The Golden Horseshoe Mustang Association – How we started!
(As best as I can recall…by Dave Wilson)
They say every good recipe needs an active ingredient. That’s the yeast in the bread or the salt in the stew or the chilli powder in the sloppy joe’s.
It’s a little known fact that Peter Klutt of Legendary Motor Cars and Dream Car Garage fame could be considered the catalyst or active ingredient to getting the GHMA going.
Prior to 1995 there was a predecessor Mustang Club in the Toronto area but meetings were a bit “hit and miss” and there was no constitution, succession plan or duties structure.
At that time, Jim King was Regional Manager, Pacific Region at Ford Motor Company of Canada, He was stationed (among his many stops) in Vancouver. Jim was a “real car guy, in a car company.” Which is a rarity, as day by day the executive ranks were being filled with MBA’s and “car guys” were becoming the minority.
Jim owned a 1966 Springtime yellow coupe (after all…it was the first Mustang body style…and Jim liked that first design) and was a member of GVMA-Greater Vancouver Mustang Association. The GVMA was well run with a model constitution and hosted a 350 car event each year at Horseshoe Bay called Indian Summer Round Up.
In the fall of 1994, Jim moved back to Ford in Oakville as Director of Dealer Affairs… his third stint in the hallowed halls of the head office. He attended a meeting of the local Mustang club shortly after his arrival.
A few weeks later, Jim visited Peter Klutt at what was then known as The Shelby Shop and stated his view that Toronto needed a well run Mustang Club.
Peter called me and asked if I was still involved in the local club and I replied “in name only”. He said he remembered me as “a do-er— one who got things done”. I had been Show Committee Chairperson.
I replied that I and others had felt a need for something new too.
I called Jim King at Ford and if you’ve ever talked to Jim you know his enthusiasm is infectious. Before long, Kathy and I held a meeting in our home attended by Jim and Pat King, and Marg and Dwight Lawrence who had worked on shows, and Michael Mai and Roy and Dianne Newman who had worked on Newsletter.
Jim brought a sample constitution from GVMA, a guidebook from Ford on starting a Mustang Club and a sample GVMA member application. Jim secured the Assembly Room at Ford Head office for a Sunday in mid February 1995. Roy Newman whose background was advertising crafted a Toronto Star –Wheels section article calling all Mustangers to an Inaugural Meeting to see if a new club was viable.
Marg and Dwight Lawrence took care of logistics. eg coffee, tea cookies etc.
Kathy Wilson who is a Certified General Accountant was prepared with a few modified GVMA application forms and a cash (small fishing tackle, type) box in case it looked like this venture was viable and somebody actually wanted to get it going.
We were over whelmed! Over 50 Mustangers signed up the first meeting. Extra copies of the application form had to be quickly photo copied. Officers had to be appointed and an “in trust” bank account had to be set up with executives with signing authority.
Steve Corber, an orthodontist North York, was the first to waive his money in front of Jim and Kathy and became member number 1.
Jim King was first club President, Ed Sargent was V.P., Kathy Wilson was Treasurer, Marg and Dwight Lawrence assumed Membership duties, Roy Newman was Secretary and Dave Bishop was Associate Officer.
Ken Harrigan was a retired past President of Ford of Canada at the time. Mark Huthins was President and owned a 64 ½ Mustang Convertible and a Superperformance Cobra.
Jim had soldiered in the ranks of Ford of Canada for many years working his way up and had become good friends with both. Mark gave the blessing on the use of Ford Facilities for meetings and Ken influenced his son Steve Harrigan who was Dealer Principal at Meadowvale Ford to be Club Dealer/Sponsor and to host our first Stampede Car Show later that year.
Armed with a constitution that ensured a change of leadership periodically and the new ideas new leaders bring and a core group of enthusiastic enthusiasts…as they say…the rest is history!
PS – Just a few pics from the early years. Norm “Mr Woodward.” Our first outing at Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Raceway.) Peter Klutt and Tom Hnatiw from Legendary Motorcars invited us to Mosport to film a segment for their TV show called Dream Car Garage. Some of us at Performance World. – Rob