This month at the annual Mecum collector car auction in Kissimmee, Florida, two pieces of Ford drag racing history will roll across the auction block. These Poppy Red Mustangs — a 1965 and 1966 — were driven by the legendary Gas Ronda and backed by Russ Davis Ford in Covina, California. The 1965 is an A/FX (Factory Experimental) car, while the 1966 raced in the XS class and is a “long nose,” basically an early version of a funny car. Both Mustangs were professionally restored to as-raced condition and appear just as they did back in the 1960s.
“Gas Ronda was already a familiar name. The 1964 NHRA Stock Eliminator World Champion, Ronda had been highly visible as an inaugural member of the Ford Drag Council, helped in part by his professional appearance and excellent driving,” says Mecum. “Ronda was among the handful of drivers who Ford selected to continue racing in what soon became the NHRA’s XS classes, created in April 1966 to find a place for the burgeoning stock-bodied modifieds swelling the funny car ranks.
The first of the two to go, the 1965 Ford Mustang, is Lot 130.1. This A/FX drag car was the 1965 AHRA World Finals Champion as well as a class record holder with a pass of 10.43 at 134.7 miles per hour. The car is 1 of 12 built out of the legendary NASCAR speed shop Holman Moody in Charlotte, North Carolina. It features a 427 cubic-inch SOHC big-block engine with a four-speed manual transmission.
Gas Ronda was a legendary factory Ford drag racer in the 1960s. Racing everything from the Mustangs seen here to Thunderbolts and Lightweight Galaxies. He was always one of the first to get his hands on the quickest and most cutting-edge hardware that Ford Motor Company had to offer. Sadly, his career was cut short during the 1970 season due to burns suffered in a fire. (Photo Credit: NHRA)
In 1964, Ford Motor Company sold the car to Gas Ronda for the princely sum of one dollar! The car is estimated to bring somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 at the auction! You can learn more about the car for yourself right here.
(Photo Credit: Mecum.com)
The second car up for auction, Lot F134, is Gas Ronda’s long-nose 1966 Mustang, which is what amounts to an early version of today’s Funny Car. Like the 1965, this car is also powered by a SOHC 427ci big-block. This is one of six stretched Ford Mustangs built by Holman Moody. The car won the 1966 AHRA World Championship with Gas Ronda at the controls. Being a little more rare and definitely a lot wilder in appearance, this car is estimated to bring between $500,000 and $750,000 at auction. Check learn more about the car right here.
Both of these historical Mustangs currently reside in the Nick Smith Factory Lightweight Collection. A former racer himself, Nick has put together one of the coolest collections of Detroit drag racing iron we have ever seen. It will be interesting to see if one buyer ponies up the money for both of these Gas Ronda Mustangs to keep them together or if they go their separate ways this January when they hit the auction block at Mecum Kissimmee.