Crowning The Coolest Mustangs From The Carlisle Ford Nationals

For nearly 50 years, thousands of Blue Oval fans flocked to the flowing fields of the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania for the Carlisle Ford Nationals. One of the largest gatherings of Henry Ford’s progeny, this year’s event attracted a whopping 3,454 entries to its show field, making it the largest show that Carlisle Events ever hosted.

From classics to current models, there was something for everyone on-site, and our intrepid editor combed through every row to select a few standouts from the parade of ponies on site. With so many Fords on display, only an elite few earned show trophies across a wide range of categories. However, here we are presenting a selection of stallions that caused our camera shutters to click…

5. Chrome Yellow Cobra

Carlisle

This scribe has a soft spot for the 1998 SVT Mustang Cobra, especially one sprayed in that hard-to-miss factory color dubbed Chrome Yellow. Keith Yawnick made the drive over to Carlisle to show off his sanitary snake. Its naturally aspirated Four-Valve 4.6-liter Modular engine breathes through a paint-matched Power Pipe, and this snake sits just right over a set of chrome, Cobra R-style wheels.

4. Blue Mustang II

Carlisle

While they might be the most maligned Mustangs this side of the Mach-E, the Mustang II served to carry the lineage through the mid-’70s, where they sold more than a million units over a five-year run. Despite those sales figures, it is still unusual to see them out and about, especially looking this sharp. This deuce is powered by a hopped-up 351W fed by a functional hood scoop. It looks like it would be a blast to drive.

3. Silver Terminator

In 2003 Ford’s Special Vehicle Team launched a landmark vehicle the — 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra. Codenamed the Terminator, these machines brought factory supercharging, six-speed manual transmissions, and independent rear suspensions to the Mustang. Their ready acceptance of modifications made them wildly popular with enthusiasts, and this silver example stood out with its clean looks and that big VMP Performance TVS supercharger atop the Four-Valve 4.6-liter V8. 

2. Trans-Am Boss 302

Carlisle

Parnelli Jones’ exploits behind the wheel of his Trans-Am Mustangs are the stuff of legend, and this car celebrated that legend with a complete livery resembling Jones’ #15 1969 Boss 302 racer. Looking far too clean to compete on the track, this machine can make your mind race back in time.

1. Pushrod-Powered Fox

While the Carlisle field brimmed with Fords of nearly every make, model, and era, the Fox Mustang is an undeniable classic at this point. While many feature more modern engine swaps, this one harkens back to the days when push-rod power ruled the streets and the racetracks. Powered by a robust small-block breathing through an Anderson Ford Motorsport Power Pipe and a Wilson Manifolds elbow, it gets an extra shot of power courtesy of a Nitrous Outlet plate system.

Until Next Time

This collection of show ponies should serve as a warning for you to start planning for next year’s event, held from June 2-4, 2023, if you didn’t make it to the 2022 installment. If you love Fords, you will find plenty to enjoy at these events, and if our five coolest pony cars don’t suit your fancy, be sure to check out the gallery of Mustangs below.

Photo gallery

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About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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