The annual EAA AirVenture event held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is a mecca for aviation enthusiasts, but as it turns out, it’s a pretty big deal for gearheads as well. For the last nine years, Ford has developed a special edition Mustang to auction at each event, including space-themed models and those that take inspiration from fighter jets. This year, the brand may have outdone itself.
Ford’s “Ole Yeller” pony car is the most track-ready road-legal Mustang ever produced, a statement that makes much more sense when you realize it starts off in life as a Shelby GT350. Inspired by the P-51D Mustang aircraft — more specifically the “Ole Yeller” pace and safety plane for the Reno National Championship Air Races — the car features a custom yellow exterior, carbon fiber accents, and of course, an enormous rear spoiler.
The ‘Stang’s story goes a bit deeper than that, because it also serves as a tribute to renowned Air Force pilot and air show performer Bob Hoover. Hoover flew the original “Ole Yeller” safety plane for more than 20 years, which adds up to more than 1,000 air show performances.
“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 Ford’s 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.”
Underneath the eye-catching and underglow-accented skin lies a monstrous, 5.2-liter V8 that produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The GT350 was bred for the track as well, which means this car has the performance to back up its name.
“Ole Yeller” is set to be auctioned off on July 28, with the proceeds going to the EAA’s youth education programs.