In April 1999, Ford Contour enthusiasts from Kansas City and Chicago held a two-day car meet in Springfield, Illinois. The small event was a success, and it was held again the following year in correlation with the SVT/SHO society. This was the birth of Spring Zing. By 2002, Spring Zing evolved into a national meet, including activities such as a dyno day, an autocross, a road course, a dragstrip, and its own organized car show.
Thursday, May 18, was the day of arrival for the '06 event held in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It was also the first chance for entrants to put faces to the names, since everyone who registered for Spring Zing is part of the Contour Enthusiasts Group message forum. The event started off bright and early at Dynotech Engineering's dyno facility. Many people had a chance to tune their cars with their APEXi SAFC controllers or swap out parts.
Mark Knox had the highest naturally aspirated pull with his 3.0 hybrid '00 SVT Contour, making 206 rwhp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Your author had the highest pull of the day with his 3.0 turbocharged '96 Ford Contour SE, making 364 rwhp and 410 lb-ft of torque with an incomplete pull of 16 pounds of boost.
With the dyno day complete, those who wanted to left for Osceola Dragstrip in Elkhart, Indiana. It's about a two-hour drive from Fort Wayne, so people arrived around 4 p.m. for check-in and prep. The lines were short, and most people made passes every 10 minutes or so. The fastest time of the day was a 14.6 by an '00 3.0 turbocharged SVT Contour. It was a first-time dragstrip experience for many, and most importantly, all Contours that raced were driven home in one piece.
Saturday was the biggest day of the event. Jim Bailey's Harley Davidson and Buell allowed the SVT crowd to borrow part of the parking lot. This year, there were classes for Best SVT, Non-SVT, Forced Induction, Sound System, Paint, Engine Bay, and Interior.
In correlation with the car show, there was a Wax Off between two members to represent some of the highest-quality waxes on the market. The test vehicle was an '00 SVT Contour that was masked off down the middle and placed underneath a tent. One side of the car was waxed with Zaino and other with Klasse. Afterwards, people voted on each waxed finish. To prevent the voting from being biased, they were not told which brand was used on each side. Zaino won by a landslide.
Later that night, a meal was catered in for all attendees, and the awards and raffle prizes were presented from the companies that sponsored the event.
Sunday was the day of departure, and many were recovering from lack of sleep, sunburn, or hangovers. That meant one thing: Spring Zing '06 was a success. The Ford Contour may be a discontinued vehicle, but the enthusiasm still lives on.