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Home Events Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show

Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show

Biggest Ford show on the West Coast boasts more than 1,000 cars and trucks

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The logistics of putting on a car show with more than 1,000 cars and trucks is enormous, but the Ford Car Club Council (compromised of 39 Southern California clubs) and Ford Motor Company with special events manager John Clinard managed to entice about 5,000 attendees to “the West Coast’s largest all-Ford car show,” named Fabulous Fords Forever.

Reflecting back a little, Clinard and automotive designer Freeman Thomas co-founded the original Cars and Coffee in Irvine, California.

On June 13 at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California, the show celebrated all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles from 1903 to current models, including the new 2022 Ford Maverick truck making its California debut. The massive display presented more than 600 Mustangs (Bullitts included) in addition to F-Series trucks, Broncos, Thunderbirds, Lincolns, Pintos/Bobcats, Falcons and assorted exotics.

Eight states from California to Washington were represented, with Ford celebrating 80 years of Continentals, 65 years of Thunderbirds, 60 years of Falcons, 60 years of Econolines, 55 years of Broncos, and 50 years of Pintos.

I grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, so when I entered the show and gazed upon a fabulous turquoise-and-white 1955 Ford Club Sedan presented by Dennis Bisdorf, I felt like I had stepped back in time.

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
Dennis Bisdorf’s 1955 Ford Club Sedan | Howard Koby photo

Bisdorf told us he is the second owner since 1993, and the car was in terrible shape when he acquired it. It did, however, have the original engine, a 272cid wide-block 2-barrel, and its factory air-conditioning and 8-tube Motorola radio.

“I took it down to bare metal and discovered there was absolutely no rust, so I had it painted in Los Angeles in an acrylic enamel, which they don’t do anymore,” Bisdorf said. “My wife and I enjoy driving around with the grandkids, and we come to the car show every year since 1995 when it was at Knotts Berry Farm.”

There were surprises at every turn, such as Gene Winfield’s truck and trailer with “Back to the Future 2” Strip Star movie car designed by Winfield and Ernie Graves. The car sits on a ’46 Ford chassis powered by a ’63 Ford 427 with quad carbs.

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
“Back to the Future 2” Strip Star movie car | Howard Koby photo

Another eye-catcher was a wonderful custom 1972 Ford Maverick with a 347cid stroker linked to a 5-speed trans and Ford 9-inch rear end, and 6-piston Wilwood power brakes.  

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
1972 Ford Maverick | Howard Koby photo

“It was a turd when I got it and have been working on it for 12 years and now it’s my daily driver and one day I want to auto-cross it at Willow Springs or Fontana,” the owner named Javier told me with a big smile.

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
1949 Mercury | Howard Koby photo

Ronnie Ayala’s gorgeous black 1949 Mercury stopped spectators in their tracks. Ayala nicknamed the car “James Dean ’49 ers” and tells us he spent $10,000 for a special steering wheel, although it is an unmolested original car worthy of a museum.

While I was enjoying all these Fords on display, I ran into longtime friend and colleague Randy Richardson, president of the LA Shelby American Automobile Club, at Shelby’s booth presenting the reborn ‘65 Shelby GT Competition Prototype with IRS built by the original Venice Crew, which included famed racer and designer Peter Brock.

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
‘65 Shelby GT Competition Prototype | Howard Koby photo

Another memorable highlight was the presentation of the actual cars raced in the movie Ford vs Ferrari. Bill Stabile, Jr. coordinated and supplied the replica Ford GTs and Ferrari that RCR built in Frazier, Michigan.

, Fabulous Fords Forever: Pintos to Panteras displayed in massive show, ClassicCars.com Journal
Cars raced in ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ | Howard Koby photos

The fun-filled, Ford day finished with the award presentation, during which Jason and Christine Sacco were honored for Best Truck (’73 Bronco), John And Cynthia Bender won the George Watts award for Best Thunderbird (’57 T-Bird) and Best Car to Allene Chambers for her ’65 Ford Ranchero.

For more information about the Fabulous Fords Forever car show, visit its website.

Howard Koby
Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on amazon.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Our names are John And Cynthia Bender we won the George Watts award for best thunderbird!! George watts didn’t win his own trophy? At the fabulous Fords forever!!! Thank you would appreciate a correction..

  2. The award was the George Watts award for the T-bird, the 57 T-bird was won by, John and Cindy Bender. John built the T-bird for Cindy as a gift. John also has A 66 T-bird convertible with a factory 428 that Cindy Bought for him, that also has one numerous awards after John preserved it. John has been owner of Mindbender for years before his retirement, he worked for UTI for many Years before his retirement. You’ll have to wait for his Pantera but it will be just as nice as his T-birds.

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