Retired police officer Forrest “Bush” Halpenny, one of the creators of the Okanagan Mustangs and Fords Association, has been around cars his whole life.
His parents were partners in a Volkswagen and Rambler dealership and his first car was a 1956 Chevy, two-door post, but it was the Mustang that was the car of his dreams.
“My wife calls it a chick magnet, but I’ve always thought they were just really nice cars,” said Halpenny, who will be showing off his vehicle at the eight annual All Ford Show and Shine which is hosted this year by Skaha Ford in Penticton.
It wasn’t until Halpenny retired in 2002 that he figured he would have the time to tinker. That is when he found the 1968 Mustang fastback in Abbotsford. It was a 289 V8 with automatic transmission, exactly what he had been looking for.
“They are a classic and when you take it for a ride you get lots of people staring,” said Halpenny of his Mustang. “My son and wife took it for a ride and I had to warn them to drive carefully because lots of people stare and forget where they are driving. They came back telling me it only was about two blocks before they ran into someone wanting to race them and another person asking if my son would ditch his passenger and take them for a ride.”
With advice from the members of the Vancouver Mustang Club, Halpenny fixed it up and in 2003 entered a car show at the Mission Drag Strip. He was approached by a man who originally restored the car in the early 1980s and saw the gem behind the junk. The man provided Halpenny a photo of the car as he found it in a back alley in Vancouver, beaten up and painted Wimbledon White. The car has become a way to forge new friendships as the perfect conversation starter.
“It sure has,” agreed Halpenny. “I get people coming up to me all the time when I am parked wanting to know about it. Then we have about 60 or so members in our car club and we associate with the Vancouver club. We also have people from Alberta that come out to our shows.”
To register for the July 20 Okanagan Mustangs and Fords show visit www.OKMustangsandFords.com. There will be 12 trophy classes and the show runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Early bird registration is $15 or $20 the day of the show. Kinsmen will be providing food service and there will be a 50/50 draw. All the money raised at the car show goes into scholarships provided to students going to Okanagan College in the automotive trades.
“It’s pretty nice to be able to help someone out like that. The students are so appreciative because they know they eventually will be making money at their jobs but expenses for school can keep them strapped for cash,” said Halpenny.
The Okanagan Mustangs and Fords Association will also be participating in the Rotary Car show on Aug. 2.