Our Five Favorite Fords At The Charlotte Auto Fair

Twice a year Charlotte Motor Speedway opens its doors for the Charlotte AutoFair. An event that packs the 1 1/2-mile racetrack with show cars, a car corral, vendors, and row after row of swap-meet items. The event attracts thousands of spectators and participants, and of course, some of the coolest Fords in the South. As usual, we were on hand to bring you some of the coolest Ford products on the property.

Check out or top-five favorite Blue Oval machines from the Fall 2017 edition of the Charlotte Auto Fair…

5. Turbocharged 1984 Mustang GT

Starting our countdown is Manir Karim’s 1984 Ford Mustang. This Fox is powered by a 351 Windsor-based 357 with a single T72 turbo out front. A Tremec TKO 500 five-speed handles the transmission duties, while an 8.8 rearend fitted with a set of four-piston Wilwood calipers handles business out back. A set of matching Wilwood brakes in the front help bring this four-eye back to a stop.

As impressive as the drivetrain in Manir’s car is, the body modifications really make this car stand out above the rest. The front fascia features a 2001 Cobra Mustang bumper custom molded into the stock 1985 bumper. The side of the car has a set of Saleen side skirts while the rear features a 1993 Cobra Mustang lower valance. A three-piece molded rear spoiler completes the look. This mix of parts comes together to create a clean, unique look that draws attention wherever it goes.

A set of Corbeau LG1 seats, five-point harness, and Auto Meter gauges create an interior just as cool and functional as the rest of the car.

4. EFI 5.0-Powered 1956 Ford F250

Rat rods and patina’d trucks and cars are hot. The concept is simple, take something old and drive it. No glossy paint, no fancy chrome, just a blank canvas for people to create something that isn’t so perfect that driving it is daunting.

Matt Greci hit a home run with his 1956 Ford F250. When you first walk up on the truck, you’d expect and old V8, wore out suspension, etc, but what you find is a more modern drivetrain. In fact, the entire frame is from a 2001 Ford Explorer, while a fuel-injected 5.0-liter engine sits under the hood. However, the outside remains period correct and has a cool weathered look. Even with the original chassis long gone, the fact that the cab started out as an F250 just adds to the cool factor of this old truck.

It is all the little touches that set this pickup apart. An old cowboy blanket on the seat, a vintage 1956 North Carolina Farm Truck tag, and the original Carolyn Ford dealer advertisement are just a few of the things that makes this vintage Ford cool.

3. 2017 Roush Nitemare F-150

It is pretty safe to say that basically everyone misses the Ford Lightning. Even with the Raptor somewhat filling the spot in the line up, there is still a huge market for a two-wheel-drive, performance truck. Even more so now with the availability of the already potent Coyote 5.0 in the F-150.

Well the folks at Roush took it upon themselves to fill that void with the company’s Nitemare F-150. While available in both two- and four-wheel drive as well as extended and crew cab, the version they had on display at the Auto Fair was just how we would order one. Built in the traditional Lightning styling, this two-wheel-drive, single cab pickup features a supercharged Coyote engine and produces 600 horsepower. What’s not to love?

The Roush Nitemare checks all the performance-truck boxes: supercharger, styling, two-wheel drive and more.

2. Candy Apple Red 1990 Mustang GT

Thanks to the custom candy apple red paint and gold SVE wheels, Rob Ruska’s 1990 Mustang GT is an attention grabber. A 425-horsepower 347 stroker built by Prestige Motorsports fills its smoothed engine compartment. That’s just enough to make this Fox a fun street toy.

Wilwood brakes and a Maximum Motorsports suspension keep the car planted to the ground and under control. Inside, a set of Corbeau racing seats and Auto Meter gauges mounted inside a Florida 5.0 cluster keep the driver comfortable, in place, and informed. It all comes together as one slick Fox Mustang.

With custom Dupont candy apple red paint that appears to be sprayed a mile deep and the ultra cool gold wheels, this Foxbody is a show stopper wherever it goes!

1. Blown, Boss-Powered 1970Ford Torino

Nothing screams America like a blown muscle car. If you take one look around this 1970 Torino you will surly see why it is number one on our list! This monster started out life as a factory 429 Super Cobra Jet Drag Pack car.

The car has been in the Pipher family since new and in the ownership of Jamie Pipher since his dad gave it to him when he was 15. It remained mostly stock until 1985 when a restoration got a little out of hand and Jamie decided to “cut into it.” While it may not be for the Ford purist, Jamie created an awesome machine.

Featuring a blown, 547 cubic-inch Jon Kaase Racing Boss Nine pushing 15 pounds of boost via an 8/71 supercharger, the combination puts out 1,300 horsepower. Its all steel body sits on a custom mild-steel tube chassis. A host of other modifications including a Lenco CS1 manual transmission, ladder bars, and Ford 9-inch rearend with a 4.56 Richmond gear help spin the monster Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires out back.

Anytime you see the words "Boss" and "Jon Kaase" in the same sentence, you know you are looking at a monster! This Boss Nine produces almost four times as much as the original Super Cobra Jet 429 this Torino was born with.

Picking a top-five list at these events is never an easy task. We always have just as many cars and trucks that could have made the cut. Here are a few of our honorable mentions from the Auto Fair! A blown Fox (top left); an ultra-clean, mid-70s F100 (top right); a yellow S197 Saleen (bottom left); and a Petty's Garage Mustang (bottom right).

Photo gallery


About the author

Jeff Southard

Growing up with a dad who loved Corvettes, I was destined to be a gearhead from day one. Beyond that, my dad owned an auto parts business for over 25 years. There, I learned the automotive basics as a child, then began my professional career working there after high school. From Corvettes and Superbirds to Hemis and Cobra Jets, my dad has owned a little of everything over the years, so I've had my chance to get some quality seat time behind the wheel of some rare, unique, and sometimes, just odd automobiles. I have owned my share of toys, including over 20 Mustangs. I guess to make a long story short, if you look up "car crazy" you will probably find my photo listed pretty close to it!
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