for the Sun ’N Fun airport venue. The 130-plus attendees of the Mustangs & Mustangs show were able to line up and have their vehicles photographed in front of two P-51 Mustang airplanes, which are the very planes that inspired the car’s moniker.
As you can see in our shots, there were plenty of great cars on hand to keep a Ford fan happy at this event. If the Carlisle events look like a good time to you, the company will host its annual Ford Nationals event from June 2-4 at its home base and it will return to Lakeland for the Fall Florida Auto Fest from November 10-12.
Foxes seemed pretty popular at this year’s winter show, as they showed up in the car corral, on the show field and up for auction. It was waiting in the wings at the auction that we discovered this sharp 1989 Mustang GT droptop. It looked great right down the period-correct mesh wheels. Sporting a five-speed manual, it was said to have a fresh interior, a new gas tank and ice-cold air conditioning.
Another rarity we spotted was this 1971 Mercury Comet GT owned by Marc and Maurie Rouchard. It is powered by a dolled-up 302 small-block backed by a C4 automatic transmission and it is clean enough to eat your dinner right off the air cleaner lid.
One of the most popular aspects of the Mustangs & Mustangs show is the opportunity for show participants to have their vehicles photographed with P-51 Mustang aircraft. The club brought these planes in just for the show.
Jamie Marrero and his family left South Florida at 4 a.m. to make the journey up to Lakeland for the show. His 2010 Shelby GT500 features a JLT cold air intake, a strut-tower brace and numerous underhood dress-up bits, which Jamie’s son Luke (pictured) will no doubt enjoy when the car becomes his.
Greg Dudley is the owner of one stout 2017 Mustang GT. It puts down 750 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque from its Roush Phase 2-supercharged Coyote, which is supported by an American Racing Headers exhaust, BMR suspension gear, a JMS FuelMax, a Centerforce clutch and more.
Another clean Fox at the show was this pristine 1986 owned by Robert Turner. He reports that it has been autocrossed, drag raced, stolen and wrecked. These days the 140,000-mile, restored beauty serves weekend driver duty.
Mike Vullo says he bought his 2006 Mustang GT from a Ford employee that installed the Magnuson supercharger and only put 3,500 miles on it. Mike loves the supercharged power and he has already put 1,000 more miles on the car since taking possession of the keys.
The twinkle of the intercooler behind the grille of this ebony S550 caught our eye, but then Marty Garcia dropped the airbag suspension for his P-51 photo, we knew it was worth checking out. It was definitely cool to see the ProCharged V-6 under the hood.