TAYLOR, Mich. – Some Ford fans who have seen Mike Berardi’s personal “MotorCity Mustangs” collection have described it as a walk through Mustang history. Others have even said it’s a Mustang Paradise. Both descriptions would be correct. Mike served as Global Director for Ford Service Engineering Operations for 34 years before retiring to become a full-time automotive enthusiast based around the much-loved Ford Mustang. In fact, Mike has some 100 examples of the proud pony car – and other unique Fords -- in a private warehouse just outside of FoMoCo’s HQ in Dearborn, Michigan. From an original 1964 Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace car to many late-model performance variants, Berardi has just about every Mustang year and model that you can name.
Berardi is not only an avid Mustang collector, but he also restores, races, and rebuilds many types of Ford vehicles. During the summer months, Mike and his wife, Sue, both race S197 Mustangs at Michigan tracks such as Gingerman Raceway and attend many Ford and Mustang events throughout the Midwest in one of Berardi’s restored Ford “Good Humor” Ice Cream trucks. Just a few of his favorites include the Woodward Dream Cruise, MOCSEM’s Mustang Memories All-Ford show at Ford World Headquarters, and the annual Ford Employee car show, just to name a few. On the resto side, Mike always has something in his collection to tinker with, with many of his project cars being placed up on lifts so as not to take up too much floor space in his facility.
From the Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars to many late-model high-performance variants, Berardi has now grouped his Mustang on display – including SVT Cobra R’s, the Mustang, Maverick and Pinto “Sprint” models from 1972 and even the “Stallion” trio from 1976. Want “in” on seeing Mike’s eclectic collection? If you happen to be a member of the Detroit-area’s Mustang Owners Club of SouthEastern Michigan (MOCSEM), then you’re in luck! Mike grants the club a private tour during Woodward week to all club members and friends. In fact, that’s when our own Bill Cook snapped these photos last summer. On that tour, Mike and MOCSEM President Mike Rey surprised John Clor, Ford Performance Enthusiast Communications Manager, with a special banner to hang in the collection that proclaims Clor as the “Brand Ambassador for the Ford Mustang II,” thanks to his consistent promotion of the 1974-78 second-gen Stangs. Ask any MOCSEM member why they attend the 3-hour annual tour, and they’ll tell you it’s not just so see all of the new, added or traded Mustangs in Berardi’s collection, but also to hear Mike’s own story behind each and every car he owns – which is what makes this tour so very special.
If you missed the 2023 MOCSEM visit of Berardi’s private collection and don’t want to wait until next summer, you could check with Team Shelby’s Great Lakes Region, who is planning a tour during their National Mustang Day events this coming April. Or just connect with the many local clubs and groups that set up visits after tagging along with MOCSEM each summer via info posted on www.mocsem.com. While we can show you some of the cool cars in Mike’s collection from the last club visit here, you’ll just have to attend a tour on your own to get the stories that go along with all these great Fords.
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS / COURTESY BILL COOK