AutoMatters & More: Fabulous Fords Forever 2021

Antique Ford

Last week’s column covered the amazing 1957-59 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner retractable top convertible, as seen at Fabulous Fords Forever. This week covers the rest of that show!

Fabulous Fords Forever was not held in 2020, due to COVID-19, but it returned as great as ever in 2021 to a new venue: Irwindale Speedway, in Southern California. Presented by the Ford Car Club Council and its 39 member clubs, with support from the Ford Motor Company, this marked this iconic show’s 35th year.

There was huge interest in attending this car show, as was evidenced by the hours-long wait necessary to slowly inch ahead in traffic for blocks towards the Irwindale Speedway entry gate. Fortunately, the show cars arrived much earlier, coming from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

1,000 Ford, Mercury and Lincoln cars and trucks, spread out among 52 of the possible 57 classes, were registered for display, ranging from vintage Model A Fords to the latest new Ford — the 2022 Maverick truck, making its California debut. This truck marked a revival of the Ford Maverick name from the 1970s sporty car.

Ford Thunderbird
Ford Thunderbird

Since I cannot possibly show all of them to you in photos, this list of participating member clubs will give you an idea of the breadth of vehicles represented at this huge annual car show. This list might remind you, like it did me, of models that you’d forgotten about: 53-56 Pickups International, 57 Fords International, All Mustang and Ford Car Club, Beach Cities Mustang Club, Boss 302 Registry, ClassicStangs, Cobra Owners Club of Orange County, Early Birds of Southern California, Early Bronco Registry, Early Ford V8 Club, Econolines West, Edsel Owners Club, Fabulous 50s, International Mercury Owners Association, Legend Lime Registry, Lincoln and Continental Owners Club, Lincoln Zephyr Owners Club, Mustang Club of San Diego (I was a member of that club for several years), Mustang Owners Club of California, OC Panteras, Orange County Model A Ford Club, Pinto Car Club of America, Redliners Mustang Car Club, Saleen Owners & Enthusiasts Club, Saddleback Mustang Association, Shelby American Automobile Club – L.A. Region, So Cal Cougar Club, So Cal European Fords, So Cal Falcon Club, So Cal Galaxies, So Cal Probe Owners, So Cal Panther Cruzers, So Cal Retractables, Southlanders Edsel Owners Club, South Bay Mustang Owners, Street Stangz Mustang Club, SVO Owners Association, Thunderbirds of Southern California and Total Performance Car Club.

Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continental

By far the most represented Ford model was the Mustang, with 641 registered. Additionally, there were 68 F-Series trucks (including 19 Lightning/Raptor models), 28 Broncos, 23 Thunderbirds, 17 Pintos (and Mercury Bobcats) and 16 Falcons. Rounding out the list of registrants were 22 Lincolns and 17 exotics.

Featured at this year’s show was a special exhibit of cars from the “Ford v Ferrari” movie, the “Strip Star” from customizer Gene Winfield and an original Ford GT Mk IV— chassis number J-9.

In addition to the featured vehicles and registrants, there were sponsor displays that added more vehicles, as well as parts, accessories and more. Sponsor displays included Anderson Composites, California Casuals, Cal Pony Cars, Car Guy Clothing, Classic Industries, Detail Garage, Galpin Auto Sports, JBA, Katzkin Leather, Magnaflow, Original Venice Crew, Rally Innovations, Saleen, Stang Stuff, SW Lights and Vortech. Of course, Ford had a large exhibit.


There were also plenty of food vendors. I can personally confirm that the Irwindale track concession trailer staff served up delicious cheeseburgers. Man, was I hungry by the end of the day!

There was also a drifting exhibition, but I missed that because I arrived late (due to the heavy traffic).

Special awards included the Johna Pepper Trophy for the “Best Car,” named for the show’s founder and former Ford Executive, the late Johna Pepper; the Bill Stroppe Trophy for the “Best Truck,” named for off-road racing legend Bill Stroppe; and the George Watts Trophy for the “Best Thunderbird,” named for the late former Ford Car Club Council chairman, George Watts.

Ford truck

This was the Fabulous Fords Forever show’s first year at Irwindale Speedway. It was certainly a sufficiently large paved venue, but I missed the show being at Knotts Berry Farm, as in years past. There was even more to see and do there, and the venue seemed to handle the large influx of traffic better.

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Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #698