Origins of IMBOC
The start up of IMBOC as we all know it now consisted of several stops along the internet highway. The earliest indication of the future of IMBOC appeared on the Blue Oval News (BON) website around mid to late 2000 (BON posts for this time period are not available). At that point, the Bullitt concept had already been shown at the LA Auto Show in January 2000. People had been posting on the BON Mustang forum comments/questions about features, HP and when Ford would open the ordering system for the rumored 2001 Mustang GT Bullitt edition.
As the weeks went on to months, there was a small group who posted frequently on BON about the rumored future Bullitt. These posters would form the core group of IMBOC and included the following individuals.
Bullitt_GT/1NastyGT: Nasty Bob (Las Vegas, NV)
The above individuals ended up being the founders/webmaster of the Bullittclub.com.
Other early individuals (not all) who posted frequently on BON and contributed to the success of the Bullittclub.com site included:
Mutant/Bullitoid/B-Man: Mike Affourtit (Springboro, OH)
Blakwing42/Blakwing: Steve Davlantis (Chicago Heights, IL)
During the late 2000/early 2001 period, at Bullitt_GT’s (Nasty Bob) request to Robert Lane, the Webmaster at BON, a forum was created dedicated to the Bullitt Mustang.
At this point in time, Ford started taking orders for the 2001 Bullitt Mustang. The Bullitt Mustang threads consisted of future Bullitt owners posting when and what dealer they placed their orders with as well as what options were selected from the limited list. The discussions also focused on which body color was ordered; True Blue, Black or Dark Highland Green.
Also around this time, those who had a negative opinion on this new Mustang edition would freely post their comments. BON was not very well moderated back then and subsequently the negative comments flowed freely. The car is a GT with green paint…..it’s not worth the money…..my ’99 GT could kick it’s ass…..you are pretty stupid for even considering buying this car, were the very mild comments. This experience with BON would be the foundation of why IMBOC has its posting rules and moderating.
The frustrations of posting on BON were best summed up by southernbullitt’s post on Yahoo! back on May 8, 2001:
Just posted my LAST POST on BON...
Just wanted to let you guys and girls know that
you will not be seeing any more posts from Bullitt01
on BON. I just got sick and tired of all the
nastiness on that board. Cobra people bashing the Bullitt
and GT. GT people bashing the Cobra, Bullitt and
other GT's. It's just silly on a FORD site to see FORD
bashing. I hope we stay like we are here. Mike
Mike Affourtit, B-Man/Mutant/Bulittoid, recognizing that continuing to post on BON will not be acceptable, started working on the development of a web site dedicated exclusively to the new Bullitt Mustang. In early April 2001, Mike started the basis of a Bullitt Mustang web site by creating forum concepts and registering the domain name, Bullittclub.com, on April 14, 2001.
Concurrent with Mike’s work on a dedicated Bullitt Mustang web site, Bullitt_GT, formed a Yahoo! Group in early April 2001. The Yahoo! Group allowed for a total of 25 MB of storage for photos, not much by today’s standards, but a large amount back then.
At this point, several of the diehard future Bullitt owners (Job #1 was not until March 2001, approximate a 2 month delay) started migrating to this Yahoo! site which was named: “Bullittheads • The Home of 2001 Mustang Bullittheads!”
Forecasting the current IMBOC website philosophy, the future Bullitt owners or Bullittheads started discussing both Bullitt related topics as well as other automotive and general interest topics. Since this was the first opportunity for posters to post photos, several members used this feature.
The group members, since some had already ordered their Bullitts, started posting build/shipping dates using data that they obtained from Ford’s VOPC system. VOPC was an 800 number where dealers could call for the status of their customer’s orders. This phone number was posted on the web and future owners were able to access it much to the chagrin of Ford Motor.
The tracking of a member’s Bullitt through the ordering/building/delivering process was almost a daily event for some people. Based on the Yahoo! posts, TwoStangWmn, Vicki, was the most aggressive member in tracking her Bullitt through the system. The final leg of her Bullitt’s journey, ‘over the mountains’, to her dealership seemed to take forever.
Even during the early stages of the Bullittheads Yahoo! Group, Bullitoid (B-Man) was already the marketing maven starting to develop “Bullitthead” T-Shirts.
