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MAR 7, 2024 | By John M. Clor

Mustang Stars Always Come Out When MOCSEM Visits The Halderman Museum

2024 Mustang at Museum

TIPP CITY, Ohio – There have been dozens of Mustang clubs who have visited the Halderman Barn Museum in Tipp City, Ohio, in the 10 years since it was first opened by the late Gale Halderman, the principal designer of the original Mustang. But very few of them -- if any – have followed the Mustang Owners Club of SouthEastern Michigan’s (MOCSEM) practice of making a museum tour an annual event. In fact, MOCSEM has visited each end every year since the museum was founded, thanks in part to the relationship that club president Mike Rey had with Gale, who himself was a lifetime club member and had often visited MOCSEM’s big annual Mustang Memories show behind Ford World Headquarters each August. So again last fall, MOCSEM members made their yearly visit to the museum – and like the nine others before it, this road trip would also prove to be extra memorable.

MOCSEM’s cruise-in style tour of the museum in the fall of 2023 took place on yet another sunny Saturday, with a food truck serving up gourmet hot dogs for lunch and Mike Rey delivering the first batch of “Ford: The Collector’s Edition” history book & memorabilia sets to members who had ordered the long-awaited collectible after the project was first launched before the global pandemic. As per tradition, John Clor of Ford Performance offered a presentation to attendees on some of Gale’s design history with the Mustang – but what made this visit’s presentation session in the museum’s gathering room so unique was the appearance of not one, but two notable guest speakers -- retired fourth-generation Mustang design chief Bud Magaldi and fellow Ford chief designer Robert “Bob” Aikins, who had penned the SVO Mustang.

Each one of these guys are a treasure to listen to – but together their Mustang insight and storytelling was simply mesmerizing. MOCSEM members truly enjoyed spending some up-close-and-personal time with two great Mustang designers in the spiritual home of Mustang’s original stylist. Both Bud and Bob shared memories of Gale as well as about their own Mustang design work before signing autographs and chatting with attendees. Clor was able to take some time to walk the cruise-in parking area to check out the couple of dozen MOCSEM rides that made the 3½-hour drive from down from Metro Detroit to the Halderman Museum just north of Dayton, Ohio, along with Gale’s granddaughter, Lauren, who had her camera in hand to share some of her photos from that day in the gallery below.

After a decades-long career at Ford that included being the principal designer of the original Mustang, 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. 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 Ohio hometown of Tipp City 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, a few Mustangs in his museum, including Gale’s own 1965 Mustang Fastback and 1966 Mustang convertible.

Karen and her daughter Lauren had decided to continue operating the Halderman Museum after Gale’s passing in April of 2020 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. It’s a great informal place for an interesting look at the Mustang hobby, for a club road-trip getaway tour or even hosting an off-site club meeting. Scheduling a cruise-in to the Halderman Museum barn can include a strolling tour or even lunch from a local food truck that can be arranged on-site.

Three years ago, the Halderman Museum had inducted MOCSEM’s Mike Rey as the inaugural member in its “Mustang Member Hall for Fame” for his outstanding contribution to his club and the Mustang hobby. Since that time, several other clubs have nominated significant members to receive Halderman Hall of Fame awards, with the recipients’ plaques proudly displayed in the museum. If you know of someone who would make a good candidate for inclusion in the hall, don’t wait to submit their name. Nominees for the Halderman Museum Mustang Club Hall of Fame must be (or have been) an active Mustang club member with a minimum of five years of service to the club and who has made a significant impact on the success of the club and/or the enjoyment of his or her fellow members. Nominations should have the support of a club’s board or membership before submission in the form of a Word Doc with the full name of the club, the nominee (plus any club title or positions held) and a written explanation of the reasons why the nominee deserves inclusion in the hall and what contributions have been made to the club. Clubs can send that Word Doc along with a .jpeg image of the nominee to Ford Performance in an email to ClubHub@Ford.com with “Halderman Museum Mustang Club Hall of Fame Nomination” in the subject line.

Ford Performance has agreed to review all applications with the Halderman family and to help notify the club contact of a determination for acceptance into the Halderman Museum Mustang Club Hall of Fame. There’s only one catch: All induction ceremonies must be done at the Halderman Museum in Tipp City, Ohio, with the nominee and club members present. (The museum asks not to send in a nomination if the nominee or club is unable to make a trip to the museum for the award.) Inductees will receive a custom, laser-cut metal Halderman Museum logo award, with a corresponding metal recognition plaque to be permanently mounted on the support beam in the museum’s lounge. The Haldermans will consider up to three inductees per year (Spring, Summer & Fall) and will work with clubs to set up an induction ceremony date.

Tours like the one that MOCSEM and many other clubs have enjoyed are set up by appointment only; if you’re not on social media, you can find contact information on the museum’s website, https://haldermanmustang.com. Even if your club’s visit is purely for pleasure, plan on taking a road trip to this little gem of a museum because it’s sure to be memorable. And even though there’s no guarantee you’ll get to meet Mustang designers in person during your museum tour, Ford Performance Club Connect makes regular stops there, and we always love to celebrate Mustang’s product legacy with new friends.