John Desio, 63, of Coram, shows off his 1968 Mustang...

John Desio, 63, of Coram, shows off his 1968 Mustang Convertible.  Credit: Rick Kopstein

Barry Dubin first laid eyes on the Ford Mustang 60 years ago.

The 11-year-old Brooklyn kid visited the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens where Ford pioneers Lee Iacocca and Henry Ford II unveiled the “pony” or “muscle” car that has become symbolic of American automobiles.

“It’s been iconic since the day it came out,” said Dubin,71, of Selden.

On Saturday afternoon, Dubin proudly displayed his yellow customized 2016 Mustang California Special, a limited edition, at the Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island’s car show in Stony Brook. The color matched the first Shelby Mustang he owned in 1970, he said.

Nearly 70 Mustangs representing various eras were on display at an event that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Mustang.

John Dettori, national director of the Mustang Club of America, said the Long Island club organizes its “dust-off” cruise around the weekend of April 17 to coincide with the date of the car's unveiling at the 1964 World’s Fair.

Iacocca named the car, which debuted at a price of $2,368, after the World War II fighter plane — not the horse, according to a 1989 Newsday story on the car’s 25th anniversary. The starting price of today's vehicles range from $30,920 to $62,180, based on the model.

Dettori said Stony Brook Village encouraged the club to hold its event this year in the parking lot at the Stony Brook Village Center. The village hosted its Spring Appreciation Day on Saturday along with the Ward Melville Heritage Organization.

While morning rain delayed the start — classic cars and rain don't mix — the event still drew an enthusiastic crowd as the sun began to shine down in the early afternoon.

“We’re here to protect and promote the Ford Mustang,” Dettori said. “We love to see young kids that are interested, and particularly, give them a historical perspective of the things their grandparents and their parents actually built.”

John Desio, 63, of Coram, purchased a silver 1968 Mustang convertible in Houston about five years ago that he drove to Saturday’s show. He said he had planned to sell another 1968 Mustang that needed work when he purchased his new car.

“I never sold the other one because I couldn’t part with it,” he said with a laugh.

Many in the crowd gravitated toward the 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 owned by Rick Wertz, 61, of Bayport. The dark highland green car sparkled as if it were brand new. The passenger side dashboard featured the silver autograph of Carroll Shelby, the automotive designer, driver and founder of Shelby American.

“My daughter and I chased him around the country trying to get him to sign this car,” he said.

Wertz said he ended up taking part of the dashboard out, shipping it to California and paying for an autograph through the Shelby Foundation.

One day, the car will be handed down to his daughter Shelby, he said.

He had told his daughter she needed to turn 25 before she could drive the car. On the first weekend after turning 25, she came home and told her dad, “Let’s go for a ride!”

People would ask if his daughter, now 28, was named after the Julia Roberts character in the 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias.”

“I’m like, no," he said. "The car!"

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