Just in time for March Madness, Lexington auto dealership Paul Miller Ford has unveiled the car for the ultimate University of Kentucky basketball fan.
The dealership announced Tuesday that it will sell five customized 2010 Mustangs called the "Coach Cal Edition."
The process starts with a 2010 Roush 427R Mustang or a Mustang GT, which are then turned into a Wildcat lover's dream by Paul Miller Ford's staff of Mustang enthusiasts, vice president and general manager J.P. Miller Jr. said.
The crew has designed a UK blue paint scheme for the vehicles modeled after the Bill Keightley jerseys worn by the team last year in honor of the longtime equipment manager.
"I was looking at the way the jersey was laid out and thought it would be cool if they designed it based off the way the jersey looked," said Miller, who said he was given one of the jerseys by the university.
An iconic "C," standing for Calipari, is added to the rear of the vehicle. It's modeled after an "I" that Miller saw on a Lee Iacocca edition Mustang.
"I thought how cool would it be to have a nice bold 'C,'" said Miller, whose dealership has long had promotion deals with UK Athletics' coaches.
The vehicles are autographed by Calipari and will probably all be driven by the coach. He's driving the first one now, Miller said, and "he told me last night that as soon as you sell them, just keep bringing them to me and I'll drive them until you sell them out from under me."
Among the other upgrades beyond the standard manufacturing packages are improved wheels and tires.
The Roush version of the "Coach Cal Edition" sells for a little more than $71,000, and the GT version will be just less than $40,000.
"The only difference between them is that under the hood, some will be more powerful than others," Miller said.
He said the dealership is already looking forward to the 2011 "Coach Cal Edition," which will be built off the 5.0 Mustang that is set to arrive in late summer.
The dealership isn't committing yet to how many Calipari editions they'll make of the 2011.
"We know we're getting a lot of interest in the 2010s," Miller said.
The UK coach-themed vehicles are becoming a tradition at the dealership. Paul Miller Ford previously released a 2009 Rich Brooks edition of an F-150 Crew Cab pickup truck.
The dealership made three of the vehicles, the last of which was bought by the now-retired coach.
"We were going to build a 2010 version," Miller said. "He asked if this was the last one, and I said this was the last 2009, and he said, 'I want to buy that one right there."
As for whether new UK football coach Joker Phillips will get his own edition of a Ford vehicle: "That's a good question," Miller said. "I guess we'll have to see."
Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.