Ford’s latest one-off for the annual EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, pays tribute to one of the fastest P-51D Mustangs to ever be in the air. The only appropriate vehicle to give the plane its proper respect is a customized 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang. Maybe someone buying the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Spitfire 80 can purchase this coupe and have a garage full of aircraft-inspired performance cars.
Known as Ole Yeller, Bob Hoover’s P-51D holds the record as the fastest prop-powered aircraft to cross the United States with a time of 5 hours and 20 minutes, and it has a history as the pace plane at the Reno National Championship Air Races. To give it a fitting homage, the GT350 wears eye-popping yellow paint with black stripes and green accents. “Ole Yeller” appears on the rear fenders, and there’s a big wing at the back, which should keep the coupe from flying away. The exterior’s one misstep is the neon green lighting that looks gaudy with the rest of the attractive upgrades.
The yellow and black motif continues inside on the seat bolsters, stitching and steering wheel, and it looks fantastic. The big Recaros can hold occupants tight for a cross-country journey. “Ole Yeller” also appears on the door panels.
Power remains stock, but it should be plenty. The GT350 uses a 5.2-liter V8 with a flat-plane crank to pump out 526 horsepower (392 kilowatts) and 429 pound-feet (582 Newton-meters) of torque. The powerful engine sends muscle to the ground through a six-speed manual.
The Ole Yeller GT350 goes up for auction at the Gathering of Eagles charity event on July 28, and the money from the sale goes to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s youth education programs. This is the ninth one-off Mustang Ford has donated for the event, including last year’s Apollo Edition through 2008’s AV8R. The special cars have raised $3 million for the charity.
Gallery: 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Ole Yeller
Ford Reveals Most Race-Ready and Road-Legal “Ole Yeller” Mustang Inspired by Iconic P-51D Mustang Aircraft and Legendary Pilot
- Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang bred from Shelby GT350® – the most track-ready and road-legal Mustang ever produced
- Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang pays homage to the famous North American P-51D Mustang which served as the official pace and safety plane at the Reno National Championship Air Races
- Bob Hoover, renowned United States Air Force fighter pilot and air show performer, piloted “Ole Yeller” for more than 20 years making more than 1,000 air show performances
- Donation and sale will benefit EAA’s youth education programs, including Young Eagles
- Unique Ford Mustangs have raised $3 million for EAA youth education programs, including Young Eagles
DEARBORN, Mich., July 15, 2016 – Ford Motor Company has created the most track-ready and road-legal Ford Mustang to benefit Experimental Aircraft Association’s youth education programs, including the Young Eagles. The aviation-inspired Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang will be donated and sold via auction at the Gathering of Eagles charity event – the ninth straight year Ford has donated a car – on July 28 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.
The Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang features a custom yellow exterior finish with “Ole Yeller” accents and badging, unique carbon fiber components and mirrors projecting images of the aircraft. The interior incorporates specially designed Recaro seats, sill plates, floor mats with unique logos and aviation inspired gauges.
Bred from the ultra high-performance and limited production, Shelby GT350® Mustang, it features a 5.2L Ti-VCT V8 engine with Flat Plane Crank. Boasting the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine Ford has ever produced, the Shelby GT350 generates a heart-pounding 526 horsepower and exhilarating 429 lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse is mated to a TREMEC® 6-speed manual transmission and features a specially tuned sport suspension, making it the most track-ready, road-legal Mustang ever produced.
“This year’s one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang honors two aviation greats, the iconic and historic P-51D Mustang fighter plane, and highly decorated fighter pilot, test pilot, and air show performer, Bob Hoover, who is referred to by many as one of the greatest pilots ever to have lived,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “The Shelby GT350 Mustang, with its nimbleness, speed and aerodynamics, provided us with the perfect platform to create this tribute to the P-51D aircraft.”
“Ole Yeller,” with its bright, eye-catching yellow exterior, is one of the most recognizable P-51D Mustangs in the world. It still holds the prop plane record for coast-to-coast travel at 5 hours and 20 minutes, set in 1985. R. A. “Bob” Hoover, known as a pilot’s pilot, will be forever linked with “Ole Yeller.” Hoover is widely considered the founding father of modern aerobatics and thrilled airshow fans piloting “Ole Yeller” for more than 20 years. In 1997, Hoover sold "Ole Yeller" to his good friend John Bagley of Rexburg, Idaho. "Ole Yeller" still flies frequently and is based at the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg, Idaho.
The auction of the Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang will be the pinnacle of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The event annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of EAA’s youth education programs, which inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators – the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
All proceeds from the sale of the car will benefit EAA’s youth education programs, including the Young Eagles, which has provided free introductory flights to 2 million young people since 1992, helping grow the next generation of aviators.
“We’re truly grateful Ford is, and has been, such a committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture for more than 16 years now,” said Jack Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board. “With its ninth Mustang donation, Ford has definitely delivered something exceptional that any auto or aviation enthusiast would love to own. The Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang will allow EAA to provide support to our valuable programs helping us grow the next generation of aviators.”
The Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang joins eight other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the auction in support of EAA youth education. Ford vehicles donated at EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised $3 million.
Previous years’ unique aviation themed Mustangs created to support EAA’s youth education programs, including Young Eagles, were:
- 2008 – Mustang AV8R, with cues from F-22 Raptor, which helped introduce the glass-roof canopy and delivered an auction contribution of $500,000
- 2009 – AV-X10 “Dearborn Doll” Mustang, crafted in honor of the World War II aircraft
- 2010 – Two automotive icons – the late Carroll Shelby, former U.S. Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, longtime P-51 pilot – collaborated for the first time to create the SR-71 Blackbird Mustang inspired by the legendary reconnaissance jet
- 2011 – Blue Angels Mustang, created to celebrate 100 years of U.S. naval aviation
- 2012 – Red Tails Mustang, to pay homage to Tuskegee Airmen – courageous squadron of P-51 Mustang pilots who were the United States’ first African-American military airmen
- 2013 – U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang, built to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team
- 2014 – F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang, which featured design cues from the world’s most advanced multirole fighter jet – the F-35 Lightning
- 2015 – Apollo Edition Mustang paid homage to the Apollo spaceflight program, which delivered astonishing innovations in technology and landed the first human on the moon.
The Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang will proudly be on display all week in the Ford hangar at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016. To participate in the auction, interested parties must prequalify by contacting the EAA development office at (800) 236-1025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang exterior and interior were designed by Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt. Interior enhancements were supported by Ford Designer Nicole Rush and the Ford design fabrication team. The custom modifications were performed by MAD Industries, led by Chris Mangum. Additional contributers to the project include Ford Performance, Brembo, Carbon 2 Carbon, BASF Refinish, Pirelli Tires, Diode Dynamics, Rigid Industries LED Lighting, sPOD Power Distribution & Switching Components, 3M Window Films, PIAA, APR Performance, Rosen Electronics, FOCAL/The Source AV, Odyssey Battery, Recaro, Northern Engraving, Miko, American & Efird, Takata Holdings, Inc., Forgiato Wheels, Coverkings, L&G Enterprises and Signature Performance Tire & Wheel.