The irony is strong in this story, but so are the smiles.
Consider this an up-front warning – the short story that follows could have some of you rolling your eyes, but stick with us because it also happens to be undeniably charming. That’s because we have a family with the last name of Speed, whose father literally traded a pony for America’s original Pony Car, a Ford Mustang. That was many years ago, but the gesture stuck because the family now boasts eight classic Mustangs and a few more recent models to boot.
The story begins with one Gilbert Speed, who decided that the family’s real-life pony was a bit small for his seven children to ride. So he did what any good father would do – he traded the pony for a car. In this instance the pony was swapped for a 1965 Ford Mustang. Yes, a pony for a Pony Car. We told you some of this might be worthy of an eye roll, but the story gets much better.
As is often the case with families that appreciate cars, the passion for owning, fixing, and restoring them trickled down through the ranks. The bias certainly fell to Fords – the family had experience driving and wrenching on them through Gilbert Speed’s trucking company. The youngest son Chester bought and restored a 1965 Mustang of his own back in 1980, and that opened the floodgates for him and brother Daniel – who now works in the aerospace industry – to start restoring them.
Speed family's original 1965 Ford Mustang, before and after restoration.
All total, four of Gilbert Speed’s children now have eight classic Mustangs. It’s an enviable list of cars that, considering the family name, is also quite appropriate. The fleet includes three 1969 Mach 1s, two 1970 Mach1s, two 1971 Mach 1s, and a 1973 convertible. Get it? Speed … Mach 1? More eye rolling?
Go ahead and eye roll, because this family is spread out across Florida and Georgia but they regularly honor their father’s memory by hitting the road with their Mustangs at least twice a year. When Gilbert Speed passed away, the children turned the family’s Mustang legacy into something of a memorial for him; meeting up to cruise the shows while reminiscing about days gone by.
And that, friends, is the best legacy any of us car-crazy people could hope for. This is a Ford story, and frankly, we can’t blame the manufacturer one tiny bit for wanting to share it. But the heart of the message transcends make or model. It’s why you read about cars, and talk about them, and take such pride in whatever you drive. It’s certainly why we write about them, and it’s why we strive to not only find the news on the latest supercars, but also the feel-good stories like these. It’s what being a car enthusiast is all about.
Well done, Speed family.
Gallery: Speed Family Mustangs
Passion for Speed Collection of Classic Mustangs Ignited by Trade of Family’s Pet Pony for Iconic Pony Car
- Meet the Speeds, whose car collection began with the exchange of their family pet pony for a classic Ford Mustang
- The Speeds buy and restore Mustangs, then use an assortment of Ford trucks, including F-150, plus F-250 and F-350 Super Duty vehicles to transport them to car shows
- The family’s collection of iconic pony cars has grown to include three 1969 Mach 1s, two 1970 Mach 1s, two 1971 Mach 1s and a 1973 Mustang convertible
DEARBORN, Mich., May 17, 2017 – After realizing that a real-life pony would be too small for his seven children to ride, the late Gilbert Speed decided to exchange the family pet for a 1965 Mustang. From that point on, the Speed siblings would develop a passion for the iconic pony car.
One of those siblings, Daniel Speed, remembers the moment his dad traded their pet pony. “One Saturday, Dad said, ‘If you guys won’t ride him, I know what I’ll do with him,’” Daniel recalls. “Then he came back with that car.”
Daniel – now involved in advanced, top-secret projects as a rocket engineer in the aerospace industry – worked as a mechanic for his dad’s trucking company in rural Valdosta, Georgia. Since every truck his dad bought for the company fleet was a Ford, Daniel and his siblings came to know each one mechanically inside and out, which led to them buying and restoring classic Ford Mustangs.
After Daniel’s youngest brother, Chester, bought and restored a 1965 Mustang of his own in 1980, four of the Speed siblings followed suit, buying their own pony cars, which Daniel and Chester restore between them. The Speed stable includes three 1969 Mach 1s, two 1970 Mach 1s (one with an engine their dad built), two 1971 Mach 1s and a 1973 Mustang convertible.
Once their dad passed away, the Speeds started taking their fleet of vintage Mustangs out on the road at least twice a year to attend car shows. The kids are now spread out across Georgia and Florida, so these trips are an opportunity to bond and reminisce on their childhood days with their dad, and how he passed his love of Ford cars and trucks down to them.
“We really enjoy getting the Mustangs out on I-75 and just kind of have our own little parade – our own rolling car show,” says Daniel.
The Speed stable of F-Series trucks enables them to transport their Mustangs wherever they need to go. Daniel hauls his 1969 Mach 1 using a 2009 F-150. Other Built Ford Tough trucks they use to transport their classic Mustangs include F-250 and F-350 Super Duty vehicles.
“We’ve owned Ford vehicles throughout our lives and had good experiences with them,” says Daniel. “So we gravitate to what keeps us going.”