Mustang Homecoming Shelby Style

Im not sure how active your local Mustang Club is, but here in Oklahoma City and the surrounding metro its big, really big. Over the years of being into Mustangs and meeting people in other regions, I’ve learned that municipalities no matter the size are rarely supportive of any club that has to do with motoring. While this is the case with most cities, Mustang, Oklahoma is a different case, with most the town and residents in the town having a total love addiction to Ford Mustangs. Clearly because of the name of the city. Anyways, today was Mustang High Schools Homecoming, located about 15-20 minutes from downtown Oklahoma City, and they asked the Oklahoma Mustang Club to bring a few Mustang convertibles out to the Homecoming for the Homecoming Court to pose with. We Happily Obliged!

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What does a LeMans Legend and a Orange Mustang have in common?

Yesterday I told you about the late great Hugh Hefner and the Playmate Pink cars.
Today I’m going to tell you about one of America’s greatest racing drivers and his orange cars. trust me you’ll like this one.
IMG_187399-01 Mustang GT prepared for Bondurant Racing School^

The Legend is Bob Bondurant, but ill be talking about many famous people today. Paul Newman, Carroll Shelby, Robert Wagner, James Garner, Dan Gurney, and lastly Bob Bondurant. A quick bio on Bondurant to bring you up to speed, he was born in 1933, and is still alive. Like most of the male generation then speed and searching for speed was at its peak after WW2 in America with huge names like Vic Edelbrock setting up shop and teens and 20 somethings everywhere, Bondurant included, searching for ways to push the boundaries of fast. In 1951, Bob Bondurant found himself racing Indian motorcycles around dirt oval tracks in Los Angeles, at the age of 18. From there his interests fell on 4 wheels and by 1959 he had won the West Coast “B” Production Championship and the Corvette Driver of the Year Award. Before I can go on I have to tell you about another American pushing the envelope of speed but coming from a very different background.
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Bondurant’s early years on his indian and in is C1 Corvette^

Carroll Shelby, a now household name, but most people cant say why. Shelby born in 1923, in Leesburg, Texas… Google it. Google “Leesburg, Texas” the information is SERIOUSLY limited. Growing up my mom would always tell anyone with ears where she was from she would always say,” I am from Okemah, Oklahoma. We didn’t even have a stoplight!” Ok sure mom, you were from a small town but atleast it was a town! Leesburg, Texas isn’t even a incorporated town. Shelby was born with a heart valve leakage, but that didn’t stop him from joining the Army Aircorp at age 18, and served during WW2 as a test pilot and instructor. While stationed at what is now Lackland Air Force Base, Shelby got married and had 2 children, after reaching the rank of staff sergeant pilot he was honorably discharged.  Bouncing around jobs from 1947 til 1952, Shelby would try his hand at a few things, first being a Oil field roughneck, and later a Chicken farmer, Carroll couldn’t quite find his life’s calling. That was until one day when his friend Ed Wilkins invited him to take a trip to a road race in Norman, Oklahoma. They both took the 3 hour drive with a MG-TC racecar in tow. Shelby, now 29 had never raced anything much less a British sports car. Shelby was out armed, most of the field being Jaguars and other high end high powered cars, but he won. twice. Soon he was driving Jaguars and racing as much as his wallet would allow. Then he was noticed and a team owned by John Wyer put him in their Aston Martin DB3S racecar at the 12 Hours of Sebring, a HUGE break for Carroll. Although he lost that race at Sebring, his signature look of wearing farmers overalls and being a great on track driver solidified his racing career and opened up a HUGE window of opportunity, he would go on to drive the hottest and most iconic sports cars of all time, Jaguars, Cadillacs, Allards, and Maserati Birdcages as well as Ferrari 375 GP roadster. But the biggest accomplishment of Carroll’s life was yet to come. the reason Shelby is a household name came in 1959, he won the biggest race in the world, the 24 hours of LeMans. Shortly after the race and after many nitroglycerine pills, Shelby hung up the driving suit and retired from racing.
But he wasn’t gone yet.

