Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
December 16, 2013

Horse Sense: Prior to drag night, your favorite magazine hosted its first-ever dyno challenge event within the confines of Mustang Week. Sponsored and operated by Pro Dyno, the Battle at the Beach brought out nine of the hottest street 'Stangs in Myrtle Beach to see would put the most power to the rear tires. You can check out complete coverage of the BATB in our Jan. '14 issue, on sale November 15, 2013.

One of the best parts of the gig here is getting out to so many events throughout the year to mingle with enthusiasts and see their cars. Seeing the cars and people really helps motivate us through those times when the deadlines have us feverishly pounding away at the keyboard. It makes the pages come to life.

There are always events that get circled on the calendar. They are special. In years past it was mega races like the World Ford Challenge (which many of you probably don't remember). These days the biggest circle on my calendar is around the middle of July. It is then that over 1,000 Mustangs converge on the hot pavement of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to celebrate our favorite pony car.

A celebration is exactly what this event is about. After years of encouragement by the Mustang Week team, I finally came out five years ago, and I couldn't get over how much fun everyone was having. The event has fused the automotive excitement of multiple Mustang events —autocrossing, cruising, oval-track laps, drag racing, and car showing—with the laid back fun of a vacation. Families can stay at the beach while the hardcore Mustangers head out for the events. It truly is a happy combo.

This year's event expanded with additional events like the autocross school and our own Battle at the Beach (more on that next month). It also expanded with vendors and spectators. While the car-show attendance has a fixed 500-car limit, the vendor area has expanded deeper into the parking lot at the Myrtle Beach mall, and the number of attendees seemed to swell even larger, with an estimated 10,000 spectators during Saturday's cruise-in.

If it keeps going at this pace, next year is sure to grow even larger, so mark your calendars and book your rooms, as Mustang Week is slated for July 14-20, 2014. See you there.


Meet 'N' Greet

One indication of Mustang Week’s popularity is the length of the T-shirt line at the Meet N’ Greet on Tuesday. We had to laugh after seeing how far the line extended beyond the “Line Starts Here” sign. What’s even more impressive is the line seemed to stay this long until the day’s festivities wound down.

Mustang Week’s Mike Clay put his head together with Tony Barron at Palmetto Ford to fashion a Mustang Week Edition ride. This year’s version, based on a black ’14 GT, featured Vossen wheels from Cruizin Concepts, badging and stripes from Bullitt Auto Detail, a Borla exhaust, and much more. The result was a menacingly cool combination that celebrates Mustang Week every time it’s driven.

Obviously a fan of the Coyote engine, Al Davis of Cape May Court House, New Jersey, brought out his NMRA Super Stang racer, a turbocharged ’11 GT. Al runs out of the JPC Racing stable, and JPC’s main man Justin Burcham made a return trip to Mustang Week. This time Justin drove up in his 1,200hp turbo Coyote from Maryland. Now that’s a street car!

You know we love engine swaps here at 5.0&SF. Even a subtle swap will turn our heads. Such was the case with this Fox GT that runs with a transplanted Terminator engine. At first glance, you might just think the car was born with this engine—that’s the sign of a good swap. The car also runs features and SN-95 dash and console. We ran across the car at several MW events, but didn’t see the owner, so if that person is reading, nice job!


Autocross School

Before the official opening of the week with the Meet ‘N’ Greet, BFGoodrich hosted its first autocross school at the local speedway. I pulled up in the my GHIG ride with the thought of snapping some photos and covering the event, but the fine folks at BFG invited me to participate. OK, twist my arm. So I made a few laps and received instruction. It was a good time, but per usual, my first lap was my best. I really need to work on not trying too hard.

Not only was the BFG school fun and informative, but there were prizes. The top five quickest drivers in the school were put in a random drawing to win a complete set of BFGoodrich tires. As luck would have it, David Wooldridge and his ’12 Boss 302 made the quickest work of the course, and he also won the new tires. That made for a good day in the cones.


Autocross & Fun Runs

It’s hard to beat the sound of a Roots blower whining around the oval during the speedway fun runs. When that sound emanates from a New Edge GT stuffed with a Lightning 5.4, it will get the attention of our cameras every time.

The tag on Daniel Pierce ’03 GT might say its for show, but the Virginia Beach, Virginia-resident clearly enjoys a spirited drive around the cones. His droptop GT isn’t just a run of the mill ride either. There’s a fully chromed and polished Four-Valve topped by a Kenne Bell supercharger lurking under its hood.

A sponsor of the autocross, MRT showed lots of people the quick way around the cones in its various project cars, from a prepped six-cylinder to this modern Coyote.

