With no disrespect to other events, we’ll say that Mustang Week sets the bar. It’s the original Mustang destination event. More than a weekend drag race, more than a one day car show, and more than a weekend open-track event. It’s all those events and lasts a whole week. Rodney Melton’s brainchild seems to get bigger and more entertaining each year, and there are no signs of that changing. Melton has a lot of help these days to put on the best Mustang Week possible. His team continues to evolve and embrace the different needs of the Mustang market.
Mustang Week’s 2018 version started on September 3 with, once again, the Meet & Greet at Broadway at the Beach. Mustang Week unofficially kicks off the Sunday prior, but officially, Tuesday, September 3, was the first day to take over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Broadway at the Beach is a tourist destination with various souvenir shops, restaurants, and clubs. Therefore the parking lot is rather massive, but it’s no match for Mustang Week, when it gets totally taken over by Mustangs. The lot is so packed with Mustangs that regular cars are relegated to one of the smaller parking lots so that “normal” tourists can enjoy the destination. The Meet & Greet presents an opportunity to see all your Mustang friends, check out the new builds, and stack up on event swag.
September 3 was also the day to get behind the wheel and turn laps as part of the BFGoodrich Mustang Week Autocross Driving School. Attendees went through class sessions on car control, trail braking techniques, and new course analysis before getting on course. Speaking of which, a course was set up in the infield of Myrtle Beach Speedway for those wanting to test their handling prowess.
For 2018, a few changes took place in the usual schedule. First, our own MM&FF Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach event took place on Wednesday this year, and also at Myrtle Beach Speedway. The Battle at the Beach has had a few homes the last few years, but this year, Pro-Dyno’s portable Dynojet was set up just outside the entrance of Myrtle Beach Speedway so we could find a winner. Inside Myrtle Beach Speedway, Vaughn Gittin Jr. was doing his thing, while the Gateway Classic Mustang autocross and Stifflers Speedway Fun Runs took place too.
Tuesday’s Broadway at the Beach Meet & Greet presents Mustang Week attendees the first opportunity to pick up the newest event T-shirt and assorted swag. The Meet & Greet doesn’t officially start until 1 p.m., but even if you arrived by noon you’d have been late. We saw Mustangs gathering early in the morning to grab good parking spots and to get in line for swag.
As Mustang Week progressed, Thursday’s venue was North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip. Mustang Week attendees were able to burn some tires and adrenaline without worrying about the local authorities applying the chrome bracelets. North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip welcomed participants with open arms as everyone tried to improve their Mustang’s elapsed times.
Bringing it home, Friday’s Mustang Week Car Show, presented by CJ Pony Parts, took over Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The convention center’s outside and inside played host to more than 900 Mustangs, along with all the popular Mustang vendors set up to showcase the latest performance goodies.
To finish off Mustang Week, the Southeastern Foxbodies Cruise to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center started off Saturday’s Cruise-In, presented by Saleen. Mustang Week bills Saturday cruise-in as “one of the largest gatherings of Mustangs you will see in one place at one time.” The proof is in the amount of Mustangs on the convention center’s property. Just like every other parking lot in Myrtle Beach during Mustang Week, the convention center was full of Mustangs over which to drool.
Clint Derango works at Anderson Ford Motorsport and uses his 2011 Mustang GT as Ford intended. His GT boasts a Boss intake, long-tube headers, a built 8.8 rear, and of course an Anderson Ford Motorsport (AFM) Power Pipe. The GT makes 428 hp at the wheels, and Derango says the AFM Power Pipe with a canned SCT tune is good for 28 hp. Derango is probably more famous for winning a burnout contest in Nick Meyer’s Coyote-swapped 1993 Cobra at the Big Beaver during one of Mustang Week’s After Hours events.
We look forward to Mustang Week every year. We’re not the only Mustang enthusiasts who live for this event, nor are we the only ones who go into Mustang Week prep mode weeks before so our car will be in tiptop shape. We thoroughly clean our Mustang’s wheels, wax the exterior, clean up the engine’s valve covers, tuck as many wires as we can, treat the headlights to a resto, paint a few trim items, and so on, just to make sure our car is ready for Mustang Week.
However, now we can relax until August of 2019. Then it’ll be a full-court press to have our car ready for Mustang Week 2019, which begins September 3, 2019, with the Meet & Greet. We’ll see you then.