It was not soon after the Yahoo! Group was formed, that the discussion of a website was started. On April 18, 2001, Bullitt_GT sent out this post on the Bullithead site:
Would anybody like to be a Co-Founder?
I drive truck for a living, on the road 3 nights
a week and would like to know if one of you
Bullittheads would like to be made a co-founder. You'd
have the same control as I do, including the
ability to delete posts, kick bad people out, change the
club pic and background and so on. The only thing
you wouldn't be able to do is delete the club
altogether! I'd really like for this club to to be the best for
everybody and it would be beneficial to all if someone
would like to help me out! We can also have
several co-founders, so do we have volunteers?
Twostangwm: Vicki Magee (Spokane, WA)
Epperstang: Joyce Epperson (Salt Lake City, UT)
Chilli Bullitt: Cam Morris (Chillicothe, OH)
Mus408: Larry (VA)
DilloDave: Dave (TX)
Mustang99: Marty (St. Louis, MO)
Fordbullitt: Brian Hood (Katy, TX)
Jimmy Ray: (AR)
H1RESQ: Wade Koch
Bullitt3230: Kurt Andersson (Somewhere on Route 66)
6treva9: Treva Gonzales (Fremont, CA)
Bullitt 369: Fred Cardone (Deceased; in his honor The Spirit of Lindberg/Cardone Award was formed)
MB4875: Richard Sterbins (Location: Several people would like to know)
Cochese/PX/PY/Sweet Baby James: Colin Wayne (Location: Cincinnati, OH)
Since a website was already in development by Bullitoid (B-Man), two individuals jumped on this opportunity, Bullitoid & Blakwing . So on April 18, 2001, Bullitt_GT (Nasty Bob) and Blakwing (Steve Davlantis) became the co-founders and Bullitoid (B-Man/Mike) was the webmaster for the new website, Bullittclub.com.
Because of the formation of Bullittclub.com, the Yahoo! Group Bullittheads • The Home of 2001 Mustang Bullittheads!, would be short lived, approximately one month.
In May 2001, the Bullittclub.com website was launched using phpBB website software. Blakwing had the honor of making the first post on May 10, 2011 at 1:02 PM EST.
This date, May 10, 2001, is considering the start up date for Bullittclub.com.
During the transition time from the Yahoo! site to the new Bullittclub.com site, Bullitheads were taking delivery of their 2001 Bullitts. Some Bullitt owners would specify that the dealer not prep the vehicle and they would take delivery with all of the protective plastic/paper in tact. Everyone was attempting to locate that Body Line build sheet mysteriously tucked under the rear bumper/fascia on their new Bullitts, some were more successful then others.
Here are some of the original members and the day they took delivery of their Bullitt.
1.) #457, Yahoo! User CaptainComet, May 2, 2001
2.) #172, Yahoo! User Southernbullitt, May 2, 2001 (tied for same day)
3.) #621, Yahoo User bwcobra15, May 4, 2001
4.) #428, Yahoo User Dillodave, May 5, 2001
5.) #66, Yahoo User Fordbullitt, May 8, 2001
6.) #344, Yahoo User TwoStangWmn, May 8, 2001
7.) #753, Yahoo User Chilli Bullitt, May 9, 2001
Generally the first year of the site was filled with individuals documenting the delivering of their Bullitts, discussing quality/warranty issues, posting ET and top speeds. Regarding the top speed of the Bullitt, there were some rather incriminating videos posted documenting the 140 mph limit of these cars. Early on the discussions started of future Bullitt Owner events; initially on a local scale like the Dallas/Fort Worth get togethers which is still going strong.
Mike Affourtit (B-Man), the Webmaster was also working hard on further developing the website including the original site logos. Below is an example of some of the logo concepts as well as the original Bullittclub header.
On May 25, 2002, the club was changed to IMBOC. One of the main reasons for this name change was that Warner Brothers was becoming aggressive in preventing any unauthorized use of “Bullitt”. Several companies trying to build products for the Bullitt Mustang were receiving cease and desist orders. The B-Man, in trying to avoid any potential legal issues, made the decision to change the site name to IMBOC, International Mustang Bullitt Owners Club.
This is a brief summary of how IMBOC was started in the early days. There are many more key contributors/members who were not identified in this summary but that does not diminish their contribution to this great site. Over the next several months, more history of this great club will be documented.