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The MG that Carroll Shelby drove to a win in Norman, OK^

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Carroll Shelby in a early Maserati racecar^
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Carroll behind the wheel of the DBR1 car as he wins the 24hours of LeMans^
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Shelby, Wyer and team celebrating their win at LeMans^
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Photo that Shelby signed, of him in the winners circle of LeMans^
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Wyer and Shelby
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Shelby in his normal chicken farmer attire^
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In action photo of Shelby behind the wheel of the DBR1^
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Early photo of Carroll
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Shelby wins^

Shelby knew that he had shocked the world, and he knew that the American public wanted to celebrate with him and maybe even a few American drivers. So he got to work. Shelby wanted to beat the corvette in the SCCA championships. He found a company in England named AC, and struck a deal with ford to have them supply the new 260c.i. V8 and voila he had a winner. But he knew he needed drivers if he was going to take it further, in 1963 Carroll had convinced Bob Bondurant to come race for him.
They won everything. Shelby and Shelby American was unstoppable, in 1964 and 1965 dan gurney and Bob Bondurant behind the wheel of a 289 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe won their class at LeMans, beating out all of the Ferrari 250 GTO cars. THIS was huge. *1964 was also the first year of the Ford GT, but was not yet refined by Shelby.
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Early AC Bristol^
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AC Bristol Coupe^
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late Shelby Cobra, this particular one has a 427 Ford in it^
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After winning LeMans, Shelby rubbed elbows with all of the Hollywood elite including Steve McQueen as seen here^
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Bob Bondurant behind the wheel of this Shelby Daytona Coupe^
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Shelby Daytona Coupe racing at the 24Hours of LeMans
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Daytona Coupe blasting around the LeMans race track^
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Bob Bondurant being coached up by Carroll Shelby^

American pride was beaming and Shelby with the help of his racers was at the height of his game. in1965 Ford was upset that their GT40s had not even finished the race at LeMans and handed the reigns over to Shelby, would Shelby have enough time in the 4 months to fix all that was needed to get a overall win at the BIGGEST RACE IN THE WORLD? sadly no. Carroll had changed a few things, like the powerplant to a 289. and put Bob Bondurant behind the wheel but even that wasnt enough as the cars overheated and did not finish. now not only was Ford upset, Shelby was too. and in 1966 everything would change.
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Bondurant on in the paddock at LeMans ina GT40 MKI^
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GT40 and Ferrari P2 on track^
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Bob Bondurant and a GT40 Spyder, as well as some of the testing done on the car^

Bob Bondurant wasn’t sure if the Ford crowd would figure it out, and he wanted to win, I’m sure he was persuaded by many teams but Ferrari ultimately pinned him down. was it a bad choice or the right choice for him? its hard to say what history might have looked like today. But Shelby DID figure it out and 1966 was the most historically significant LeMans race since its beginning. Ford brought out 3 Ford GT40s each powered by a 7.0 liter, 427 cubic inch MONSTER. Shelby and his cars won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Bondurant’s Ferrari didn’t even finish. Ford went on to win the race for the next 3 years.
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Bob Bondurant being coached up by Legend Enzo Ferrari^
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Bondurant behind the wheel of a Ferari 330 P2
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Bob Bondurant in his prime^
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Bob Bondurant and Shelby American teammates
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the Ferrari Bob drove at the 24 hours of LeMans^
Bob Bondurant took it as a sign to find other avenues to show his love of racing and later that year found a job as a driving instructor on a movie set, Gran Prix, starring James Garner. Bob went back to LeMans in 1967 in a corvette, but yet did not finish. Still thirsty for a victory he entered into a Can-Am series driving a McLaren. This didn’t fare well for Bob as we broke a steering arm at 150MHP and the car went into a flip, some 8 times. Suffering from ribs, legs, feet, and back injuries, doctors said he would never walk again but he overcame the injuries. If leaving Shelby and not finishing LeMans twice wasn’t enough of a sign to stop racing a crippling 150mpg wreck certainly was.
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Bob on the scene of Gran Prix^
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James Garner in Gran Prix^
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McLaren Can-AM racecar^
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Bondurants 150MPH wreck^

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With no career behind the wheel left, what was he going to do? in a time where he couldn’t retire to be a racing commentator, especially for a sport unpopular in america he was forced to find another means of bringing in the money. He thought back to when he was a instructor for that racing movie, Gran Prix, and thought if he could teach James Garner he could teach anyone how to drive. And so he started the Bondurant Racing School, his first 2 students being Robert Wagner and Paul Newman, who needed to learn to drive for their upcoming movie “Winning”. This was the first spark in Paul Newman’s LeMans destined racing career.
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Bob’s first year in business at the racing school^
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Bob Bondurant and Paul Newman chatting at racing and cars in general^

