Keith Keplinger
December 1, 2008

When I got the assignment from professor Houlahan to cover the 8th annual Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach, SC, my first thought was "Where's my surfboard"? Then I got thinking about sea-breeze cooled evenings full of cruising Mustangs, an evening at legendary Darlington Dragway and a day at the Southeast's largest Car Show and I was off - Headed East!

Drop the moms and Kids off at the Amusement Park, and hop in the convertible with your buddy for an evening of cruising the beach road - Doesn't get more "Mustang Week" than this!

Mustang Week '08 didn't disappoint. I didn't get there until Thursday afternoon and headed straight to the "Thursday Night at the Drags" held at Darlington Dragway. Sure, it's over an hour drive from the beach, but heck, you're on vacation - What else do you have to do on a Thursday evening? I heard stories from the guys there about the great fun that I had missed at Wednesday evening's trip to Myrtle Beach Speedway with the Fun Runs, an Autocross and the crowd-pleasing Burnout Contest. Several guys told me that they'd gotten to Myrtle Beach on Tuesday and had a blast at the Kick Off Cruise In to Planet Hollywood (Note to self: Gotta make plans to get to Mustang Week earlier next year!)

Almost 150 Mustang did make the trek to Darlington for an evening of Drag racing fun. This year, MW had 4 classes to enter, as well as the usual time trials, fun runs and grudge races. A great "Grudge Race" had father and son racing for family bragging rights. Son Billy Pearson's 1967 428 Shelby didn't have enough tire to catch Dad William's 2006 GT.

From all-out race turbocharged Outlaw Mustangs to V6 convertibles out for their first shot at the 1320, there was plenty of action for the over 1,000 people who came out to enjoy Darlington's nostalgic feel and relive a classic "Night at the Drags".

Saleen's new Racecraft" brand was unveiled Saturday at Mustang Week.

Friday dawned bright and clear with the sound of gulls calling. Off to the beach! 7:00 am, blue skies, 2 foot surf gently rolling into the pristine white sand beach and I was off into the waves. It only took about an hour to remind myself that after 30 years, I'm still terrible at the sport of Surfing. But it was fun and brought back a flood of memories of friends past and countless days of my wasted youth spent at the beach.

Back to work - There was a Car Show to visit. And what a Car Show! Over 500 Mustangs began rolling into the Colonial Mall south parking lot around 8:00 am. While judging was taking place, hundreds of spectators trolled the show, taking in the entire 44 year history of the Mustang. 2005 - 08 Mustangs were in force with Saleens, Roushs, Steeda and Shelbys plus many custom machines filling the hot asphalt. The Bullitt Nationals, sponsored by IMBOC held their event in conjunction with Mustang Week and filled the adjoining Hooters parking lot with over 50 Bullitts! The Yellow Mustang Registry also held their annual gathering with over 30 yellow Mustangs of all vintages blinding the spectators with their freshly waxed brightness. Wear sunglasses. Awards were presented to over 125 winners, including Best of Show winner Steve McPherson and his beautiful 1970 Grabber Blue Boss 302.

"More Go, Less Show" best describes these new Mustangs.

Saleen was scheduled to unveil their new Brand "Racecraft" on Saturday, and Saleen's Kim Brugger allowed me to get some photos of these new cars before they were swarmed by the crowds on Saturday. We "hid" from the crowds in the parking lot of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and snapped the photos for an upcoming feature. Racecraft is Saleen's new brand of performance-oriented cars - "More go, less Show" - Offering the power and handling that Saleen is famous for, with less money spent on body kits and fancy paint.

What trip to Myrtle Beach would be complete without some time spent at the beach? White sand, gentle waves and blue skies makes for a great vacation. Toss in hundreds of Mustangs and it doesn't get much better than this!

As the sun was setting on the photo shoot, it was time to head to the beach road, to catch the action of an impromptu cruise that several (over 100) Mustangers had put together ("organized" would be a stretch!). A great spot to catch the cruise action was at the Myrtle Beach Family Amusement Center - an "old style" amusement park, complete with Ferris Wheel, Roller Coaster, and a Go-Kart track! Cooled by ocean breezes less than a block away, this cruise evening was the perfect top to Friday's festivities.

Saturday was the" Free-for-all" Cruise and Show at the Colonial Mall, with over 1,000 Mustangs filling the parking lot and thousands taking in the sights and sounds. BASF Paints brought in Steve Saleen for an autograph session and Mustang owners of all types were in line to visit with Steve.

As the sun set over the parking lot and small groups of Mustangers headed off to their homes, all had the same thoughts - Mark your calendar for the third week in July for Mustang Week '09!

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery