The numbers tied to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh are impressive, if not overwhelming – but there’s one statistic especially worth eyeing.
Some 2,500 show aircraft and 650,000 visitors are expected at this year’s meet, which runs from Monday – Aug. 3. An estimated 10,000 airplanes are expected to fly in to the airport in east-central Wisconsin. And here’s the kicker: The event will feature one cool Ford Mustang.
A special one-of-a-kind AirVenture Mustang, the Mustang AV8R, will be unveiled on Sunday. The classic American car was named after the famous P-51 Mustang fighter, which played a key role in World War II as a bomber escort. Several P-51s are slated to be at Oshkosh, according to the show’s web site, www.airventure.org.
The team at Ford Racing helped develop the aviation-inspired Mustang AV8R. Special features on the 2009 Mustang GT include a glass roof, which is a new option on Mustangs this year; special front and rear fascias; integrated spoiler; and Shelby GT500 wheels. Ford Racing’s contributions include a handling pack (dampers, lowering springs, anti-roll bar kit and strut tower brace), supercharger and tuned exhaust that will generate 400 horsepower from the aluminum block 4.6-liter, 24-valve V-8 engine.
The Mustang AV8R is painted in Satin Silver matte paint with Black Gloss accents. The interior features distressed “bomber jacket” leather inserts and trim panels along with a “Bullitt” aluminum instrument panel appliqué and shift knob. It also has an appliqué autograph area for the aviation legends and notable enthusiasts scheduled to be in attendance, who include Edsel B. Ford II, Chuck Yeager, Jack Roush, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman and Jim Lovell.
Douglas Gaffka, the chief designer for the Mustang, took a restrained, modern approach for the Mustang AV8R.
“We chose anodized silver for the body sides and high-gloss black for the hood, which flows through the glass roof – it was almost like having a canopy,” Gaffka said. “We also embedded the Air Force star in the glass.”
Collectors can bid on the car. Perspective owners should contact Matt Miller at 1-800-236-1025 for details about the July 31 auction. Auction proceeds will benefit the EAA’s Gathering of Eagles program, which helps provide scholarships for young people interested in aviation careers.
Donating the Mustang AV8R is the latest example of Ford’s continuing commitment to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Last year, Ford donated two tickets to the finals of “American Idol,” which sold for $16,500. Ford and Shelby Automobiles donated a Mustang Shelby GT-H in 2006, which sold for $250,000.
“The Mustang AV8R is the latest commitment from Ford in support of EAA’s effort to build the future of aviation,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA president. “This stunning, one-of-a-kind automobile will be a very special addition to our Gathering of Eagles fund-raiser, which supports EAA’s aviation education and preservation work throughout the year.”