Our 10 Favorite Mustangs From The 2021 Holley Ford Fest

The sea of cars at Ford Fest never disappoints. This makes narrowing down a field of beautiful cars to ten extremely difficult. Narrowing it down to only Mustangs makes it even more difficult! At this year’s Holley Intergalactic Ford Fest and NMRA World Finals every generation of Mustang was proudly on display. The classics, modern muscle and time slip sensitive were all in attendance. Here’s the ten Mustangs that caught our eyes. 

Leticia Hughes – Naturally Aspirated 9-Second 2018 GT

Leticia Hughes brought out her beautiful 2018 Mustang GT. A glance at her plates reading “9S NA” will tell you everything you need to know. While 9 second quarter mile time slips are commonplace for the S550 chassis, few are doing it without the help of power adders or nitrous. Hughes’ previous runs include a personal best of 9.85 at 140 MPH on motor only! After shaving over 150 pounds the car is all set to be dipping even lower into the 9’s. Best part? The car retains a fully interior complete with AC and heat! 

For this event Hughes decided to take a shot at the Modular Muscle class. After winning the first round with a time just three thousandths from her dial in, the second round saw the event winner take her out by only two hundredths of a second. Suncoast bolt-together torque converter and built 10r80 comprises the transmission setup. Comp Cams reside near the AFS ported Cobra Jet manifold and Gen 3 heads. Lucas Oil products keep all internals properly lubricated. Making sure the power meets the ground is a steady stream of Steeda goods. To round it all off a set of RC Component wheels finalize the build with great fashion and function.

Matt Ballard – Camo-Wrapped 2017 GT Turbo

Team Last minute award goes to Matt Ballard and his camo wrapped 2017 S550. A series of bad events caused his previous motor to let go at the 1000 foot mark. This happened only a few weeks before the NMRA World Finals.  Ballard sent his motor off to TKM performance with a rush order in hopes to finish the year off strong. After picking up his new motor 2 days before the event he was able to reinstall it in his car while finishing up his wife’s Procharged F150 at the same time!

Ballard’s 17 is still rocking the factory interior with the exception of Kirkey seats for safety. A TKM short block receives boost from a BL Fabrication turbo kit. Supplying fuel to the engine is a complete Fore fuel system. Steeda once again provided a trophy winning suspension combination. Ballard ran 9.0 True Street and with a pass of 9.017 and 8.983 he averaged a perfect spot on 9.0. 

Bob Miller – ProCharged 2003 Mach 1

A lifelong Ford guy with five Mustangs still in his possession, Bob drove his ProCharged Mach 1 from Illinois to show off. After being afflicted with “shaker hood syndrome”, Miller was seen selling his restored 1973 Mustang to purchase this new Mach 1 in 2003. A road tripper by heart, he decided to keep the modifications minimal. Miller only added an intercooled Procharger and 4:10 gearing. This allowed shortened time frames on longer travels.  Suspension is a combination of Steeda, Kenny Brown and BBK parts that aided him at the Ponies In The Smokies meet.

 

James Mattingly – Coyote-Swapped 1986 GT

James Mattingly showcased his 1986 GT. The build took over 4 years to complete and included the purchase of additional Mustangs to use as parts donors. Mattingly stripped the old paint and did a full spray of ingot silver at Mattingly Paint and Body. The silver paint reflects off the brushed CCW wheels. Wilwood brakes stop about as hard as my jaw hitting the ground when I saw the engine bay. The beautiful stance and handling come from QA1 and Maximum Motorsports products.

 

Making sure the power matches the looks is a Procharger D1SC mounted to the Gen 2 Coyote. Mattingly decided to preserve the manual shifter society and implemented a T56 transmission. Exhaust gases are set free via BBK headers, BBK x-pipe and Flowmaster mufflers. 

C.J. Holcomb – White As Snow 1986 GT

A 14 year old C.J. Holcomb was shocked in 1999 when his father brought home this white 1986 Mustang GT for their build. The build became the father and son bond that dreams are made of. Now C.J. has even introduced his wife to the fold! After 20 years of ownership, the car is now a show and shine masterpiece with a side of nitrous. 

Holcomb’s nitrous huffing 331 cubic inch motor is surrounded by Scott Rod engine bay panels giving the engine bay a crisp visual.  Internally the motor was built using Carillo Rods, Ross Pistons and a Comp Cam. Edelbrock Performer heads and Victor intake complete the engine’s top end. A Q Series 750 Quick Fuel supplies the motor with fuel. Mac 1 ¾” headers combined with 3” exhaust makes sure any exhaust gases quickly leave. Keeping a nitrous motor hooked on the track is difficult, but Team Z and Strange coilovers keep this fox on the righteous path. 

