Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We've gathered a list of questions asked and listed them here...

Q: Will there be day-of-show registration?
A: Unfortunately, no. The show has sold out well before the registration deadline in the past. We anticipate a sell-out by the deadline in December, so please register early!

Q: How much does it cost to register?
A: Registration is $45 per vehicle.

Q: Do all of the cars have to stay in place until 3:00?
A: Yes. This is both for the safety of the general public and for the vehicle entered. There are NO LINEUPS to leave early. We also strongly discourage people from revving their engines during the show.

Q: Will the show vehicles be allowed to put up any pop-up tents, canopies, or umbrellas?
A: Unfortunately, no they may not. This is due to safety and liability issues that may arise. There have been many instances in the past where one of these items have toppled and caused damage to a display vehicle. We do, however, allow hand-held umbrellas. If the weather is sunny and hot, we advise anyone attending to plan accordingly.

Q: If I have a question regarding my entry, prior to the day of the show, who would I contact?
A: You can call our hotline at (626) 209-9138 or send an email to We will do our best to respond to you as quickly as possible.

Q: I have a really cool display sign that I want to show next to my car. Will I be able to?
A: While we think these signs are cool, we do not allow any display signs, mirrors, carpeting, or "For Sale" signs in the show area. This is to protect your vehicle from damage and prevent any accidents with spectators.  

In The Beginning

by Marc Brodie

Fabulous Fords Forever! debuted as the west’s premier all-Ford show in 1986, but its roots reach back two years earlier. It was the idea of Johnna Pepper, who in 1983 had just wrapped up a 23 year career with Ford Motor Company. As a retirement job of sorts, Ford had appointed Johnna their Ford car club coordinator and his first task was to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Mustang in 1984.

How it all started

With the backing of Ford Motor Company and the assistance from several Mustang and Ford clubs in Southern California the resulting "Mustang Jamboree" was presented at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center at Griffith Park on April 15, 1984 and was enthusiastically attended by over 500 Mustang and hundreds of other Ford-powered participants.

In fact, participation was so good it was clear an all-Ford car show should be an annual event. Backing from Ford was easy enough to gain; with the success of the Mustang Jamboree Johnna had demonstrated he could get hundreds of Mustang, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury enthusiasts to show their cars, thus paving the path to the wonderful relationship between Ford Motor Company and the Ford car clubs in the western U.S. that we enjoy today.

The first step to a permanent annual show was to organize the participating clubs into the Ford Car Club Advisory Council, then exhorting Ford clubs in Ford’s Western Region to join. Johnna also produced a monthly calendar and a monthly newsletter—“Tin Lizzie”—that was sent to all clubs on the council.

At the Meetings

Meetings for the new all-Ford show were held at Ford’s offices in a converted Spanish style ranch house on W. Sequoia in Anaheim. During the November 16, 1985 meeting, after looking at several venues, Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park was unanimously chosen as the location and the date set for April 13, 1986.

Notes from that meeting show "judged categories" would be balloted by participants, a design theme and name for the show need to be chosen, there would be no door prizes or raffles and Johnna Pepper will serve as event Chairman. The following meeting on November 30th, the name of "Fabulous Fords Forever!" was unanimously chosen, the details for the first flyer were discussed and club assignments such as Registration (MOCC), Parking (SDMC), Ballots (CTCI) were assigned. The final decision was for 42 show classes (including 9 Thunderbird and 13 Mustang) and the entry fee set at a whopping $2.00.

Implementing the Plan

Flyers were distributed at the January 11th meeting and over the next two months word of the huge show were spread by the car clubs and Mr. Pepper working with the Ford News Bureau. In January plans for hotel accommodations were firmed up at $30 to $45 a night, show equipment, trophies, and shirts were ordered and at this first event a fashion and costume show was also planned. Participants were encouraged to dress the part to coincide with their show vehicle and a fashion show would be staged during the day with the winner chosen by the fashion editor of a local newspaper.

Entries flooded in at an unbelievable pace, the hotels were sold out by early February and the show was looking to be a huge success. Registration closed on March 15th and in three short months, with a total of 1,324 cars registered, the first Fabulous Fords Forever! show was rolling.

In 1986 Knott's had no roller coasters and no water park, in fact, the area where the water park is now was still a dirt parking lot known as the Rhubarb Patch. The available parking lot was smaller than the one used now and that first year, several classes including Cougars and Cobras were parked in the dust of Rhubarb Patch.

Tedium was added to the dust the first two years via the voting process. Show participants voted on the cars and plaques were awarded at the show’s end, but only after club volunteers in a hot tent in the middle of the show area tabulated the ballots. Even with the primitive computers of the day—this was 1986—collecting and entering the ballots took until well after 3:00 p.m.

Show Attractions

Other highlights of the first show would be more familiar to today’s participants. The goody bag included flyers provided by all supporting car clubs and a cloisonné pin commemorating the event (now an anticipated yearly tradition). The clubs had a small area near the main tent to set up canopies and hand out information. Celebrities attending the first show were Sally Struthers (All in the Family) with her early 1936 Ford V8 convertible and Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters) with a 1958 Edsel. Both entertainers and their cars were one of the highlights of the show just as today’s racing and entertainment celebrities continue the tradition. But that first year it was astounding to the organizing clubs and Johnna Pepper just how many beautiful stock and restored Thunderbirds, Mustangs and other Fords filled the lot at Knott's. And to think only the current Mustangs were fuel-injected.

Before the sunset following the successful First Annual Fabulous Fords Forever show, the wheels were already rolling for next year's display of Ford history.

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