The magic of Mustang Week is that every Mustang is welcome to join in the fun. Even though most attendees own late-models, pre-Fox Mustangs are starting to trickle in. What’s more, Fox Mustangs are also gaining more presence with innovative ideas and cutting-edge builds.
Michael Zwick took part in our MM&FF Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach Dyno competition this year, but the day before his coupe was showing off at the Meet & Greet. Zwick’s coupe is a throwback to the 1990s, when a Vortech S-trim or a Paxton Novi resided underneath many a Fox-body hood. In those days, if you heard the signature whistle, you knew trouble was in the other lane. Zwick’s car is spotless and a great representative for Revolution Automotive, which is the shop that did much of the mechanical work and tuning on the car. Look for a feature article on this car in a future issue.
Speaking of our MM&FF Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach event, it was moved up a day this year, and it also changed venues to Myrtle Beach Speedway from North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip. Pro-Dyno’s crew had each car on and off its portable Dynojet with precision and quickness. In the end, Steve Shrader’s Vortech motivated and Coyote-swapped 1999 GT laid down over a 1,000 rwhp to win the competition. Soon we’ll bring you the full story on the MM&FF Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach.
We are not sure how we pulled it off, but we were able to get Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Formula Drift exhibition ride into the MM&FF Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach. Revolution Automotive’s Adam Browne and RTR’s Jess Albright were both influential in making it happen, but Gittin was also excited to be a part of the festivities. Here he is signing an autograph for Pro-Dyno’s Dan Desio’s son Preston. After the Battle at the Beach, Gittin burned the tires off his Formula Drift Mustang during exhibitions as part of the Stifflers Fun Runs and Gateway Classic Autocross.
The owner of this Roush 429R isn’t afraid to put a rare vehicle through its paces. From what we can gather, the 429R was only made in 2009, and only 100 were built. Of that number, 90 were coupes and 10 were convertibles. The 429R featured a polished RoushCharger that brought horsepower up to 435, similar to other Roush Mustangs of that period. The owner had the foresight to bring a spare set of wheels for on-track escapades.
On Thursday of Mustang Week the festivities took to North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip for a test-n-tune day of racing fun. One vehicle that stood out is Caleb Skinner’s Coyote swapped F1. The Kenne Bell–supercharged truck was hurting feelings all day, but that shouldn’t be a surprise; Skinner’s F1 follows a long line of uberfast Mustangs he has built as co-owner of Fastlane Motorsports.
CJ Pony Parts’ Chris Cervenka had his Competition orange 2015 Mustang GT Performance Pack at North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip for the test-n-tune. he was just out to have a good time since his car is more at home on the autocross, or open track courses. His GT features CJ Pony Parts lowering springs, Steeda Autosports sway bars, and a Whiteline front camber adjusting bolt kit. Cervenka shifts the car via a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, while exhaust duties are handled by a Ford Performance 2 1/2-inch cat-back with 4-inch chrome tips. To prove that his car is more tailored to the twisties, Cervenka tells us, “I have run the Tail of the Dragon six times in the last year.” For shoes, the GT wears Carroll Shelby Wheel Company CS3s with Nitto NT555 G2 rubber.
Competition Auto is a regular at Mustang Week’s test-n-tune, and had several cars in attendance boasting all manner of power adders.
At Mustang Week, all the cool Foxes are in attendance for Friday’s CJ Pony Parts Car Show. And if there was ever an innovative Fox build, Mark Schlitzkus’ 1989 LX coupe fits the bill. Initially when he built the car it had a decisive street slant, but these days it has more of a track feel, and for good reason. Schlitzkus has been taking the car to the dragstrip more and more since getting the car together. After Kaase machined everything, Schlitzkus built the 461ci small-block and added a pair of Precision turbochargers.
We picked Colby Purkel’s Snow White Pearl 2001 Mustang GT as one of our favorites from Friday’s CJ Pony Parts Car Show. The GT features a built Two-Valve engine with ported PI heads, Comp Cams Stage 2 camshafts, an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, BBK headers, and Borla S-Type mufflers. ModMafia Performance tuned the combo to 317 hp at the wheels, which are XXR gold examples. In addition to being one of our favorites, this GT also won an Award of Excellence at Mustang Week. We are waiting to see pics of Purkel’s dad’s Fox Mustang, which is 1 of 470 1988 Mustang GTs in Smoke gray. That car is currently under the knife, receiving new paint and an upgraded drivetrain.
