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OCT 5, 2023 | SVT 30 year reunion banner

Original Team Members Help Power SVT 30th Anniversary Reunion Events

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DEARBORN, Mich. – This year marked 30 years since the Ford Special Vehicle Team rocked the enthusiast world by bringing SVT-badged high-performance Fords to market. To commemorate the milestone, the Mustang Owner’s Club of SouthEastern Michigan teamed up with the Ford Performance Club Connect program to host a trio of special “SVT 30th Anniversary Reunion” events during Woodward Dream Cruise week this past August. The primary goal was to bring as many original SVT team members together as the main attraction for MOCSEM’s annual 800-car Mustang Memories and All-Ford Show, held at Ford World Headquarters the day after Woodward.SVT engineers signing autographs at MOCSEM Show
Nearly 200 SVT owners and fans from all over the country came to Dearborn for MOCSEM’s mega show to display their SVT Cobra, Lightning, Contour, Focus, Ford GT, Raptor or Shelby GT500, joining a special section that featured nine different SVT prototype vehicles from the past -- even those from private collections and not seen in years. Headlining the reunion were no less than 30 original former SVT staffers who made up an impressive SVT reception line at the show where attendees got to meet some of the actual SVT people who made these vehicles a reality. After signing autographs and visiting with owners, the former SVT managers, marketers and engineers went out and picked their favorite SVT vehicle on display in the show field with a hand-signed award cling. Former SVT executives on hand included SVT co-founder and Ford Advanced Product VP Neil Ressler, inaugural SVT Chief Engineer Janine Bay, Ford Living Legends and SVT Design chief Doug Gaffka, and former SVT Marketing manager Tim Boyd. Also part of the action was a gathering by the SVT Mystic Cobra Owners Association and Registry. If that wasn’t enough of a specialty attraction, this year’s Mustang Memories show even hosted the 2023 edition of the Bullitt Nationals.SVT vehicles at MOCSEM show

For many SVT fans, perhaps the best parts of the SVT 30th Anniversary Reunion came prior to the Sunday show, because MOCSEM and Ford Performance also sponsored two other events on the Thursday before – both involving members of the original SVT team. More than 80 SVT owners and fans came to take part in an exclusive SVT Homecoming Cruise-In and SVT Panel Discussion at Dearborn’s Automotive Hall of Fame. There owners and fans got to mingle with SVT retirees at the car show out in front of the Hall and then go inside to review SVT photos and videos in the Hall of Fame’s theater and to hear SVT stories and ask questions of the SVT staff. Believe it or not, the panelists included an extremely RARE appearance by SVT Chief Engineer John Coletti himself, seated alongside Ressler, Bay, Gaffka and Boyd. (One collector brought Coletti’s old parking sign from the former SVT headquarters to put in John’s seat at the Hall’s cake-cutting autograph session that followed, which also featured three rarely seen SVT prototypes on display.) Later that night, Coletti held court as he, the SVT panel and fellow SVT staffers and about 75 lucky fans attended the SVT 30th Reunion Dinner at Angelo Brothers Ristorante in nearby Westland, Michigan, for an evening of sharing good food, drink and SVT storytelling. The autograph session there lasted well into the night – with one SVT Cobra owner bringing in her car’s fender to have Coletti and the team sign for her. It was an unforgettable experience that those in attendance will never forget.Presentation by John Clor in auto hall of fame

We asked one of our top Ford Performance photojournalist correspondents – Joe Deladvitch -- to attend all three SVT Reunion events and provide for you an insider’s look at this special gathering for Ford Special Vehicle Team staffers and fans alike. We selected a fraction of the many photos Joe took to share with you in the gallery below.SVT engineers talking in auto hall of fame
Two new mach 1 mustangs at Auto Hall of Fame
SVT engineers at Hall of FameGulf Ford GTTeal Foxbody Cobra MustangFord Mustangs at Auto Hall of FameSVT Engineers group photoSVT Engineers at signing tableFord Mustang Cobra RPrototype tag on windshield of explorerFord thunderbolt ranger pickupFORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS / COURTESY JOE DELADVITCH & MIKE REY