As the cruising action heated up not far away on Woodward Avenue, a room filled with members of a gone but not forgotten group of performance pirates who created legendary performance machines for over a decade. Following the mission to deliver Performance, Substance, Exclusivity, and Value, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) created an enduring legacy that was worthy of celebration.
I have never ever seen more passion and fun from a group of guys! That is why SVT is the all-time, number-one niche group in the history of Ford Motor Company! -Mike Rey, MOCSEM
“Mike Rey, the President of Mustang Owners Club of Southeastern Michigan, came together with me and sat down and said, ‘What anniversaries or special reunions can we do for the Mustang Memories show? I said, ‘You know, it’s the 30th anniversary of the Ford Special Vehicle Team, and he said, ‘Well, who better than you to put it together?’” John Clor, Enthusiast Communications Manager at Ford Performance, explains.
SVT products and several prototype vehicles were on hand at that annual show, held on August 20, 2023, but on the Thursday before the show, many of the people who designed, engineered, and marketed those vehicles gathered at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, to celebrate three decades since SVT was born back in 1993.
Among that group were former Ford Motor Company Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Neil Ressler, who along with the late Bob Rewey, former Group Vice President, Global Consumer Services and North America, provided the support that SVT needed to grow from enthusiasts collaborating across department lines to create the 1993 Mustang Cobra at the behest of eventual SVT Engineering Manager Janine Bay into a full-fledged team that would reach its pinnacle under the leadership of the first Director of SVT, John Coletti, who made a rare appearance at the event.
Along with Bay, Coletti, and Ressler, there were too many people on hand to name them all here, but the gathering assembled by Rey and Clor, with help from other SVT alumni, was impressive, to say the least. At least 37 former engineers were on hand along with the designers and marketers. They shared stories from their days creating magical vehicles like the Cobra, Terminator, Lightning, Ford GT, and more. Many of those in attendance also attended a celebratory dinner, where Clor served as MC while a microphone passed to each team member and they told some stories that included pushing boundaries in the name of performance.
“The SVT heroes we assembled for the two events yesterday were beyond incredible, never to be duplicated, and basically a miracle,” Rey said after the event. “I have never ever seen more passion and fun from a group of guys! That is why SVT is the all-time, number-one niche group in the history of Ford Motor Company! Passion is next level with these guys and so is having fun and making some of the most iconic performance vehicles in automotive history!”
If you were moved by SVT’s creations like this author, it was a truly, well, a special day. We couldn’t miss being there and sharing a bit of the experience with you.