Bob moved his track a few times in the 70s and 80s but in 1983 Ford Motor Company signed on to sponsor his school and later in 1990 Bob built his own facility in Arizona.
In the early 90s Ford began supplying a few safety race prepared mustangs and other offbeat quirky cars to the school. V8 fox body mustangs, SN95 V8 powered cars, Later overhead cam models of the mustang including the elusive Cobra DOHC powered cars. all with similar modifications, They were painted orange, received a panhard bar and torque arm from Roush, a window safety net, a race seat on the drivers side, a fire suppression system, a 6 point roll cage, a seat harness, 2 piston cobra 13 inch rotor brakes, Monroe GP shocks and struts, Eibach springs, a 8 quart oil pan, and upgraded cooling system. Even the 99-01 cobras which came with independent rear suspension from Ford got the straight axle with panhard and torque arm treatment.
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Former Bondurant race school car sent to Saleen for even further modification^
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SN95 Bondurant racing school car prepared by Roush and finished in orange^
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New Edge Bondurant racing school car prepped by Roush and finished in orange^

Sometime after 01 Ford withdrew their sponsorship of the school. I and others think this was because ford instructed the school to crush all the mustangs used at the school as none were sold to the school and none had any paperwork, besides the obvious reason that if sold to consumers they would eventually end up on the street. Despite Fords demands to crush the retired cars the school did sell them. all of them.
How much was a Bondurant race prepared car? Cheap. Just today a owner of one told me he paid $10000 for a 1998 cobra with a clean log book, meaning low miles and no accidents or over abuse. I didn’t ask him when he bought it but I have to assume in 2000 or so as they had to make room for the newer New Edge body style cars. unfortunately these cars have gone up considerably in value and some owners have even found legal routes to make the cars street legal and acquired titles and even insure them as daily drivers.
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Bondurant 01 Cobra engine bay^
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Bondurant 01 Cobra interior^
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Bondurant 01 Cobra prepared by Roush^

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Many stories have been told to me about some quirky ford experimental cars that ended up at the school and wow there are some WAY out there examples.
like this Mercury Marauder, which in itself its already a weird car, using a 320hp Cobra C head DOHC v8, traditionally using a 4 speed automatic. This Bondurant car found using a 5 or 6 speed manual and a Cobra intake manifold as well as a harness bar and R compound tires. although i can not find any other pictures I’ve heard of a Mercury Sable SVT, and flying laps in Ford 16 passenger vans full of students at the school.
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One thing is for sure, these racing legends have left their mark, weather it be a coiled cobra or a traffic cone colored car they will be remembered.
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Shelby team next to Daytona Coupe^
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Team Shelby American in their prime^

RIP Hugh Hefner: King of the pink Mustang

Late last night I saw some posts on social media of what looked to be phony or hoax type celebrity death posts, but when I woke up this morning the reality of them not being a hoax set in.
Hugh Hefner, the once sheltered and reserved Playboy Media tycoon had passed away at the young age of 91 years. It seemed surreal that he was 1) That old and 2) That he was just recently starred in a well funded Amazon documentary series about his rise to fame, his change in personality and his love of everything panache.

While many will say they will miss the idea of going to a Playboy mansion party or meeting the man who defined the idea of sex marketing or any other number of quirky bucket list type things. I will always latch on to the annual “Playmate of the Year” award and the prizes that went along with that award to the recipient, mostly the the prizes…. no… just the prizes.
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Bryan Tilson^

