As Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords celebrates its 20th year in the Mustang performance business, we've had a chance to look around and see who has made this epic journey with us. One such company is Steeda Autosports. Currently located in Pompano Beach, Florida, Steeda is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the company held a big party in honor of that achievement in Valdosta, Georgia, where its new 100,000-square-foot facility is being built.
Back in the early days of MM&FF, Steeda was a simple, one-page advertiser for performance parts. By 1994, it had grown enough to take over the coveted C4, or cover four, spot (the back cover) of our book and has held it ever since. Steeda has also grown to include additional ads inside MM&FF, and never fails to provide us with the latest modified Steeda Mustang for full-on testing.
Steeda has long been known...
Steeda has long been known for its success on the track as well as off. We got to see the '08 model lineup, along with some other Steeda vehicles, make a few laps around the South Georgia Motorsports Park half-mile oval track.
Steeda's manufacturing division has also grown over the years, expanding from one building to four to the brand-new facility in Georgia. A changing business climate in the south Florida area and a lack of affordable real estate got Steeda proprietor Dario Orlando looking elsewhere when it was time to expand once again. While Steeda plans to build its own test track, being close to a dragstrip would also help when testing its Hardcore performance parts line. When the research was over, Valdosta was the winner. It's an hour north of the Florida border, home to the Valdosta State Blazers and nearby South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP).
We ventured to Georgia to check out what this long-time supporter of MM&FF was up to. The Valdosta County Industrial Authority was more than happy to have Steeda bring in such a massive manufacturing outfit, and the location Steeda chose just happens to be about 15 minutes from the relatively new SGMP dragstrip. It's more than just a dragstrip, however, as the venue also features a half-mile asphalt oval track, and hosts a regular SCCA autocross in its parking lot.
As with all Steeda parties, there's always some sort of driving experience, so when it came time to plan a 20th birthday party for the company, SGMP seemed like the perfect choice. The party started on Friday, June 13, with a small banquet and presentation by the Steeda staff at the Valdosta Convention Center, located right across the street from the host hotel.
Saturday was day one at SGMP, where the quarter-mile dragstrip and SCCA autocross track were available to all participants. The Steeda staff had brought every model of its current lineup for everyone to check out, and it wasn't long before the staff took to the tracks to show everyone what these machines could do. At the autocross, they gave rides to folks who were eager to check out the hot automobiles.
Rob ippolito of Valdosta is...
Rob ippolito of Valdosta is a regular attendee of the SCCA autocross at the track. The Vortech-blown notchback is a well-sorted ride that gets the job done nicely-that is, when Rob isn't pushing it past the limit.
There was also a car show, though its mild turnout was no doubt due to the fact that most people were there to drive. Some people pulled off both, but the majority of attendees were behind the wheel. Saturday concluded a bit early so we could get cleaned up and head over to the new Steeda facility where Dario Orlando's staff provided a good ol' Southern barbecue. Folks also got to check out the new building, which was in the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical phase of construction.
Come Sunday, both the autocross and the dragstrip were taken over again. The car show was put on by Total Mustang Supply, with awards for Best Steeda, Best Roush, and Best Shelby, among others. Awards and gifts included plaques, gift certificates, and T-shirts.
We took Sunday as our opportunity to jump in some of the Steeda cars, including the Q400 and Q500 models. Of course, being horsepower junkies, we liked the supercharged Q500, but the Q400 offered plenty of pep as well.
Steeda has plans for its new Valdosta-based headquarters to become the most state-of-the-art design, engineering, and manufacturing facility for Ford performance equipment. In addition to the underroof operations, Steeda will incorporate a test track with slalom and skidpad areas. We plan to make some laps of our own once it's finished, and we'll be sure to bring you all of the dirt once we do.
If all goes as planned, Steeda would like to make its anniversary bash a yearly event. If that happens, we're definitely coming back with several cars of our own to play with. Having the autocross and dragstrip available at any time is just what the driving enthusiast in us craves.
On the SCCA autocross course,...
On the SCCA autocross course, Robin Burnett provided "thrill rides" in his Steeda Q American Iron-series Mustang to those willing to hang on. Even the mayor of Valdosta buckled in for a ride.
The dragstrip was ready and...
The dragstrip was ready and willing all day, though it seemed the majority of attendees kept to the autocross. Some did both, including a Silver SVT Lightning that ran the autocross with bias-ply drag rubber on the back. Talk about dual-purpose.
Car-show winners were given...
Car-show winners were given the opportunity to make a few laps on the half-mile oval on Sunday.
The MM&FF staff got to sit...
The MM&FF staff got to sit behind the wheel and turn some laps in both the new Q500 and Q400. Both cars are now equipped with Steeda's new adaptive strategy computer programming and handled the autocross with ease.
Steeda's new manufacturing...
Steeda's new manufacturing facility is enormous, given the fact that it solely produces Mustang parts. The majority of Steeda operations will reside here in Valdosta, though the company plans to keep a Pompano Beach, Florida, building open for a small sales staff.