Tucson Mustang Club Preserves an American Icon

Courtesy of Southern Arizona Mustang Club

Bold. Strong. Hot-blooded. Exciting. Back in 1965, this was how Ford described the Mustang in one of its first commercials for the model. Surely, members of one of the oldest Mustang clubs in the world would describe it in just the same way.

Few products in recent American history have reached the Mustang's iconic status. The sporty, affordable vehicle became an instant success the day it was released in 1964, and 22,000 wer sold in just 24 hours. Since then, the car has shaped the automobile industry, appeared in hundreds of films, and become popular among gearheads and casual drivers alike.

Just a year after the Mustang came to market, a handful of Mustang lovers in Tucson formed the Southern Arizona Mustang Club (SAMC), and in its 52-year history, the club has grown from 20 members to 280. Today, some of the original members still belong to the SAMC, but the club continues to recruit new members who own all different models of Mustangs.

Although hundreds of Mustang clubs have been formed worldwide, few are as longstanding as the SAMC. In a recent article, the club was recognized by Ford as the world’s oldest Mustang club — a title its members are proud of.

Each month, members take their Mustangs on scenic cruises around Tucson, host meet-ups and participate in fundraising events for local charities and schools. They also sponsor car shows throughout the year, including Fords on Fourth, a popular show open to owners of all Ford models. The show, now going on its 12th year, is held annually in March and takes place in Tucson’s historic Fourth Avenue district.

Aaron Sapienza, current president of the SAMC, says people come from all over the country to attend and participate in the show. Like many of the group's events, all proceeds from Fords on Fourth benefit local charities. This year, the SAMC opened the show to 275 car owners and sold out. Next year, they’ve decided to increase the show to 300 participants.

Although it’s the Mustang that brought the members of the SAMC together, Sapienza says the club has become much more than that over the years.

“It’s not so much about the cars,” Sapienza said. “The people that we have in the club are just fantastic people. I can’t say enough about them. The Mustang is a great car, and it’s an American icon, but it’s the people that really make the club. Anybody could have a Mustang club, but it’s all about the people who are in it. It’s like a big family to us.”

To learn more about the Southern Arizona Mustang Club, visit www.southernarizonamustangclub.org or find the club on Facebook.

— Emily Balli

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