John Brooks – Orange Crush 1987 GT

John Brooks is a man with a different mindset. While many four eyed owners swapped to the aero nose, he was busy swapping the opposite direction. The lack of a decent chassis in his area meant he would be putting his skills to the test rather than his google searches.  1991 big fenders were added to keep the tire aspect correct. Then he fought a modification battle to merge the 1991 Fender spats with the 1986 nose. Once completed the body was sprayed with a perfect shade of orange.  

Brooks used Stifflers fit kit with full length subframe connectors to keep this orange crush planted. A Stifflers K-member brace, crossmember and transmission mount were also implemented into the chassis build. The final touch was a set of black BBS RK wheels. As the chassis was almost finished, Brooks received an 80,000 mile block from a friend’s father named Dale. Dale had stored the motor for over 20 years before giving it to Brooks with the hopeful expectation of hearing it run.  Two weeks later Dale was diagnosed with cancer. Brooks added a new B303 camshaft, GT40 heads and a Vortech V1 hoping to beat the cancer clock. Unfortunately it was too late, as Dale passed away just shy of 2 weeks before start up. Brooks dedicated the car to Dale. He even had the oval badges replaced with “Dale” badges from Sinisbuilt. 

P.J. McMillian – True Street 1993 LX Coupe

Lurking in the backside of the racer’s row was PJ McMillian’s youtube famous notchback! This vibrant red devil started life as a 4-cylinder car before being converted into a low 8 second quarter mile assassin.  The current setup includes a Dart 363 block with Scat crank. McMillian dropped Diamond pistons into each cylinder with a 10.8:1 compression. AFR 205 heads and comp custom ground solid roller camshaft finish the top end. Reed at Work Turbo built an 88mm for maximum performance and boost. McMillian blasted down the track with help of a TH400 from Hutch and 8.8 rear with 3.08 gears. Maintaining this combination is key, so a Fuel Tech FT550 management was used and tuned by Justin Haddon at D&D Performance. 

No racer is complete without a crew. McMillian chose an in house group that was comprised of his son and his father. Three generations attacking a stacked True Street field. The car ran an 8.42 at 164 MPH. If the rain held out for his second pass we may have had a different winner. The build may scream “race car” however this car sees trips to baseball practice and grocery stores more than time slips. 

Todd Eldridge – Twin Turbo 2013 GT/CS

After spending time in the USAF and working for Delta Airlines, Todd is no stranger to things that fly. His Mustang is no different as this vehicle flies down the highway thanks to a foot switch operated adjustable tune. This adjustability allows from 600 to 1100 horsepower from the power plant. White’s Mustang utilizes a built Ford Racing Aluminator block and Hellion setup with twin 62/66 polished Turbonetic turbos. A Holley Sniper High Boost billet intake manifold receives up to 21lbs boost before it enters the motor. 

A slew of BMR control arms, combined with Koni struts and Eibach springs keep the front end planted and avoid flight. White equipped the rear with Viking warrior double adjustable rear coilovers allowing the power to stay planted to the rear wheels. True Forged Inertia three-piece wheels with chrome spokes and brushed aluminum centers set this Mustang apart. To keep up with the engine’s power are Mickey Thompson ET Street tires. 

Olivia Yandall – 1966 Mustang

Located near the back of the show and shine field was Olivia Yandall’s red with white stripe 1966 Mustang. After moving to a better photo location, it became evident this car should have been parked near the show and shine tent. I found myself snapping pictures between flocks of drooling attendees. Each one stopping to discuss the car, its perfect stance and color matched interior.  

Yandall was only 14 years old when her uncle and her began to transform the car into what it is today. Starting with merging a 1965 fastback top onto a 1966 coupe body. The build took 2 years as they handled the body work, paint, interior and drivetrain without help. Yandall finished just in time for her to get her license. A few years later and the build is still as solid as ever.  The only change to her high school driver was a 347 and AOD transmission to replace the 289. 

Wesley Cleland – GT350 Twin Turbo

What started as a simple nitrous and cold air intake setup for Wesley Leland’s 2017 GT350  quickly spiraled out of control when he discovered a love for boost. A Hellion sleeper kit using twin 62mm turbos replaced the laughing gas. Certified Performance installed a complete E85 fuel system to meet the engines demands. This included an upgrade to injector dynamics 1050cc injectors. BC Forged wheels give off an aggressive appearance as BMR products help with the cars posture. 

 

About the author

James Elkins

Born into a household of motorsport lovers, James learned that wrenching takes priority over broken skin and damaged nerves. Passions include fixing previous owners’ mistakes, writing, and driving.
Read My Articles

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