North county club formed for Mustang drivers and lovers

1964 1/2 Mustang

This 1964 1/2 Mustang was built during the car's first model year, which established the "pony car" class of American sports cars.

BRIAN HUGHES/ News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10:25 AM.

CRESTVIEW — The sleek 1960s sports car that launched its own class of American automobiles — and millions of drivers’ devotion — now has its own club in north Okaloosa County.

The Shoal River Mustang Club welcomes Mustang owners and fans of the popular vehicle to its fold.

Next year is the car’s 50th anniversary, said Russ Chamberlain, a local Mustang owner and one of the Shoal River Mustang Club's organizers. Ford plans a sixth generation of the car for 2014, he said.

"I can't wait to see what they're going to do with it," Chamberlain said.

The Ford Mustang, built on the Falcon sedan’s chassis, was introduced to American drivers on April 17, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair. Sales took off and surpassed Ford Motor Company's expectations of 100,000 sold in its first year. More than a million Mustangs were snatched up in the first 18 months of production. Five generations of the car have been created since 1964.

The Mustang created the “pony car” class, which includes classic vehicles such as the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger and the Plymouth Barracuda.

Chamberlain said many members of the Shoal River club, sponsored by Hub City Ford, drive newer Mustang generations than his 1964 1/2 convertible, which rolled down the assembly line in Dearborn, Mich., in June 1964.

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