During the months leading up to the seventh generation Mustang unveiling, Ford Motor Company did its best to include the older stallion siblings. In its teaser for the exhaust growl of the new S650, Ford even positioned a multi-generational row of Mustangs to ensure the perfect family photo was taken. Per the norm, it was the youngest child stealing most of the attention. These actions are customary to build excitement around new models, but Ford did a good job tying it all together in celebrating the legacy that the Mustang namesake has provided.
During the presentation, Ford made sure that our eyes were locked in on its prized new-born Mustang. The commentators talked near the cloaked car and directed all comments towards it. That was until NMRA racer, Fox Body lover, and current Ford Motor Company employee Autumn Schwalbe was introduced and asked to share her Mustang story.
Once the host brought up Autumn’s love for the 1979-1993 Ford Mustang, the screen would instantly grab the attention of Fox Body enthusiasts everywhere. Our eyes shifted from the Abyss Black cover on the seventh generation Mustang to the big screen, where Autumn’s Mustangs were proudly being shown. While her Smokey Gray car is well-known in the drag racing community, the Ruby Red was less recognized. However, it was this particular car that provided her with the addiction to Mustangs and drag racing in general.
So, how did Autumn end up on stage during one of the most important reveals from Ford in the past decade with her Mustangs on the big screen? Well, it all started with a key. Celebrating Christmas in 2014, Autumn received a small box from her parents. In the box was a note that read Mustang LX. “I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t,” Autumn explains. “My parents found the perfect Mustang for me in Wisconsin and my dad and I road tripped to pick it up.”
The Ruby Red 1993 Hatchback was more than just a means of transportation for Autumn’s high school years, it was the lynchpin to racing. After garnering enough seat time, she began to attend test and tune events weekly at the local dragstrip. She worked her way into the bracket racing scene and started cutting better lights. The highlight of her high school racing career would come when she won the High School Nationals at Milan Dragway. Making this win even more special, was the fact that both her parents had won their High School Nationals at the same track! Later Autumn would reach the semi finals at an event Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio with over 350 cars competing.
This mustang is so special because it got me into racing, taught me how to drive and race. I learned how to work on the car, and led me to build my race car I own now. Autumn Schwalbe
Although hooked on drag racing, Autumn had to set the passion aside to attend college at Northwood University. Unfortunately, the Ruby Red Fox would be put into storage during this time frame and during the time spent building her all-out race car. Once Ford asked Autumn to speak at the reveal and drive her Fox Body to the show, it was brought out of storage, cleaned up, and driven. This break from storage allowed the Vortech supercharger to once again force air down the 302 cubic inch engine’s throat.
Only Up From Here
As Autumn continues racing her Smoky Gray Fox Body, the Ruby Red one has now become a weekend warrior. Her time at Ford Motor Company has her extremely involved in a number of marketing projects as she progresses through the Ford College Graduate program. As Autumn’s hard work transpires into a rapid ascension, one might wonder the impact this Ruby Red Fox had on her life. In any case, Fox Body lovers everywhere were extremely excited to see Ford proudly display a car from almost three decades ago, and even more excited to see that one of their own is making waves at the company.
“I cannot thank my parents enough for the gift that shaped me into the person I am today.”