Have you seen any of our new ads or 35th Anniversary edition catalogs yet? Paying homage to our namesake, the P-51 “Mustang” aircraft, the iconic “Pegasus” winged horse continues to soar to new heights in 2015. Thanks to a little help from our friends at Progressive Suspension, Roland Sands Design and Vance & Hines, not to mention Hot Bike Baggers magazine, we were able to celebrate three and a half decades in high-flying style. A complete squadron of bikes and the V&H race semi converged on the Planes Of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California, for the photo shoot in mid-December.
In addition to being home to several P-51Ds, the only surviving flying P-51A Mustang in the world — Mrs. Virginia — is based at Planes Of Fame, which made it the perfect venue for the catalog photo shoot. They have one of the largest collections of flying warbirds in existence and are motorcycle riders themselves. Director Jerry Wilkins even does the annual Run For The Wall ride from Chino to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC on his Harley every year.
In addition to static shots of bikes in the hangars with the historic planes, we also arranged with Nik Wogen from Design By AHAVA to shoot action photography and video. This meant pressing the Burly Brand and Progressive Suspension types into doing some riding (like we had to twist their arms). We also hit up Joey Cisco, Mini Moto racer, former Miss Racer X Supercross and active member of the motorcycle community to be our stunt rider and Merissa Dale did double duty as a stylist and model.
New products and a new look commemorating our milestone anniversary meant for a looong day of shooting, but the results were definitely worth it! Highlighting the merging of old-fashioned values with high-tech delivery, Mustang has made digital editions of both its Metric and American V-Twin catalogs available. “We have traditionally launched our catalogs in Daytona as part of the Bike Week festivities, but we realize not everyone can escape to Florida in the spring,” says Mustang’s Business Development Director Marilyn Simmons.
“This year we are making the catalogs available in their entirety online as well as the printed versions,” notes Marilyn. Old-fashioned paper copies are available at the Mustang big rig at most major rallies, or you can get a copy sent to you via snail mail from the website. For instant gratification, virtual viewing is available at http://www.mustangseats.com/Category/Seat-Catalogs
In addition to digital editions of the two new catalogs being launched, Mustang’s social media campaign has also taken off. Starting with the first of the “5-For-35″ seats awarded to the top vote getters on Mustang’s Facebook page was presented in conjunction with Daytona Bike Week. Four more free seat will land in lucky winners hands later this season (the Laughlin River Run is next up). More details can be found at:
Mrs. Virginia, The Mother Of All Mustangs
Not nearly as widely known as the D-model variant, the first “Mustang” was the P-51A. According to the Planes of Fame records, the Royal Air Force approached North American Aviation to build P-40 Warhawks under license from Curtiss. North American believed they could build a better fighter for the British, and the first NA-73X prototype was flown on 26 October 1940, from Mines Field (now Los Angeles International Airport). The airframe had been completed in a remarkable 102 days!
The early machines were afflicted with aerodynamic problems that increased drag and led to fuel starvation. Later redesigns of the radiator and carburetor ram air scoops solved those problems, and the first production model was delivered to the RAF in October 1942. Meanwhile, the Army Air Corps received its first XP-51 on 24 August 1941. However, the Army Air Forces’ fighter budget outlook was grim, so North American Aviation executives and their Air Force counterparts conspired to fund the aircraft under the attack budget. Accordingly, bomb racks and dive brakes were added, and the Mustang became the A-36, thus keeping the production line open.
On 24 August 1942, 1,200 NA-99 versions were ordered by the AAF, and designated P-51As. The first P-51A flew on 3 February 1943, and the first deliveries began the following month. Mrs. Virginia was restored to flying condition by the Planes of Fame and first flew on 19 August 1981.
If you ever have a chance to ride around Southern California, do yourself a favor and drop in at the Planes Of Fame… there are even a couple of motorcycles stashed away in the hangars. You can see Mrs. Virginia, Spam Can and a couple other airworthy P-51 Mustangs in person or click here for a virtual tour: http://planesoffame.org