By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Muscle cars, hot rods and classic cars are big in Mustang – with multiple events featuring them and various businesses specializing in them.
Of all the vintage cars, muscle cars are the most popular, said Russ Root, the manager of 405 Classic Motors.
The popularity of the cars among local collectors, mechanics and auto restoration expert goes back to when they were first introduced in 1964.
“There are a lot of gearheads in Mustang,” Root said.
405 Classic Motors, owned by builder and developer Gary Owens, has grown rapidly as its name has become known nationally and even internationally, Root said.
The business sells and restores cars at its two locations, 780 W. State Highway 152 and 317 N. Trade Center Terrace.
Sixty percent of its business comes from out-of-state, he said. “People find us in the internet, and sometimes we pick them up at the airport,” he said.
“Some people drive their cars home, as far away as New York.”
One of the earliest businesses focusing on muscle cars is Mustang Alignment, 224 W. SH 152, which David Morris founded in 1986.
Baby boomers have fueled interest in muscle cars, said Steve Anderson of Thursday Night Cruisers, who also works at 405 Classic Motors.
The retired oil-field worker owns his own spotless classic, an Oldsmobile 442.
Detroit automakers introduced the 442, along with the Pontiac GTO and the Plymouth Barracuda, in 1964.
The cars featured V-8 engines and generally had four-carburetors yet were affordable enough that some high school kids could drive them to school and cruise with them around town.
Anderson was in high school at the time, as were many of today’s muscle car enthusiasts.
“People want to relive their childhood,” he said.
The muscle cars stayed wildly popular into the 1970s, when the oil crisis led to American automobiles move more toward fuel economy.
Enthusiasts can buy muscle cars that need restoration for under $10,000, Anderson said.
Restored cars vary in price, depending upon their rarity and the quality of their restoration, Root said.
For example, 405 Classic Motors has many cars for sale for less than $30,000.
On the other hand, it has a 1970 Plymouth Cuda with 36,000 original miles, original paint and meticulous restoration priced at $499,000.
Another group of car enthusiasts with a strong local presence is the Oklahoma Mustang Club.
Ford introduced the Mustang as a 1964½, which came in both a straight 6 cylinder and various V-8 engines.
The club, which has many local members, hosted the Stampede Car Show at the First Baptist Church, during Western Days, said President Allen King of Tuttle.
The club has 275 member families, and they have Mustangs that range from the original 1964½ model to the latest high-performance models, he said.
Hot Rod 100 Sept. 28
The sixth annual Hot Rod 100 Reliability Run will start at the Bridge Church.
It starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the church, 1116 W. State Highway 152, in Mustang.
This event will raise money for Teen Challenge, an organization that helps teens and adults with addiction rehabilitation.
Owners of cars and trucks from the 1972 and older model years will drive to Lawton.
Another upcoming vintage car event will be a swap meet at 405 Classic Motors, 780 W. State Highway 152, on Oct. 5.
Car and truck owners may participate at no charge.
Ongoing events include the Thursday Night Cruisers’ meet, held every week at Bronco Bowl, 135 N. Mustang Road, and Hot Rods and Hamburgers, held at Boomarang Diner, 1400 N. Mustang Road, every Wednesday.