In the spring of 1993, Sam Haymart, a northern California Mustang enthusiast was invited by his friend Brian Fenech of North Carolina to fly to the east coast for the Mustangs 30th Anniversary Celebration in Charlotte. Held in April of 1994, the event promised to be the largest Mustang convention of its kind. Sam agreed to fly out for the event. In the following weeks, he thought about the dream ride it would be to drive his own Mustang across country to the show. He had a yen for road trips and this was a grand opportunity to see the country. Then the idea struck him to get other Mustangs along the way to join up and for a caravan similar to the Great American Pony Drive that had occurred for the 25th Anniversary. A 24 year old, nothing seemed impossible. Sam fired off the idea to some of his friends in his local Mustang club. As expected his wild idea was met with criticism and many saying it cant be done. A few people though, extended their hand and offered their help and enthusiasm saying Well go. A team was born.
A few months later after many letters were written and flyers sent to clubs and Mustang magazines across the country, MAA started getting responses from Mustang owners all over the U.S. saying that they would be there. The planning team then began to organize what would be a 3000 mile seven day caravan from Sacramento, California to Charlotte, North Carolina. The event took on a life of its own and with more and more entries was graced by major sponsorships from the likes of Ford Motor Company who provided new vehicles; A 1994 Mustang GT pace car and a F-250 truck for support. A local Dealer in Sacramento also offered up a Mustang GT convertible which also paced the drive and was used as a camera car for the documentary video that was filmed of the event. Countless other businesses came forward to support the event, which ended up with over 200 Mustangs from nearly every state in the Union, and enthusiasts who traveled from Australia, Germany, and Canada to participate in the event. Mustang Clubs all across the country volunteered to assist in the planning of the event, hosting the group in each of the cities the caravan stopped in. It became a group effort that involved the hard work, determination, and participation of thousands of Mustang enthusiasts whom never met until the event came through their town. Friends were made, experiences were had, and lives were touched. It was the heart and soul of America on wheels.
The groundswell of enthusiasm and camaraderie that resulted from the experience fueled the planning of more events that followed in 1995 and 1996. The group stayed in touch via the Mustangs Across America Registry, which had at the time a quarterly newsletter, and over 500 members throughout the world. Starting in Las Vegas, the drive in 1996 was the largest ever and spanned a three-week period and nearly 6000 miles. Encircling the United States with the MCA Anniversary in Atlanta as the centerpiece to the trek, the caravan went on to Washington DC and to Dearborn, Michigan where they had an exclusive tour of the historic Rouge Assembly Center to see Mustangs being built.
A testament to the new perspective of driving Mustangs not just showing them, remaining enthusiasts with fire in their bellies continued on to plan regional and local driving events. Many of the original crew even organized a new group called Mustangs In Motion, which has been very successful in organizing similar events.
Today Mustangs Across America Inc. is host to a number of regional one and two day events annually and most recently the big cross-country convoy drive to MCA's 40th Mustang Anniversary Celebration. The 40th Anniversary Drive was the largest convoy of Mustangs to cross the United States. Working with Mustang clubs, owners groups and companies in the Mustang hobby the event was a synergistic happening that brought Mustang enthusiasts from all over the globe together for a week-long road trip through the heart of America.
Watch out in 2009 for the 45th Anniversary Drive!
Sam Haymart - President, Mustangs Across America Inc.