We got the chance to speak with Troy Raby from the staff of Ponies In The Smokies about the details of the Pigeon Forge car show, some history behind the cars themselves, and just what makes the Ford Mustang so special.
What is your connection to the PITS show?
The four organizers live in the Carolina’s (2 of us in NC and 2 in SC) and have known each other for over 10 years, but have been life-long car/Mustang enthusiasts. We first met within Southeastern Foxbodies (a Mustang club dedicated to the Ford Foxbody platform built from 1978-1993) where we eventually evolved into leadership roles as the four administrators for the club (think executive board).
Having attended and hosted large and small car events in the region for many years we saw demand for a multi-day Mustang based event within the backdrop of The Great Smoky Mountains. With that, we devised a plan and created T5 Productions, LLC for the sole purpose of promoting Ponies In The Smokies.
What is your favorite model and why?
Although we are Mustang and Ford fans as a whole, we grew up in the Fox Mustang era and it’s the model that brought us together which therefore easily qualifies it as our favorite model!
What qualifies as classic?
There are various definitions of “classic” or “historic” vehicles, but the most common stems from each State’s Dept of Motor Vehicle classifications rules that provides a breakpoint for when cars become exempt from certain EPA regulations or cheaper to register or perhaps insure. The average tends to be when a model reaches 25 years of age.
So 25 years or older is generally considered a classic and somewhere between 75-100 years or older is an antique or vintage.
What are the distinguishing features of Mustangs vs other hot rods?
This has a multi-part answer: First, I’d say its long production run that spans across multiple generations. Behind the Chevrolet Suburban (1935), Ford pick-up truck (1948), and the Chevrolet Corvette (1956), the Ford Mustang (1964.5) holds the spot for the fourth longest (continuous) production model run of all American vehicles.
Second, it was a hit right out of the gate where 3 million were made during the first generation (1964.5-1973). Third, I’d say the common theme every Mustang generation has had being an affordable muscle car, which followed Henry Ford’s desire and recipe for success which was to make an “every man’s car”!
Lastly, the Ford Mustang was the first “Pony Car” which is defined as mid-size, 2-door, short deck (trunk), long nose, rear wheel drive, V8 power. The other manufacturers created their own Pony Cars variants using this same formula which continues today with the modern Pony Car.