Mustang Across America 2004
In memoriam Tony Sousa 

© Gary Hanson, last updated on January 14th, 2005


 All pictures courtesy Gary Hanson

Gary encounterd a few problems with his clutch, but friendly Mustangers like this Route 66 Service center were there to help on the trip.

Route 66 Service center has a lot of good used parts lying around. Make sure you stop by next time.

A short stop on the road was always appreciated for
chilling out.

A rare T-5 with a manually operated  sunroof at the Nashville Anniversary 2004.
A few T-5s were converted in the U.S., probably at the ASC (American Sunroof Corporation) or in the Figeso Export Facility

A personal review of T-5 registry owner Gary Hanson

California to Nashville with Mustangs Across America

A group of dedicated Mustangs drivers’ convergered on the small town of Ontario California for the long awaited trip to the Mustang Club of America’s 40th Anniversary show held at the Nashville Superspeedway.  The weather was good and at exactly 8AM the group of about 70 Mustangs headed east to the first rest stop near the desert town of Barstow.  They were met by another 4 early Mustangs waiting at the rest stop.  The group of Mustangs headed east on I-40 stopping for the first nights stop at the town of Flagstaff Arizona.  The Mustang count was now about 80 cars.  This part of the trip closely follows historic Route 66.

The next day the group continued on I-40 toward the second nights stop at the town of Santa Rosa New Mexico.  The weather continued to be warm and more Mustangs joined the group as we passed each big city. 

The third day from Santa Rosa to Mustang Oklahoma featured a lunch stop at John Chandler Ford in Amarillo Texas.  They cleared out the showroom and front lot and served a great lunch to all those driving on the caravan.  The dealership was very cooperative in helping Mustangs in need of minor repairs.  But all good things must end and the group now about 110 cars headed east again on I-40 to Mustang Oklahoma. 

A few MAA participants next to Gary's red T-5 GT Fastback

Upon arrival in Mustang the local club hosted a wonderful dinner at a local park.  They even had live music keep everyone in the party mood.  The local Mustang club has always supported Mustang drives and this year was no exception.

The group now at about 150 cars left at exactly 8AM headed to Little Rock for the last night.  This day like the others was about 425 miles.  With a caravan this large Mustangs were traveling in about 50 mile path of I-40.  Many truckers and other cars would pass and give a big thumbs up and node their approval of so many nice Mustangs traveling together.  Even the Highway Patrol was impressed.  Upon arrival in Little Rock the local Ford dealer hosted a very nice dinner and show for all the special Mustangs.  As in previous citys they provided minor repair for those Mustangs that need attention.   

The guys from New Zealand joined the MAA trip

The last morning saw about 250 Mustangs headed to Nashville.  With a special police escort we were able to connect to I-40 and were soon on our way.  The group stopped in Memphis for lunch and then moved on toward our final destination of Nashville and the big show.  The show was everything you would expect and more.

Mustang Across America had a final dinner for all participants on Sunday evening.  The special guest speaker was Art Hyde from Ford. Art is the project manager for the 2005 Mustang and he gave many interesting insights into the development and marketing of the latest and greatest Mustang.  It was an evening to remember.

The trip was a nice mix of early Mustangs and of later Mustangs.  The early cars continue to have mechanical problems not encountered by the later models.  Problems continue to be charging systems, dirty fuel filters, clutch failures, cooling problems and even total engine shutdowns.  It is becoming very difficult to keep 40 year old cars at the level of repair required to make such a long trip. 

Modified Mustangs continue to grow at the expense of the early stock models.  This is a trend started several years ago and looks at if it will continue.  Most of these modifications are done well. 

A group of T-5s (german export Mustang) at the Nashville Anniversary

Final thoughts:  Sam Haymart and Tony Sousa did a great job in organizing the trip and are to be given congratulations for a job well done.  A trip of this complexity is a series of endless details and decisions.  They did everything right.  The trip was filmed by a crew of The Travel Channel and was a feature story sometime.  Car counts are estimates only; it was difficult to get accurate counts each day.  It was a great trip!

Update January 2005
Tony Sousa died early January 2005 due to a heart attack. Our thoughts are with his family.
On the trip to Nashville Linda and I were able to have dinner with Tony and others on two nights.  He really was a great guy, always smiling, always had a high level of concern for others. His favorite question on the CB radio each day was  "are we having fun yet?"  He will be missed by all who knew him. 

Gary Hanson

Read More:  MAA website


Back to News overview
Back to Homepage