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Mustang project manager shares advice from storied career

Earl L. Mowrey Jr., of AACA's Susquehannock Region (and an adjunct faculty member at the college), introduces Cantwell.
Earl L. Mowrey Jr., of AACA’s Susquehannock Region (and an adjunct faculty member at the college), introduces Cantwell.
Against photos of striped Mustangs manufactured as Hertz rental cars, the special guest answers student questions.
Against photos of striped Mustangs manufactured as Hertz rental cars, the special guest answers student questions.
A 1966 GT350 owned by club member Robert "Fritz" Christ (right) draws a crowd in the college's transmission lab ...
A 1966 GT350 owned by club member Robert “Fritz” Christ (right) draws a crowd in the college’s transmission lab …
... where Nick W. Soracco, an automotive restoration technology major from Oakwood, Ga., snaps a digital memento.
… where Nick W. Soracco, an automotive restoration technology major from Oakwood, Ga., snaps a digital memento.
Cantwell makes himself available to fans, including this photo op with instructor Roy H. Klinger.
Cantwell makes himself available to fans, including this photo op with instructor Roy H. Klinger.

Penn College restoration and automotive students, joined by faculty and several members of the local Antique Automobile Club of America chapter, enjoyed a Friday visit from the project manager on one of history’s most iconic and beloved vehicles. Charles R. “Chuck” Cantwell Jr., who now lives in Chester County, shared an hourlong summary of his role in developing the street and racing versions of the Mustang GT350 for Carroll Shelby. Combining a substantial slideshow of historic photos with an anecdotal presentation that only an insider could deliver, Cantwell – co-author of “Shelby Mustang GT350: My Years Designing, Testing and Racing Carroll’s Legendary Mustangs” – regaled his audience with a colorful recap of Shelby American’s creation, from primitive mockup, through test-track experimentation, to cultural phenomenon. “You never know where your career will take you, I can tell you that!” said Cantwell, who went on to work for Roger Penske before eventually retiring from Lockheed Martin. “People are often asked in job interviews, ‘Where do you picture yourself five years from now?’ and the correct answer should be, ‘I don’t know.’ When I was working for the Allison aviation division of General Motors, I would never have known that, in five years, I’d be in L.A. working on a special racing program. I couldn’t have predicted that, so keep your options open and be ready for opportunities.”

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