Celebrating 60 Years of Mustang, Windsor, Canada-style

Apr 14, 2024

They came – they roared – they wowed: hundreds of Ford Mustangs, en masse to Windsor, Ontario, Canada’s Essex Engine Plant, in a kaleidoscope of colors, all to help mark 60 years of the world’s most-beloved Pony. 

Held at the home of the vehicle’s 5.0L engine, clear, blue skies made for a picturesque day for arriving owners, some of whom were taking no chances of missing out on the historic gathering. The event kicked off Canadian celebrations in style prior to the April 17 anniversary.

Sun’s Out ‘Stangs Out

“We had one guy camp out here at 2 a.m. to be the first car here. He came from London. The camaraderie and enthusiasm to talk about these vehicles is unreal,” said David Cantagallo, Director - Human Resources Site Operations and noted car buff. “This is heartwarming to see. This a huge day.”

The employee parking lots on Quality Way began teeming with Mustangs well-ahead of the 10 a.m. official start to the free festivities – and did not abate until well after the 1 p.m. close. The day saw representation from every Mustang generation, with owners taking turns amassing in formations of ‘6-0’ to have aerial drone photos taken. A separate photo op, replete with stylish 60th anniversary backdrop was another popular feature for attendees during the celebration, which also featured light refreshments, music, children’s games, historical displays, a JDRF 50/50 draw and, of course, plenty of car talk and showing-off of individual models. 

Mustang Pride Runs Deep

“This is my little baby. It’s a ’66. It’s a survivor. It’s an original car. I’ve kept it as original as possible and it runs like a clock,” said Ford retiree Gary Barash and former Unifor Local 200 Skilled Trades Chairperson. “It was a good find for me. It only has 44,800 miles when I bought it and I’m only the third owner. It has a Windsor 289 four-barrell … there’s only two little bubbles of rust on the whole car.”

“I worked at Ford and retired at Ford and I’ve always loved the Mustang,” he continued.

Normand Lalonde, on the other hand, was among those who opted to customize his Mustang. What began as a plain, white 2015 GT is now anything but. 

“I’ve played with this for four years. All of this is after-market parts. It’s all hydro-dipped. The inside of the dash is hydro-dipped, too. All the metal parts are powder-coated. Custom paint job. No stickers anywhere on the car. It’s all my design. I’ve always been a big Ford fan. I can’t find anything better than Ford,” said Lalonde. “They’ve always been the second love of my life – I can’t say first, my wife would kill me!”

Unifor Local 200 John D’Agnolo was among those to address the throng of enthusiasts.

“The thing I’ve enjoyed the most today is walking around and seeing different generations of Ford and Unifor employees among those in the crowd, each proudly showing off the engines they worked on. These vehicles mean something to this community and have for a long time,” said D’Agnolo.

Jeff Boughner, Essex Engine Plant Local 200 chairperson echoed those sentiments. 

“We’re very proud of what we do. We have a Dark Horse sitting here, lots of other 5.0-litres everywhere throughout the lots, Windsor-built here at the Essex Engine Plant,” said Boughner. “It’s been a great turnout. They were first trying to hit 150 and now it looks like we hit 300, doubling it. Overachieving - that’s what we do here in Windsor. It’s been a very good day.” 

“I was on vacation, but I knew I had to part of this. That’s why I’m here today. Look at this!” said John Leach of Windsor Engine Plant, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, gesturing to the sea of ‘Stangs stretched across the several lots. “This is great!”