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Joe Mitchell^

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See Hughs first issue of Playboy caught the worlds attention with some uncovered pictures of what was likely the most famous woman at the time, Marilyn Monroe. After that first issue Hugh had to find a way to keep the readers attention without shelling out HUGE money for pictures of famous women. His solution was making a special feature section of the magazine known as the “Playboy Playmate of the Month”, these girls weren’t anymore special than that girl in highschool that ended up going into the adult industry. But because of Hugh’s brilliant marketing he was able to turn these same pretty but average girls into HUGE stars, names like Jenny McCarthy, Shannon Tweed, Betty Page, Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith and Marilyn Monroe. After Playboy started in 1953 it took them a short while to figure that they could make even more money by not just having a Playmate of the month feature but have a annual issue that would feature the Playmate of the Year, a contest chosen from the monthly features.
in 1959 the first Playmate of the year was chosen.
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While the First POTY (Playmate of the Year) was chosen in 1959, it wasn’t until 1964 that the winner got anything more than notoriety and fame.
In 1964 ALOT of cool and different things were happening, style was in and showing off your style was even more in, Pontiac had released their GTO, Muscle was in and people, young people wanted to get some wheels, go to their drive in and sex was on the map.
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Which came first the chicken or the egg? We may never know just like we may not know weather the idea for the 1964.5 Mustang to be the first prize to the POTY was marketing on Ford Motor Company’s end or if Playboy wanted the prize to be the new Mustang. None the less there it was, New, young, sporty, and PINK! Donna Michelle was the first of many to recieve a Pink Mustang, although she may be the only Playmate to get a first generation mustang Ford offered about 200 examples a year, until 1969.
Donnas car was a Playmate Pink, C code (289 v8) convertible complete with pink and white interior. 18n9uc3cpi12jjpg
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IT WAS A HIT!
Ford saw the opportunity to make the mustang an icon and took it. The mustang was seen everywhere, in magazines, on tv, radio, and sold 2 million units in its first generation.(at the time the most of any model ever sold by any manufacturer).
Ford wasnt going to let this chance go and through the 60s Ford and Ford powered cars were awarded frequently to the Playmate of the Year. Other companies saw the power in sex marketing and ran with it.
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In 1965 the prize was awarded to Jo Collins and was a little more exotic and in todays values a very valuable car. It was a Sunbeam Tiger, built in england, designed by Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, both HUGE racing names at the time and fitted with Ford 260 V8s, the car was a rocket. Being a British car fitted with a American V8 built in the 60s, painted Playmate Pink, it must have been the epitome of chique design and fitting for the prize to the winner of the Playmate of the Year.

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During the next few years the Playboy cars were a few Mopars, a Barracuda and a Charger, both in pink. But this is where the Ford relationship gets interesting, while ford hadnt been the Playboy car since 1964 they continued to market a niche buyer who wanted a replica of the 1964 POTY car, while its unknown how much the “secret” package was they made 200 a year in various body styles, coupes, fastbacks and convertibles.
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In 1969 Connie Kreski received arguably the coolest prize yet, a 1969 Shelby Mustang GT500 complete with 428 Super Cobra Jet, and done in a special pink.
Was this the beginning of the relationship with Shelby American? or Was this just the sexiest American car they could find? Who knows… but wow!
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In 1970 Playboy awarded this Mercury Capri (a mustang in sheep’s clothes).
Im not sure what engine was in it, but sadly they set the bar too high in 1969.
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In 1972 Liv Lindeland may have well as hit the jackpot. Winning this BEAUTIFUL and equally valuable 1972 DeTomoso Pantera. Painted in pink, this Pantera like all Panteras was packing a punch! courtesy of a 351 Cleveland Ford v8 and a 5 speed manual transaxel. These cars had a body hand made in Italy by Carrozzeria Vignale and featured cool things like the push button doors and angled exhaust. A exotic and Classic even by todays standards I’m sure pedestrians didn’t know which to admire more the car or the driver!
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After 1972 most of the prizes were from overseas as America was in a style and fuel efficiency/power crunch.

It wasnt until 1998 that American cars, sports cars atleast were back in style! and more importantly back at Playboy. While the Pink ended in 1975 that didnt stop playboy from awarding the new Shelby American Series 1 to Karen McDougal. It was a full ground up build at Shelby, with a carbon fiber body, corvette c5 door handles, a supercharged 32v DOHC Oldsmobile Aurora Northstar V8, and full coilover suspension sat on a tubular tig welded frame.
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In 1999 Shelby did it again, but this time with a Shelby American CSX continuation car.
while i cant find any good pictures or info on the build im sure it was fitting for the Playmate Heather Kozar.
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Thank You Mr. Hefner for putting good looking girls in even better looking cars.
May you forever rest in peace.
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President Bill Clinton in the saddle of a Playboy Pink Mustang
Who knows, perhaps he inspired a new generation of young female enthusiasts.
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Molly Saleen with her “MollyPop Pink” S281 Mustang

 

