Ford built its first custom Mustang for EAA Airventure in 2008. Called the AV8R, the vehicle had a fairly subdued look compared to what the Blue Oval created in later years. As a special touch, Edsel B. Ford II, Chuck Yeager, Jack Roush, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman and astronaut Jim Lovell signed the car.

Ford Racing boosted its performance by installing a supercharger and tuned exhaust to push the 4.6-liter V8 to 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts).

The AV8R still holds the record for the highest auction price for one of Ford's EAA custom vehicles by bringing a staggering $500,000.