Many of our readers know about Jonathun Catapano’s 1998 Cobra; it graced the cover of this fine publication for Aug. 2017 (bit.ly/2F5tpqf). While the 1998 Cobra was inside the convention center, he still needed wheels, so he brought his other car to have something cool to drive. The 2003 Cobra isn’t as modified as his 1998 Cobra, but it is more of a daily-capable car as well. However, even with these two Cobras in the fold, Catapano’s heart lies with a Fox GT currently in the build stage. If his Cobras are any indication, the Fox is going to be yet another innovative build.
Bullitt Auto Detail & Vinyl Wraps stayed busy at Mustang Week applying wraps, decals, window tint, and graphics to various Mustangs and Fords. Bullitt Auto is also the choice for Mustang Week and Palmetto Ford to handle the graphics and tint on the Mustang Week Edition Mustangs.
Pro-Dyno’s Paul Conner owns this 2003 Cobra in Zinc yellow. He has outfitted the Terminator with CP pistons, custom Bullet cams, a larger blower, long-tube headers, a custom X-pipe of his own making, and Borla Stinger mufflers. The bottom end still features the stock crank, stock rods, stock compression, and stock bore, but with the mods, Conner’s car is making just north of 700 hp on pump gas at 18 pounds of boost. Utilizing a Pro-Dyno tune with SCT software, Conner will be trying to get to 800 on E85 combined with the cool fall air.
One thing we have noticed that a lot of people come to Mustang Week to buy or sell a Mustang. People ask us all the time to let them know if we see a Mustang for sale at Mustang Week. Angela Stallings was there with her 1993 Mustang LX Limited Edition Triple white convertible, of which 1,500 were built. Her sign says it is one of 153 with the trim and options the car possesses, and we’re that sure she had a few offers at Mustang Week.
Our friends at JLT Performance always have an impressive display at Mustang Week. If you get your order to JLT in time, the company is able to bring your order to Mustang Week for you. However, the company does bring product to Mustang Week too. Every time we walked by JLT reps were busy helping customers. Plus, if you had a JLT product on your Mustang, you were able to get a swag bag, and our Cobra has a JLT intake on it, so we made sure to get our bag of goodies.
One of the most polarizing men in the Mustang arena is Paul Tester. We like him because he’s a good guy, but after Mustang Week he purchased another 1993 Cobra, in addition to this black example and the Vibrant red Cobra he also owns. With the purchase of a Teal example, Tester now has one in each color. And yes, we have offered to help him drive them to any shows so he can have all three at the same event. That also makes us good guys as well, don’t you think? At Mustang Week, Tester’s black Cobra was being used by Jax Wax to show off the company’s line of automotive cleaning products. We’d say this Cobra was the perfect test mule.
One of the many great things about Mustang Week is the level of cars that show up each year. Bryan Ross brought a 1993 Saleen SA-10, and was part of the inside display. Only nine of these cars were built to celebrate Saleen’s 10th anniversary, and only eight remain in existence. The order sheet was pretty much wide open on these cars, and each owner could personalize the car’s options, but each SA-10 looked the same from an exterior standpoint. None of the SA-10s are the same as far as performance and interior options go, though. To this author, the SA-10 is the ultimate Fox Mustang, and we awarded it our Editor’s Choice at Mustang Week.
Mustang Week’s own Mike Clay had his 1980 Cobra posted up in the Stifflers display inside the convention center. There were so many nice Mustangs inside that picking ones to highlight is rather difficult. However, this Cobra is one that definitely stands out, and Stifflers has plenty of suspension and chassis components for a variety of late-model Mustang body styles, so it was a win-win as far as we were concerned.
The annual Southeastern Foxbodies Cruise took place Saturday morning. The convoy of Fox Mustangs pulled into the Mustang Week Cruise-In at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. If you like Fox Mustangs—and who doesn’t?—the Southeastern Foxbodies Cruise was the place to be.
If you showed your Mustang at Mustang Week, earning these trophies was the goal. To win one of these is certainly a feather in the cap of any Mustang owner.
Ford had a large display of Mustangs and other performance vehicles at Mustang Week. Ford also had a 2019 Bullitt giveaway going on, and hopefully by the time you read this, your author will be tooling around in his new Bullitt. Hey, a guy can dream.
Another display that had us drooling was that of MPS Auto Salvage. Had we brought a truck to Mustang Week, we probably would’ve gone home with a truckload of Mustang parts. Since we didn’t bring a truck, we had to practice a little restraint when it came to buying stuff.
Photographer Mustang360 Staff