Mustang Week 2017

This was our first year sponsoring Mustang Week, although we have been attendees and my wife and I were even married during the event last year, the experience was VERY different this year!
Mike Clay and Rodney Melton have been hosting this event in Myrtle Beach for many years, 16 years, each year the event getting bigger, bigger, and attracting more attention.
for the first 15 years of the event it was held during the 2nd week in July. This year it was held during the first week in September, for many a HUGE change, before the event there were many concerns about attendance being that school for parents with children and college students alike would either not be able to come at all or only be able to come for a weekend. We had faith that attendees would still show out in bunches, as the hotel and condo rates were significantly less during September than it is during the summer. We also thought that people would much prefer the cooler weather that comes with September.
WE WERENT WRONG!
Despite the date change, the venue change and even the threat of a CAT5 hurricane the crowds were still HUGE! Given all the concerns the event coordinators figured the attendance was only down 20-30%.

Our trip to Mustang Week was eventful to say the least. starting with finishing 3 cars in the 6 months before going.
First car being our 65 Mustang coupe. this car has been through a lot with me and my wife. I used it as a way to propose to my wife, and took it from being a very rough c code coupe to a pearl white cruiser.(ill make another blog about that build). We were literally bolting on the bumpers a hour before we left Oklahoma City.
second car being my red 2000 convertible track car. which has received many many upgrades in the last season.
and third being my wife’s 2012 GT500 convertible. easily the best car for cruising the highways through the pinewood forests in myrtle beach.

after setting off from Oklahoma city with myself, my wife, 2 trucks, 2 trailers, 3 cars, and 5 photographers and videographers, we soon found ourself changing the first of many blowout tires on the trailers.

While Waze, Google and apple maps said our drive would only take 18 hours they didnt account for the needed stops for fuel in the thirsty ecoboost f150 or the blow outs or the mandatory stop in Memphis, Tennessee to walk down Beale Street into BB Kings Bar.

After many Energy Drinks we found oursleves pulling into Myrtle beach and making a quick right towards Surfside Beach, our home for the next 7 days. Located right on the beach the house on stilts served as a much needed relaxing place to hang out, kick back a cold one and rest.

The first day or so(Sunday and Monday) was spent relaxing, cleaning the cars, and literally tightening any loose screws hahaha. Sunday I picked our good friend Pete Oxenham (owner of Fully torqued Racing) up from the airport. Monday evening we went to a unofficial meet and greet at Broadway at the beach in front of Dave and Busters. always a good time seeing all the die hard mustang week goers on Monday night.

Tuesday is the official meet and greet, we showed up at the scheduled time and still barely managed to find a decent spot. The parking lots meant to hold 1000s of cars were flooded with mustangs, revving, colorful wraps, expensive wheels, and the distant sound of PSHHHHH which at sometimes you couldn’t tell if it was an airbag suspension letting air out or a blow off valve. We brought both our 65 and 2012 to the event. after we ate at Wahlburgers owned by Mark Wahlberg and his family.

Wednesday is my personal favorite day of the event.
It is the Autocross and Oval fun runs day at the Myrtle Beach Speedway.
we began by setting up our booth using all 3 cars and our full wheel display setup.
After getting everything setup and working, I took the GT500 around the oval for some speed runs and was able to get it up to 110 at the fastest.

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Thursday is the Drag Race day, and was typically held at Darlington speedway (a 1/4 mile track)a lengthy drive for most attendees, but this year it was held at North Myrtle Beach DragStrip(a 1/8th mile track). From what we were told the attendance was FARRRRR more than they expected. As for us we used Thursday as a rest and relax day.

Friday is the biggest day of the week and is the Mustang Week Show.In Years past it is held at the Myrtle Beach Mall in the parking lot next to the Bass Pro Shop. A venue honestly a little too small for the event. This year it was held at the Myrtle Beach Convention center, with displays inside the center and outside. a venue likely 5 times the size as the mall. It was a fantastic showing!
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Friday Night is when most of the BIG night meets are, and its often difficult to choose the “right” one to go to. we went to the Beaver Bar, a favorite of mine as its only a few miles away from the house, the road is a central location for all the burnouts you could ever want and the beer is cheap. they have rocking chairs and tables in the parking lot for relaxful evenings. as the night went on the itch for nearly everyone to burn rubber had to be scratched and nearly everyone remaining by 10pm was doing just that!From 1000Hp+ drag cars to our 65 mustang and even a 2015+ ecoboost everyone took a turn dropping the clutch.

Saturday is unfortunately the last day of the event and includes a cruise-in, the awards ceremony for the show the day before.
Til next year!