Mustang Exhibit highlights iconic American car

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Officials at the Tupelo Automobile Museum decided they wanted to raise extra cash, and a car raffle was a natural fit. But what car?
“To me, when you do a raffle of a classic car, the car itself is extremely important. If I sold chances on a Yugo, how many people would buy chances on a Yugo?” said Allen McDaniel, museum curator. “You want a car that appeals to a wide variety of people. There was only one car I could think of, the Mustang.”
It took a while, but McDaniel tracked down a red convertible 1965 Ford Mustang for the raffle. Tickets are $25 each or $100 for five tickets. The drawing will be March 31, 2012.
This March is Mustang month, too. The museum has more than 25 of the classic cars on display. You might find one you’d rather have than the raffle car, but the others will cost a good bit more than $25.
If you visit the exhibit, you’ll see Mustangs from 1964 and a half to 2011 in a variety of styles and colors.
“Some people say there is no such thing as a 64 and a half model,” McDaniel said. “They’re early ‘65 and late ‘65. I don’t pick sides in that debate.”

History lesson
The first Mustangs were made from leftover Ford Falcon parts. They were introduced at the World’s Fair in New York in April 17, 1964.
When sold to the public, they were sporty vehicles at a value price.
“Men, women and children loved them right from the start,” McDaniel said. “They came in all colors, had all kinds of performance packages.
“You could drive them to school, drive them to work. You could drive them to church. You could drive them to the races, and you got attention wherever you went.”
The Mustang’s success inspired imitators, known as ‘pony cars.’ Chevrolet built the Camaro, Plymouth offered the Barracuda and Dodge produced the Challenger.
“Everybody was trying to make a sporty car that appealed to the young buyer,” McDaniel said. “You could argue that the Mustang was the first car to appeal to young buyers. Before that, they were big cars for middle-aged men.”

For your calendar
The Mustang exhibit will be on display until Saturday, March 26. On that day, Mustang clubs from five states will converge on the Tupelo Automobile Museum. They’ll have a show ‘n’ shine, and set up a car agility course.
Everyone’s invited to bask in the glory of one of America’s most iconic cars.
“That’s the Mustang,” McDaniel said. “It’s been an icon from the start, really.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or

On display
– What: Ford Mustang exhibit

– When: Thru March 26

– Where: Tupelo Automobile Museum

– Info: (662) 842-4242, www.tupelo

– Extra: Mustang clubs from five states will converge at the museum on March 26

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