TIPP CITY, Ohio – After a summer full of cruise-ins and car shows, sometimes a good, old-fashioned road trip can be just the ticket for a Mustang club to get re-energized as the events season winds down. And that’s exactly the “events tonic” that The Old Fort Mustangers Club of Fort Wayne, Indiana, used this past fall to put an exclamation point on 2022. Late September in the Midwest is known as the color-tour season, so the idea of a countryside drive a couple of hours east to the Dayton, Ohio, area could check that off the list, and add another – the chance to tour a unique museum and sit-in on a special presentation from Ford Performance.
The venue is one of our favorites -- the rural Halderman Museum in Tipp City, Ohio, which is on the homestead of the late Gale Halderman, the man who was the principal designer of the original Ford Mustang. If the museum’s cool vibe wasn’t enough, Ford Performance was asked to attend to give a presentation about Ford’s new Special Vehicle Registry program, as well as to share some stories about the museum’s namesake, who had passed away back on April 29, 2020.
Halderman was inducted into the Mustang Club of America's Mustang Hall of Fame in 2004, and was presented with an Iacocca Award during the Mustang 50th Celebration in Charlotte, North Carolina. He soon became active in Mustang club events and the Ford enthusiast community. In 2014, Gale and his daughter, Karen, converted the barn on his family’s property in his hometown of Tipp City, Ohio, into the Halderman Museum, which holds a collection of artwork and ads, as well as drawings and memorabilia of all things Ford and Mustang. You’ll also see some of Gale’s original sketches, plus a late-model Thunderbird, a Model T and a Model A and of course Mustangs from each generation in his museum, including Gale’s own 1965 Mustang Fastback and 1966 Mustang convertible.
Karen and her own daughter, Lauren, had decided to keep operating the Halderman Museum after Gale’s passing to keep his legacy alive, as long as the Mustang community supports it through donations (there is no admission charge or rental fee) and via the sale of Halderman Museum merchandise. Tours and visits are by appointment only; if you’re not on social media, you can find info on the museum’s website https://haldermanmustang.com.
Some 40 club members and more than two-dozen of their Mustangs made the trip and set up a mini cruise-in on the museum’s back lawn. With a great hot-dog food truck plus some Ford Performance giveaway items as well as a few door prizes, attendees enjoyed lunch and getting caught up with Ford Performance, along with full tour of the museum.
Along with presenting, checking out the ever-changing memorabilia in the museum and chatting with attendees, we took some time to walk the cruise-in field to see the cars that the Old Fort Mustangers drove to the event that day and snap some photos. Check them out in our galley below. If you think YOUR Mustang club would like to schedule a tour, a club meeting or a cruise-in at the Halderman Museum, get in touch with Karen and make some new Mustang memories happen. We might just join you!
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS / COURTESY JOHN M. CLOR