Mustang club born, thrives in Citrus County

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Car Corner, Ken McNally, 12/14/12

One of my show cars is a 2007 Mustang GT California Special, which I purchased in 2007 and promptly searched for a local Mustang club to join. I found a great club started recently by a young couple, Perry and Jackie Unger, who are true Mustang enthusiasts and wanted to share their enthusiasm with other Mustang owners. They established the Nature Coast Mustang club in Citrus County and solicited a local dealer, Nick Nicholas Ford in Inverness, to sponsor the club. Membership in the club has grown throughout the years and exceeds 50 members.

Since the club is recognized by the Mustang Club of America and is part of the organization, formal elections for club officers were held and directors were appointed earlier this year. Perry and Jackie declined to run for office this year, although both have remained very active — Perry as a director and Jackie as club photographer and in other support roles.

The club holds membership meetings at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at the sponsor’s dealership and runs an annual Mustang and Ford car show at the location. Funds from the shows are contributed to local charities. Club members also meet during the year to caravan to various car events and shows.

As with any car club, only a small number of members regularly participate in cruise-ins and other events, but Perry and Jackie usually coordinate the activities. To have more participation at local cruise-ins, the Mustang club officers have been coordinating with other clubs to attend monthly events since all of the clubs have one thing in common — the cars. One recent effort was to organize a cruise-in named “All American Muscle Night” at 6 p.m. the fourth Friday of the month at Arby’s on U.S. 19 in Crystal River. All years, makes and models of American cars and trucks are invited to participate. Many Mustang club members also meet at this Arby’s at 6 p.m. every Friday for a cruise-in and invite all cars to attend.

The Mustang club also coordinated with a local MOPAR car club to provide judges for annual car shows to maintain independence in the judging process. This exchange has worked well for both clubs. 

There are lots of great Mustangs in the club — some vintage, some Fox bodies and some newer ones. The club is all about the cars, having fun and socializing with other owners.

Perry and Jackie did a great job in establishing this club. They never imagined it would grow into the successful organization it is today.  If you are interested in joining the Mustang club, contact me for more information. 

Upcoming Cruise-Ins:

* Dec. 15, 22 and 29 — Cruise-in hosted by Citrus County Cruisers at 6 p.m. at Wendy’s on U.S. 19 in Crystal River.

* Dec. 20 — Cruise-in from 6 to 9 p.m. at Beef O’Brady’s on U.S. 41 in Inverness with door prizes and food specials for car owners.

* Dec. 21 — Friday Night Thunder cruise-in from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Inverness.

* Dec. 28 — All American Muscle Night cruise-in as described above.

Ken McNally is the Chronicle’s new car enthusiast columnist. McNally may be reached via email at kenmcnally@tampabay.rr.com or call 352-341-1165.