Local Mustang Club celebrates 25 years, vehicle observes 50th anniversary

Get fired up at the sound of an engine’s roar?

So do members of a local club that is celebrating 25 years since its inception this year and 50 years for its guest of honor – the Ford Mustang.

The North Central Mustang Club, born in April 1989, has about 80 members, with most owning more than one Mustang but, according to club treasurer Tom Gouldy, members need not own the car to be a part of the club – enthusiasm for the brand is all that is necessary.

What started with 10 members has now grown in size to include enthusiasts from high school age to some folks in their 80s.

Ten men – the late Tom Shreiner, Ron Paulhamus, Tom Paulhamus, the late Bob Paulhamus, the late Dennis Pecht, Robert (Fritz) Christ, Fred Agnoni, Ernie Meisel, Tom Deibler and Tom Gouldy – formed NCMC to gather people of common interest in the Mustang, Gouldy said.

“Rory Reed of Muncy has been our president for 10 years and our rapid growth is a direct result of his efforts and leadership,” Gouldy said. “Our goal was to form a family-oriented club dedicated to the recreational use of all Mustangs.

The purpose of the club is to promote the Ford Mustang, to share information to ensure safe, enjoyable driving experiences and to exert a positive influence on the Mustang and its popularity.”

According to Reed, the motto states that the North Central Mustang Club is “dedicated to the preservation of the Ford Mustang – America’s first and premier pony car … “

“We do this in a number of ways,” he said. “Our club is a chartered regional member of the Mustang Club of Amer-ica, so we represent that organization, as well, from a regional standpoint.”

The club holds meetings each month from February through November at which they plan for upcoming car shows, cruises, parades and other outings, Reed added.

“We have members who are also affiliated with the Antique Automobile Club of America and Pennsylvania College of Technology and passing down knowledge and information is very important to the legacy of the Mustang and all antique and classic cars,” Reed said.

The club’s oldest founding member, Korean War veteran Fred Agnoni, of South Willia-msport, is more than 80 years old and remains very active in the club. Agnoni was photogra-phed in a 1989 Grit publication with his red 1965 convertible.

“The ’65 is gone, but Fred now owns a 2006 red convertible,” Gouldy said.

Another member, Fritz Christ, was included in the same photo with his white 1966 Shelby GT350.

“I put $5 down to hold it while I negotiated with my dad about getting it,” Christ said. “I got the car for $3,295 and I drove that car every day for seven years.”

The car now could sell for $125,000 because of the appeal of long-term ownership, Christ said.

Christ still owns the car and recently provided it to Pennsylvania College of Technology for use in some of the classes offered there.

His prized possession was used in two sessions of garage work and one in the classroom.

“I was fortunate to have the ’66 there,” Christ said. “Somebody even said they cut a class to attend the session.”

To Gouldy, what stirred up interest in an organized club was the fifth generation Mustang in 2005, in production from 2005 to 2014. Most of the members of NCMC now own and drive these Mustangs during the club’s events.

“While our members own first-generation Mustangs – 1964 1/2 to 1973 – it is rare to see them on the road,” he said. “The second most popular Mustang was the third and fourth generation, also known as the ‘Fox Body,’ from 1979 to 1993 and the ‘SN95,’ from 1994 to 1999 Mustang.”

Gouldy has been interested in the Mustang since its introduction in 1964, but didn’t have an opportunity to own one until 1984, when he bought a 1965 convertible.

He has owned six versions of the automobile since then, including a 1965 convertible, a 1986 5.0 liter hatchback, a 1989 5.0 liter hatchback, a 1989 5.0 liter coupe, a 1991 5.0-liter convertible and a 2009 4.6 liter convertible.

There has been another addition to the Mustang club in recent years, too.

Women have joined and are active members of the club.

In fact, the oldest Mustang in the club – a 1964 1/2 coupe – is owned by Marcie Cipriani, of Montoursville.

Cipriani has been a long-time member of the local group and also is president of the national Special Vehicle Team Owners Association, a club of SVT Mustang Cobra owners and other SVT Ford vehicles. Cipriani’s Mustang currently is being fully restored.

“I grew up in a family of Chevy and Dodge, but for some reason, the Mustang just stood out,” Cipriani said.

She got her first Mustang at 18 years old and said she always has owned one.

Cipriani owns five Mustangs, including a 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra, a 2014 Holman & Moody 50th Anniversary TdF Mustang, a 2004 SVT Mustang Cobra and the 1964 1/2. Her 16-year-old son, Aaron, who recently got his license, drives a 2007 V6 Mustang, formerly owned by the late Michael Pakoskey, a fellow club member who passed away last year.

The 2004 hotrod – one of only 18,000 built over two years – is a special item to Cipriani. She and club member Tom Schriner were able to photograph the making of the first super-charged Mustang on the assembly line from start to finish, something that is unheard of today.

“You can’t follow a car down the assembly line, but because they were shutting down the line, we were able to get in.”

Cipriani doesn’t drive the vehicle much. After working so closely with the makers, she was able to get the signatures of all the assembly workers under its hood.

“If something would happen to the vehicle while driving it, I could never get those signatures back,” she said.

Cipriani joined the club in 1999 and it has led her to her role as the leader of the SVT club, and has provided her with connections that have aided her in authoring two books.

The first book, “Ford GT – The Complete Owners Experience,” co-authored by Joe Limongelli, covers the development of the Ford GT and the second, “Around the World in a Ford GT,” also co-authored with Limongelli, will be released on May 17 with a book signing at the Book Revue, Long Island, N.Y.

NCMC meets once a month at various Ford dealerships in Montoursville, Muncy, Williamsport, Selinsgrove, Sunbury and Lewisburg.

The group also holds an informal weekly breakfast meeting each Wednesday at Cloud 9 restaurant, Montoursville.

And perhaps the best meetings in life are those that aren’t planned. Gouldy said NCMC also strives to hold many spur-of-the-moment driving events each month.

“We just keep an eye on the weather and if it is going to be OK, we put the word out to our membership that we are arranging a cruise to one location or another, usually for a late breakfast or lunch with a two- to three-hour drive,” he said.

The club is celebrating the silver anniversary in a big way, finding it exciting that it coincides with the 50th for the Mustang, as well.

The group will hold a Mustang and Ford show June 14 at Murray Motors, Muncy, with a special banquet for members the night before at the Watson Inn, Watsontown.

“At the banquet, we will be displaying a large amount of memorabilia from the early days of our club and will have several special gifts to be given away,” Gouldy said. “We are trying to bring in a Ford executive to be our guest speaker at the banquet.”

Several members also attended the Ford Motor Company and Mustang Club of America-sponsored birthday celebration at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C., this month.

For more information about the North Central Mustang Club, visit www.ncmustangclub .org.

Information about the national organization is available at www.mustang.org.