It’s hard to go wrong with a New Edge Mach 1, and this one looked great lapping the speedway. One thing that stood out at this year’s event was the proliferation of action cameras. It seemed like every car had one or more GoPros or other cams mounted on it. There must be thousands of Mustang Week videos on the Interrnet by now...


Burnout Contest

Jonathan Nerren was in it to win it at the SVTPerformance.com-sponsored Burnout Contest that caps off the day of fun at the local speedway. His entire crew boasted custom Mustang Week Burnout Contest 2013 T-shirts, and Jonathan didn’t disappoint them. He has shown his skills on Octane Academy, and Jonathan wowed the crowd, which cheered loudest for him. In return, he brought home $500 worth of Nitto Tires from Discount Tire Direct.

We give this Saleen driver extra credit for his window-riding co-pilot, who urged on the crowd while he was smoking the tires down the speedway’s front straight.

This green Fox had a strong following in the crowd, but a mechanical failure prevented it from returning to the track for voting.

We didn’t see this coming. What seemed like an ill-fated attempt at a burnout was actually setting the stage for Sidney Collins to propose marriage to his girl, Kristi Hathcock. Instead of laying down a cloud of smoke, Sidney charged up to the speedway’s finish line, dropped to one knee, popped open a ring box, and boom. It seems Kristi said yes. Congrats to the happy couple.


Drag Night

Competition Auto of Fayetteville, North Carolina, wowed the Drag Night crowds with its 7-second GT500. Based on a stock 5.4 block, crank, and running stock displacement, this racy ride gets down to business thanks to a big single-turbo.

The Carolinas love their Mustangs, especially Fox Mustangs. That said, it was no surprise that the first Mustang we snapped our shutter on was a Fox coupe from North Carolina. This one sports a 351 swap.

Fresh off a big win at the grudge race the previous night Chris Tuten, along with his brother Brian and their pal Brent Weston, stuck around for Mustang Week’s Drag Week to put some laps on their racers. While their shop is only an hour up the road, it was the first visit to Drag Night for the BMF Racing team.

At first glance you might think this is just another modern Mustang with a flat finish. However, pay close attention to the rear of the car. This is an early S197 with a ’10-’12 (S197K) front end on it. Though the panels don’t match up exactly, it’s a pretty fetching combo and answers the what-if question many of us had after first laying eyes on the ’10 Mustang.


Car Show

Another ride that you’ll be reading more about on these pages is Tom Clark’s ’79 Indy Pace Car. When we last saw this car the exterior was similar, but Tom has taken the engine and interior to new levels. It is now powered by a boosted Coyote, and the custom interior is out of this world. As soon as the tuning work is complete and it’s wearing a hood, we are featuring this incredible ride.

We’ve been telling Associate Editor Michael Johnson to man up and put a Terminator nose on his Bullitt. He must be a purist, as he won’t do it. Chris Raffaelo of Dunstable, Massachusetts, has no such qualms, however. Not only did Chris improve his Bullitt’s visage with a Termi nose, but he added a 70mm turbo, Anderson Ford Motorsport F52 cams, UPR suspension, SCT Tuning, and an MGW shifter. The turbo Bullitt lays down 373 horsepower and 393 lb-ft of torque on only 6 pounds of boost.

We always gravitate toward the tastefully unusual, and that description fits Jeff Mozingo’s ’95 Mustang GT to a T. Lurking under the hood of this unassuming Best ’94-’98 winner is a swapped Three-Valve 5.0-liter modular with a sheetmetal intake that’s plumbed with a direct-port nitrous system. Jeff says it runs great, and we can’t argue with that.

Terminators will always get respect from Mustang fans, but many ’03-’04 Cobras rock the same tried-and-true combo. Not so with Dusty Lemmons’ silver Termi. It sports a Sullivan intake manifold (wrapped in hydrocarbon no less) fed by a polished ProCharger pushing boost through polished tubing. The car was clean and for sale, so it’s likely Dusty’s name isn’t on the title anymore.

Picking an Editor’s Choice award at a show like Mustang Week is a bit of pressure. There are so many cool cars of all years that it can be tough. When push comes to shove, gut instinct prevails, Your author really enjoyed the juxtaposition of an FRPP-blown Coyote in an ’86 Mustang SVO. Said car is owned by Wayne Vance of Newland, South Carolina, and built by Dale Milton of Fatboy Fabrication. The install is clean and the exterior is subtle, making for a real sleeper.

