Faces of Mustang ‘A snapshot of a nation captured via an American classic’
These images are part of the Faces of Mustang (FoM) – ‘A snapshot of a nation captured via an American classic’ project. I’ve set up FoM pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share and publicise the project. I was photographer, writer, planner, organiser, art director, fundraiser, marketing director and driver and by the end of it I was very tired. A Kickstarter campaign and my credit card put me on the road in the summer of 2016 while Ford and GTB were kind enough to loan me a Mustang, and during a 5 week period I travelled over 8000 miles across small town USA and met up with Mustang owners. I conducted interviews and heard often heartfelt and very personal stories. Among the people I met were a racer from Alabama who strapped on his gun before stepping out of his house for a chat; a ‘real Daisy Duke’ from Colorado; a mother who was barred from driving demolition derby for being too aggressive; and Bruce and Dave, friends who were still fixing the same cars together 30 years on.
I drove a total of 181 hours, zigzagging through 26 states from Michigan in the north, to North Carolina in the east, Arizona in the south and as far west as Nevada; I met people in 15 of these. We connected via social media, people referred me to their friends, and I knocked on doors when I saw a Mustang (or two!) parked outside. Some people were a little wary of the stranger on their doorstep, but once I explained what I was doing people warmed, suspicion and awkwardness dissolved, one anecdote gave way to the next and, before we knew it, hours had passed. These encounters were initially posted to FoM pages on social media and have since been compiled in a book, interview excerpts are on https://soundcloud.com/user-372478219/faces-of-mustang I met many different people on this trip and every one of them was unfailingly kind to me. For the most part we steered clear of election talk, connecting over their Mustangs and the memories they hold – good times and bad ones, friends, family and community, the need for speed and a splash of adrenaline. More images and stories are on the various FoM pages, Instagram, Twitter. I hope to return to meet people in the missing 35 States in the future. More…
When we got bored we would get on the road and egg others on, trying to initiate a chase. Sometimes, we would get chased down all these country roads by some rednecks in pickup trucks. This was before everyone was carrying a gun.
Ed and Amanda with his 1968 Mustang Shelby GTKR and the Bullitt car in Irwin, Illinois We bought a ’67 Fastback. It started out a $400 box of parts, sat around for a while and then we decided to turn it into the Bullitt car. We put a new motor and a different drive train into it and fixed up the body, we did everything but the paint job and I’ve been driving it, ever since. It was a real father and son project and now means a lot to me.
The first thing my niece said when she saw me drive up in my ’65 Rangoon Red Mustang was ‘Nice midlife crisis!’.
Tina and Marcus with their pony’s in South Sioux City, Nebraska In 2015 we went to Vegas for the 50 year Mustang celebration. There wasn’t enough time to drive, so we booked flights and rented a Mustang. It was booked a year in advance, but when we got there they had no Mustangs left and offered us a Camaro, I said ‘I can’t go to a Mustang rally in a Camaro!’. We didn’t have to wait long before our horse came in.
One time, this guy I had beat racing before wanted to race again. So, we went out, and took off, and he moved over at me, and I darted out the way and went right between the gas pumps of a gas station doing 110 plus mph. It scared the you-know-what out of me.
Ric and his 1968 Mustang Coupe in Sierra Vista, Arizona For years, every time I talked about getting a new car or anything she would say ‘I hope you will be more careful than when you drove that Mustang!’ and I would go ‘I was five or six years old back then Grandma!’.
I like to drive fast. I’m the same way on a horse, I’m all about horsepower! When I get on one I want to go fast, I want to push it to its limits. That’s just the way I am.
When we met I was driving a white ’99 Mustang GT. I got that coz I like going fast. I had a Nitrous System installed to go even faster, but that spooked me so we took it out again, it was kinda fun though.
My first car was always in the garage and that’s where I wanted to be, washing, fixing and modifying it and hanging out with friends. That’s where we were. If I had a problem with something I would call one of the other guys and ask them whether they knew how to get it fixed. It’s still kinda like that. Dan’s got the tools, Justin’s got gas and parts and Charlie and me, we bring the beer!
My first car was a ’74 Mustang II in a hideous green. We were living out in the country, the car was burning a lot of oil and the motor needed rebuilding to fix that. We didn’t have a lift to get the car up, or a hoist to lift the motor out, so my dad helped me rig a chain up over a tree limb. We hooked it to the motor and we hoisted it out and rebuilt that motor.
In 1978, when I was 20, I got a blue ‘70 Fastback with a big 351 engine and I loved the power it gave me. When my husband and I separated he got the car and I took my son. This is the fourth Mustang I’ve had, I’ve had her for about ten years. She’s called Black Betty and I love her.
