Steeda Celebrates Three Decades Of Performance In South Florida

The automotive aftermarket is and exciting and fun business, but like the racing it helps to support, it is hyper-competitive. Surviving for a decade is an impressive achievement for a company. However, thriving for three decades is definitely a cause for celebration, and that’s just what Steeda did this year with two 30th Anniversary celebrations at its Valdosta, Georgia, and Pompano Beach, Florida facilities.

We made the trip down to the company’s Floridian home base for the car show and dyno day the company hosted to mark the occasion. Having visited this facility since it was all in one small building and seeing it grow to include large facilities in two states certainly made us feel nostalgic, but it really was special for the company’s president, Dario Orlando.

From left to right President Dario Orlando, Racing Chief Engineer Steve Chichisola, Vice President Glen Vitale, and Director/Plant Manager Scott Boda celebrated the big anniversary and look forward to powering Steeda into the future.

“I wanted to celebrate 30 years because of passion is stronger than ever. It is in my blood and it’s just wonderful to see the transition in the Mustang from 1988 to 2018,” Dario explained. “In 30 years it is just amazing where the aftermarket is gone and also Ford has taken the Mustang to the next level, so we need to celebrate. We also want to let our customers know how much we appreciate their support and for the past 30 years.”

We helped select the show winners at the 30th Anniversary show. Jeff Horn (who now owns Ronnie Wilson’s legendary drag car) took the honors as Best 1979-1993 Mustang. Jose Valverde won the Best 1994-2004 Mustang with his Steedafied 1998 Cobra, Jamie Marrero drove away with the Best 2005-2014 Mustang in his GT500, and Gary Mone won the Best 2015+ Mustang with his custom-ordered S550.

On Saturday June 2 we spotted everything from classic Mustangs and the Foxes the company was founded on to a stampede of modern stallions. There were also some trucks and a strong showing by Ford’s now orphaned North American hot hatches. There were also older longtime customers and younger enthusiasts on hand, including one who told Dario he had been coming to visit Steeda since he was a baby, which really puts the milestone into perspective.

Since we last checked in on Steeda’s record-breaking 2018 Mustang GT drag car, it looks like the naturally aspirated racer recently gained some improvements. Steeda’s Matt Bouyea bolted on a Ford Performance Parts Cobra Jet intake fed by a prototype CJ CAI built using the company’s 3D printer. With the hardware in place tuner James Gordon has been dialing in the combo. We can’t wait to see what the car will do with this setup.

“It means a lot to me to see the dedication that the consumer has to the brand,” Dario said. “The one thing that I will never lose touch with the culture and to be in the fabric of the industry and stay connected.”

This is the kind of car Steeda was founded on — a clean Fox coupe. Frank Rene’s ’90 LX had some tasty mods, including a polished Vortech supercharger and a matching GT-40 intake manifold.

The company has certainly done that as it has produced performance parts just for Fords for longer than most companies have, short of the Blue Oval’s own performance parts division. That continues on today as Steeda continues to push 2018 Mustangs on drag strips and road courses in a quest to develop better gear.

We are big fans of Ford Performance’s hot hatches, which will soon join the Fusion and Taurus on the extinction list in North America. However, these compact fun machines are still a blast to drive. A strong showing of Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and Focus RS enthusiasts represented at the show.

“It’s a great milestone, and I look forward to the 31st and the 35th. I am not ready to retire. I want to keep going,” Dario added. “It keeps me alive, as this is my absolute passion.”

So, it looks like you can expect to see Steeda making Fords faster for years to come. Until then, we documented its 30th Anniversary party here for you, so be sure to check out the full gallery below to get a look at all the cars in attendance.

Seventeen cars spun the rollers on Steeda’s Dynojet at the event with the final car being Mang Than Sial’s 2018 EcoBoost Mustang. His ride put down about 240 to the tires, but the top dog of the event was Michael Ajo’s (not pictured) Roushcharged machine that pumped out 619 horsepower at the tire.

Photo gallery

VIEW FULL GALLERY >

About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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