If the name Charles Carterette sounds familiar, it’s because you drooled all over our feature photos of his incredible ’91 LX coupe in our June ’13 issue (“Pure Sick,” p. 40). Well, this is Charles’ latest creation—a Fox hatch with a new House of Kolors color-changing hue. Powered by a turbocharged Four-Valve 4.6, the car is capable of low 9s. We’ll be bringing you more on this ride as soon as Charles is finished detailing the engine compartment.

Akin to seeing a unicorn, spotting one of Roush’s unusual pushrod 5.0 intakes out of captivity will turn our heads. Originally designed for naturally aspirated, push-rod 5.0s, the Roush manifold (SN 0007 in this case) was later adapted for supercharging. Obviously, that’s the one showcased by Jamie Marsh of Indian Land, South Carolina, on his ’93 Mustang LX. This Roush Tribute Mustang features a stock short-block with iron GT-40 heads, and it puts down 419 horsepower and 401 lb-ft at the feet.


Cruise-In

There are myriad cruises that lead to the final day of Mustang Week, but one of the longest-running of these events is the Fox cruise put on by Southeastern Foxbodies. We usually end up shooting a few Fox features, so we always pop by afterward to check out the gathering of Foxes. This year over 140 of these classics, the biggest group yet, made their way to the Myrtle Beach Mall in series. One of these days we’ll try to make it to some of the other cruises, but there are many and they are spread out.

At last year’s Mustang Week, this Fox was a rough shell. The crew at Southeastern Foxbodies, spearheaded by Troy Raby, set out to revamp it and auction it to the benefit of three charities: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Victory Junction Gang Camp, and Savannah’s Drive. You can read more about the car and it’s good causes at www.save-a-fox.com. With the help of sponsors like Cervini’s Latemodel Restoration, Stifflers, TMI Products, Trick Flow, and UPR , Troy and his crew completely revamped the car. It turned out so nice that your scribe bought five tickets. The car didn’t come back to Florida. Instead, a ticket-buyer from Nebraska won the stunning LX. You’ll see more on this car in a future issue.

Latemodel Restoration takes on Mustang Week in full force. The company is a major sponsor of the car show and cover the event on its website. LRS took a welcoming approach at its giant tent, offering swamp cooling, free water, and free catalogs. Drawing people in were the company project cars, like this Coyote-swapped SN-95.

It was great meeting fellow Vapor Silver GT500 owner Nate Hartsock in front of the AirLift Performance booth, which was part of Mustang Week’s ever-expanding vendor displays. Nate’s ride looks sick slammed to the bumpstops, but he can easily raise it up and drive it away thanks to the AirLift system. The company even showed how to install one of its kits at the event using Julie Edward’s ’10 Mustang GT as the recipient. They completed the install in six hours and 8 minutes in the heat.

Not to say that Lightning 5.4 swaps are taking over the Mustang scene, but we did spy a couple of them in Myrtle Beach. The owner of this New Edge attention-getter says he really wants his car to appear on these pages and he thinks its almost ready. Maybe next year ...


My Ride

I have had the good fortune to roll up and down the Grand Strand in some incredible machines. It's always great fun to have some of the latest hardware, as people always want to check it out. I've pretty much given up on explaining that the cars aren't mine, as most people don't know me or have an idea about media loaner cars. That makes it fun to temporarily soak up the appreciation of Mustang enthusiasts.

This year that adoration came pretty often as my chariot was a Gotta Have It Green '14 Mustang GT with the Track Pack option. This GT rocked the optional Recaros, 3.73 gears, and the desirable wing-delete. In all it was a clean, well-balanced car that gathered looks like bare skin attracts mosquitos in the low country.

One time, a couple guys in a Terminator urged me to roll down the window. I was ready to answer a question about the car's performance or options. Instead they just asked me if "I had to have it," referencing the GHIG paint. I simply said, "Of course." In truth, I have had my ups and downs with the color. I burned out on it for a while, but of late I've grown to really enjoy the color.

By now we know what to expect from the willing Coyote and the balance of the Track Pack. It's the most naturally aspirated fun you can have in a Mustang short of the dear departed Boss 302. While at the BFG autocross school, the car acquitted itself well, with just a bit of the expected understeer but enough power to hang the tail out on command. The best part is throttling the Pony like that, then rolling up the windows, cranking the A/C, and heading to the next MW event without a care.

Though we are on the verge of a new Mustang, I have a feeling that the '13-'14 Mustangs will remain highly regarded for years to come. The odds are that a GHIG Track Pack like this one will be one of the hottest commodities around. I'm glad I was able to spend a week in one.