By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer–
This Sunday morning, April 23, drop by the parking lot at Starbucks by Walmart, 840 S. China Lake Blvd, and check out the cars. Starting at 9 am, the Muscle Mustangs of Ridgecrest and the Misfits Car Club are having a car meet. You can bring your car, drop by and talk cars, or just check it out. President and Founder of Muscle Mustangs Manny Aranda says, “Let’s talk about cars.”
The Muscle Mustangs are having their next official car show on September 23 at Leroy Jackson Park. Aranda tells us, “The car show is a big event with trophies and awards, a DJ comes out, and there are a lot of vendors.”
Aranda takes a lot of pride in his 2012 Shelby Cobra GT-500, which is symbolic of his love of Mustangs and airplanes. The Cobra was wrapped by Rad Custom Designs in Ridgecrest, modeled after a P-51D Mustang, an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter bomber used during World War II (WWII). Lee Liederbach of Kissimmee, Florida, granted him permission to copy the designs of his plane named Crazy Horse. Combat pilots lovingly named their aircraft. According to Aranda, “She is the lady who’s going to take care of them during the war.
“That’s where it all came from. It was the desire to have something that you always liked, you’ve always wanted, but is too far to reach and is out of your grasp. I’m never going to be a pilot. I’m never going to own a P51 WWII airplane. But guess what? I could turn in my own car, which is Shelby Cobra, into a P51 Mustang because the Shelby Cobra is a Mustang.”
The love of airplanes came early to Aranda. “As a kid, I grew up building model airplanes. I was watching WWII movies, aircraft movies, and stuff like that. I was always interested in Mustangs since I was a little kid. I always liked it. I just loved the shape. I started reading about history, and they had movies with the P 51. Movies like Tuskegee Airmen and Red Tail. It was fun.”
A childhood playing with hot wheels and his father’s 1969 Mustang brewed his love of Ford Mustangs. A quick internet search tells us, “Executive stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford with suggesting the name. Developed in record time on a shoestring budget, Ford introduced the 1965 Mustang at the World’s Fair on April 17, 1964, to instant acclaim.”
“I was into Corvettes as a little kid, I loved little hot wheel cars, and that’s what got me interested in cars. Then my dad would sit me in his Mustang and vroom vroom all over town, and it was great.” When Aranda was 19 or 20, he purchased his first, a 1966 Mustang.
Those of us, who know nothing about cars, may remember the old days when one could repair their own cars. The advent of computers took control over areas of the car, including the transmission, the brake system, and the engine. However, there are still modifications that one can perform (making sure to follow California smog emission standards). Aranda tells us, “There are people who have cars who have bolt-ons where you add more horsepower. Now you can fix the suspension of your car. You could put a turbo pro charger or supercharger in your car, making it faster. You could get a cold air intake to bring more air and add more horsepower. There is still a lot of stuff that you could do with your car.”
Aranda did some of that to his Mustang, and you can probably hear him coming as he hits the gas on an open stretch of road. (Firsthand knowledge, it is quite an experience: a safe adventure with a hint of danger.)
“I started the Muscle Mustang Club in 2015 because all the big cities had car clubs, and I didn’t want to drive out to Lancaster or Los Angeles to be part of a club.” He got together with PB Aguilar, who has the Hot Wheels Mustang, which is wrapped to look like a hot wheels car. “We have roughly about 50 or 60 members in the club. However, no one comes all at the same time. My rules of the club are no mandatory meetings, no mandatory dues, and just show up when you can. It’s a family environment.”
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