BEING part of champion Australian race car driver Pete Goeghegan's pit crew in 1965 would be enough to fuel anyone's thirst for Mustangs, but for diehard car enthusiast David Bowden it triggered a lifelong passion.
Almost 50 years later the flame still burns furiously, carried on by his son Dan who shares the proud ownership of that same Mustang Pete Goeghegan raced in the '60s.
It's just one of several Mustangs among the vast collection of iconic cars owned by the Bowden family at their Buderim home but it looks to remain a firm favourite.
"The Mustang is just a beautiful car full stop," Dan said. "They were so competitive here in Australia and they made such an impact, so it's been good to actually find them and bring them back to how they were when they raced.
"A fellow by the name of John Sheppard, a very famous race engineer, built this car up, and Pete Goeghegan is without a doubt our most naturally gifted driver, particularly during that period.
That combination of Sheppo's incredible skill in looking after a car and Pete's driving ability gave this car a record like nothing else.
"In the couple of years that Pete had it, this car raced 74 times and it won 68 of its races.
There's no other race car in the world, especially during that period, that has anything close to that winning record - it's just amazing."
Polishing it tenderly, Dan lists the car's many virtues: it's mostly handmade, has a genuine Shelby competition copper engine - the only Mustang in the world he's aware of that has raced with one - it's lightweight, has special brakes and gearing - and boy does it rev!
"In Australia we learn to hot them up really well, that's why we have some of the fastest cars outside the States," Dan said.
"It took us a couple of years to restore, which is quick for us. We're a bit slow up here in Buderim. But we take our time and we're pretty meticulous, making sure it's all right and correct."
Much of the pleasure Dan derives from owning such a vast collection of cars comes from sharing it with others. Exhibiting the Bowden family's iconic beauties at car shows is one of Dan's favourite pastimes and RACQ's MotorFest is no exception.
This year he will showcase four of their Mustangs, including the standout 1965 Pete Geoghegan racing car.
"The crowds that come every year to MotorFest are massive and I think they're really going to appreciate seeing these great old cars," Dan said.
The Mustang will take the limelight at RACQ's biggest annual event, which this year celebrates the car's 50th anniversary, as well as 100 years of both Maserati and Dodge.
The entry fee is $2 per person but free for children under three. All funds raised will go to the RACQ rescue helicopter network.
Full registration closes Friday, 13 June, 2014, unless exhibition numbers are filled earlier.
For more information, call (07) 3872 8696, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the MotorFest webpage at www.racq.com/motorfest.
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