As the weather turns for the worse in much of the country, it becomes ideal for car shows in Florida. Taking advantage of the sun and moderate temperatures is Ponies Under the Palms, a show rich with history of a strong turnout that is run to the benefit of great causes.
Hosted on Main Street At Lakewood Ranch by the Mustang Club of West Central Florida, the show returned for its 29th installment on November 21, 2021. This year, the show benefitted two local charities, Take Stock in Children, and Southeastern Guide Dogs. The former helps deserving kids attend a trade school, while the latter helps train guide dogs for people with disabilities.
We took a ride out to the show and were impressed by the wide variety of Fords on display among the shops and restaurants of Lakewood Ranch, Florida. While many enjoyed a nice brunch with the view of all the fantastic Fords, we prowled the Main Street in search of our favorite ponies under the palm trees. So, check out our 10 favorites, and if you have other ideas on the coolest cars there, you can check out the full photo gallery below.
1991 Mustang LX Coupe
You can’t go wrong with a classic Fox. Deanna Hamrick’s ’91 LX gives off all those retro vibes with the drag wheels and the Vortech supercharger boosting the push-rod 5.0-liter under the hood.
2008 Shelby GT
During the S197 era, Shelby American offered a well-rounded Shelby GT. Eric and Arlene Swingler brought their Vista Blue 2008 example out to Lakewood Ranch. It features several options, like a Vortech supercharger and intercooler. It looks sharp rolling on those chrome CS40 wheels.
2006 Stage 3 ROUSH Mustang
Straight out of the Jack Miller Mustang Barn collection, this ROUSH Stage 3 S197 is a truly special, one-of-one creation built for the BFGoodrich tire company. With only 105 miles on the clock, this one features a ROUSHcharged 4.6-liter engine backed by a five-speed manual transmission.
1968 Mustang Fastback
What’s not to love about Deborah Bakan’s 1968 Mustang? With a custom TMI interior, this former daily driver is described as a work in progress. Its foundation looks pretty strong though with a 347 stroker boosted by a Holley 174 supercharger under its hood.
2013 Mustang GT
Slung low over matching True Forged wheels, Jason Slaten’s 2013 Mustang GT held a striking pose on Main Street. Its highly contrasting theme commands attention, and its VMP TVS-supercharged Coyote 5.0-liter engine undoubtedly lets this one cook as good as it looks.
2019 Steeda Bullitt
It’s not every day you see a 2019 Mustang Bullitt, much less one given the Steve McQueen Edition treatment by Steeda Performance Vehicles. Having driven one of these machines, this author can tell you the full Steeda suspension paired with a Whipple-boosted Coyote is something to behold!
1967 Shelby G.T. 350
Lloyd Hartline bought this 1967 Shelby GT 350 new for just $4,600, including the sweet Paxton supercharger option for a whopping $549. It is one of only 1,175 examples constructed and has just over 14,000 original miles on the odometer. After sitting out many winters the miles remained low, but these days it does see some cruising. It definitely drew a crowd at Ponies Under the Palms.
2017 Mustang GT
Fitted with Predator-style fascia and slammed to the ground, Christian Haag’s 2017 Mustang GT isn’t just for show. A peek under the hood revealed an On 3 Performance top-mount twin-turbo system. This turbo setup pushes the Coyote output beyond 800 horsepower on just 13.5 pounds of boost.
Resplendent in Grabber Green, Steve and Dale Garai’s 1970 Mustang restomod not only carries more aggressive styling but is powered by a thoroughly modern drivetrain. Under the hood is a Coyote 5.0-liter engine delivering 435 horsepower to a TREMEC T-56 six-speed manual transmission. That combo will make you green with envy.
It was no easy task sorting through all the cars to find 10 favorites in Lakewood Ranch, but picking an overall favorite was pretty easy. It was love at first look under the hood. Dan Corbosiero’s 1966 Mustang coupe might just look like a clean restomod on the outside, but the Kenne Bell-supercharged Shelby GT500 modular engine under hood tells a different story. This one packs real performance, a custom interior, a trunk-mounted fuel cell, and more. With a manual transmission in the tunnel, banging gears in the powerful pony must be a blast.
The Ponies Under the Palms show will return for its 30th Anniversary installment next November, so if you’re in Florida enjoying the beautiful weather you can check out a great show.