By Wal Marshall
From the feedback received during the run and afterwards (see one example at the bottom of this page), there seems to be little doubt that the whole event could be considered a complete success. All days were completed as planned with considerable enthusiasm from the participants.
The weather also co-operated with 9 days of fine weather of the twelve days. Even on the three days where it did rain (New Plymouth to Masterton, in Christchurch, and in Invercargill ), the planned activities still took place without significant problems.
There were no major breakdowns (some minor ones), no accidents (or even dents), and not even any speeding tickets (that I was told of anyway!).
109 cars were formally registered for the event when registration packs were exhausted. At least another 20 packs could have been sold. Unregistered participants added maybe another 50 cars, resulting in around 300 people participating. Added to that perhaps another 100 owners brought their cars along to the park-ups, but didn't participate in the main event.
Participation in the North Island typically varied from 25 to 40 cars with a peak of 50 at the park-up in Taupo. Six cars took the ferry to the South Island, to be meet by about another 10 local cars for the convoy to Nelson. Numbers in the South Island were typically in the 15 to 20 region but were boosted considerably when we got to the Southern Club territory in Dunedin and especially Queenstown with 30 cars in the convoy into Invercargill.
Two cars completed the entire event: My white Boss 429, and the McDonalds red Shelby GT350. Sandy Farrell also rode the entire distance making a total of 4 people to complete Kaitaia to Bluff. The roundtrip distance as recorded by my Boss from Wellington to Kaitaia down to Bluff and return home was 3,330 miles. The Boss consumed just under 1000 litres of gas for the total trip, and averaged 15.6 miles per (Imp) gallon.
Behaviour and co-operative spirit by participants throughout the event was fantastic, as was the excellent support provided by the clubs.
On the financial side, the event was also a success and the clubs not only got their seed money back but a significant profit returned to them as well. In the main this surplus was been generated because clothing sales volumes were higher than expected, and because costings were built around 80 registrations, whereas the final number was 109.
For those who said organising the event would be a thankless task I can report they were wrong. I was greatly humbled to be personally thanked by at least 100 people, and to also receive a number of gifts and mementos from individuals and from the clubs. I would like to specially offer my thanks to all the participants for the support and friendship they provided to me. A separate letter is being prepared and will be sent to the clubs to acknowledge their excellent work in making the event possible, and successful.
One of the best features of the event as reported to me was the chance to meet other mustangers in a relaxing "holiday" type of environment over several days, free of the stress and limited time pressures inherent in the 3 day annual convention. The event also proved ideal for families, as the participants who brought their children along proved, incl the Shepherds who had their 6 month old baby riding with them! Spin off benefits were seeing the country, discovering new places, visiting and staying with friends and relatives, etc.
Ive been asked many times when the next run will be ..."cause next time I want to do the entire event". The answer is that I don't know. Possible options are to hold another in 5 years time or perhaps in 10 years for the 50th anniversary. Full support from the clubs would be essential because numbers are almost certain to be much greater, and in fact some limitation on numbers may even be necessary. Some preliminary ideas and concepts based on feedback received to date are located here.
In conclusion I would like to pass my personal thanks to everyone who participated in the event and made it such a great success; registered participants, those from the clubs who came along to just help , or be there and boost numbers, and also those who were not club members but came anyway to publicly affirm that Mustangs are THE classic car to own!
A Letter of thanks has been sent to all NZ clubs (Word doc).
The following email is an example of the feedback received from participants.
"Well, it is hard to believe it is all over with, the anticipation and event was far greater than one could ever have imagined. I was at the All Ford Day at Auckland today and caught up with some of the Auckland Ford Club members that were on the run and we all mentioned how hard it was to wave goodbye and go back to every day life when it was time for us to leave. We spent most of the day recalling the run and sharing experiences that occurred during the time we were on it. We all mentioned what an awesome job you have done Wal and how we are all enjoying the website updates and the chance to share your experiences on part of the run we didn't attend. Stuart has asked me to tell you that we are "in for the next great run, may it be 5 years or 10 years from now and please book us now as we intend doing the whole run, so if numbers are limited we don't miss out, oh, and also can we have registration number 71 as before", he has truly gotten the Mustang bug and never thought he would ever own one let alone be part of such a rewarding road trip. As we are just 'newby' owners it has given us the chance to meet and make friendships amongst Mustang lovers throughout the North Island that we would never have made. Now when we attend joint meetings as we did today it is like meeting long and lost friends. We are really looking forward to the Convention down at Taranaki and catching up with the crew from further down the line." Robyn and Stuart, Cambridge (1971 Mach 1).