I get to the point were I get obsessive about them getting wet or dirty. This one hasn’t been rained on in 40 years and I am not letting mine get wet either. Right now my sister – in – law is here. I scared her when I took her out in my GT earlier even though we were only going down the block. Then it started to rain.
I used to street race when I was young, I had a ‘70 Mach 1. One night, when I got off work, me and this boy, who had a Dodge Charger went out on the road to race. I got 2 or 3 car lengths ahead of him when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something running towards the road. I thought it was a kid, I turned the wheel and ended up in a guy’s yard, slid right up and hit his porch. The guy in the Charger hit what he thought was a kid too and we both ran down there. It ended up being a dog – a white dog. After that I never went street racing again.
My dad had a ‘92 Foxbody GT and when me and my brother were 8 or 9 he would put us in the back, make us swear not to tell mum and go and do donuts. I didn’t really know what was going on it was just loud and the whole car was shaking and I thought ‘wow this is cool!’
There was a weekend when I didn’t have a gig and we were invited to go to this party. Marilyn’s roommate turned up, in a red, brand new 1964 and a half Mustang convertible. I thought, ‘man that is the sexiest, most beautiful bodyline on a car I have ever seen. Even the inside of it was artistic to me, it was the first car that had an instrument panel dashboard that looked like it had two cockpits, and I thought, I have to get one of these one day.
Next thing I know the car flipped and just pancaked, slapped right on the road landing upside down dead centre of it, still pointing the way I was going. I’m upside down just hanging there. It was insane. I was looking for my phone then, to take a selfie, but I couldn’t find it. Looking at the car now I realize I am lucky to be alive.
We went to school together. Dave’s dad was into cars, so a lot of us kids dropped in on Dave. We didn’t all end up with Mustangs, but most of us got into muscle cars. Dave got his red ’67 a year before I did, he was going to cut off the roof but the car was just too nice to cut up. I was looking for a ‘68 Fastback and saw one advertised but he wanted too much money. Then I saw it advertised somewhere else and it was obvious he couldn’t sell it so the price came down and I got exactly what I wanted. I didn’t think we would be here 30 years later, still owning the same cars and still fixing them up.
When I was a kid my neighbour had an ‘87 Fox Body and we would go and listen to it. I guess that made me kinda want one. It was a while before I was in the position to go and make that dream come true.
My first car was a Mustang, a convertible, I was always driving way too fast in it and I did get a lot of tickets in the car. It didn’t like to go slow, you know, it would like putter around when it was slow, but once you got it past 60 it was really happy.
My stepfather and I went out and found this ’73 convertible. It was one of those horrible 70s colors and I stripped it all down and it sat like that, from 1993 until 2010, when I had enough money to rebuilt. There are a lot of people that have cars and don’t drive them, but I’m gonna drive it every day until someone runs into me and then I‘m gonna walk away and try and find another one.
They used to call my father ‘Trader Ray’ when I was growing up. There would be a different car in the driveway every week and then he would trade it away.
He came to visit last summer and I took him for a ride in the Terminator. When we got back he had tears in his eyes and said that this must be the fastest car he had ever ridden in. He said ‘when I die I want you to bury me in this car’. He passed away this March, bless his soul. The car is not buried with him but it’s now a family keepsake for us.
I took my driving test in a ‘67 Mustang in 1972. It was my cousin’s and I learned to drive in it when I was 13 or 14. She would take me out to the country and let me drive. It was like being outlaws, like Bonnie & Clyde, out on the back roads, stirring up dust. I wasn’t real good at driving – missing a couple of curves and landing in the ditch more than once, but it being a rural area everyone had tractors to haul us out with. I’ve had a soft spot for Mustangs ever since.
I still have that need for speed. I think once you’re a motorhead you’re always a motorhead. My grandson, Jojo, has it in his blood already. He’s only seven now but when he was two he got a chair to climb on to get to the keys and we found him outside in the car trying to start it up. He’ll be a motorhead when he gets older just like I am.
I met Mary Ann outside the local Target in Fort Dodge. I noticed a yellow Mustang convertible – with a number plate that read ‘TWEETY’ – in the parking lot, and thought I’d wait a few minutes to see whether the driver would turn up.
It wasn’t too long before Mary Ann returnedd and I got to talk to her for a few minutes whilst taking her portrait. She told me that her husband, after retiring, had bought himself a ’15 Mustang Shelby GT and, not wanting to be left behind, she bought herself a treat, too.