Woodward’s Mustang Alley was more like a Mustang stampede

Woodward’s Mustang Alley

Every car has a story, which means that there were about 900 stories at the 2019 edition of Mustang Alley, the Ford-sponsored spinoff of the Woodward Dream Cruise. This was the 21st year for Mustang Alley, a closed-off section of Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, Michigan, adjacent to the Cruise route, open only to Ford (and Shelby) Mustangs.

Some of the publicity materials before that show said there'd be a mile of Mustangs. With cars lining both sides of the half-mile route, that seems to add up, but if you put 900 Mustangs nose to tail, they would stretch for more than two-and-a-half miles.

Not only were Mustangs lined up on both sides of the street for about a half mile, many of the parking lots along the route were also heavily populated with pony cars. Shelby American reserved a bank parking lot that it called the Snake Pit. Parking there was exclusively reserved for Shelby-branded Mustangs, both those made by Ford and those that have come out of a Shelby American facility. Perhaps the star of that gathering was a spotless olive green 1967 GT350, getting more attention from spectators than more modern, uber-horsepower Shelbys.

Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Woodward’s Mustang Alley

People continued to arrive with their Mustangs well into the afternoon of the Dream Cruise. While the majority of the cars in the show were registered in Michigan and Ohio, some owners either drove or trailered their Mustangs from a distance, like the gentleman from Georgia with the tastefully customized white, red, and black 2017 Mustang GT who was wearing a Mustang shirt with a matching color scheme.

Just about every kind of Mustang you could imagine was on display, except perhaps for one. Every generation was represented, including the oft-derided Mustang II (but which kept the nameplate alive and sold very well). There were Boss 302s, Mach 1s, Shelbys of all sorts and vintages, Cobras, Cobra Rs, police-pursuit Mustangs, a couple of Shelby GT350H Hertz rent-a-racers, and even one lone Fox-body Mercury Capri. A handful of cars looked completely original and stock, but Mustang owners like to personalize their rides so most seem to have had some kind of performance or dress-up modifications. The one Mustang I didn't see was what Carroll Shelby called “a secretary's car,” that being a stock first-generation Mustang with an inline six-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission.

With Ford's sponsorship, there was a display of the full lineup of Ford vehicles, featuring all of Ford Peformance's current models, including both GT350 and GT500 Shelbys, ST versions of the Edge and Explorer SUVs, and even a couple of Ford GT supercars.

Mustang Alley, obviously a play on the words of the title to the song Mustang Sally could have been called Mustang Drama had Aretha Franklin not suggested to composer Mack Rice that he change the original name he gave the song, Mustang Mama. Mustang Drama would have been a good fit for the story of the very clean and original black 1985 Mustang GT with T-tops and vanity plate that read BCKHOME. With a license plate like that it had to have a story, so I asked the owner about it.

Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Woodward’s Mustang Alley
Ronnie Schreiber

It turns out that he had bought the Mustang new in 1985. He pampered the car that he'd always wanted, but when his wife filed for divorce and wanted the car as part of the financial settlement, he shrugged his shoulders. The way he looked at it, he was busy trying to rebuild his life, so he let the car go. His ex-wife used it as a daily driver for a couple of years and then sold it. Since they didn't have a right-of-first-refusal agreement, she didn't tell him about it till after it was sold. Fortunately, today there is this thing called the internet, so he posted an ad on Craiglist with the title, “Did you buy a black 1985 Mustang GT from my ex-wife?” and, to his great surprise he got an almost immediate response. 

The new owner was sympathetic and willing to sell. Not so sympathetic, however that he didn't tack on $500 profit to the flip, and that is how the ’85 Mustang GT ended up BCKHOME.