This Gulf-Livery Steeda Q850 Mustang Is A Four-Digit Fantasy Machine

Most of us fall in love with cars at a young age. We dream of having a garage full of amazing machines. In the case of Darroll Myers, he had that dream back in the original muscle car heyday, but it took decades before he could fully realize that fantasy. And, boy did he ever do it in style.

Everyone who has seen the car in person has been blown away by how the paint design emphasizes the muscular attributes of the car. — Joe Day, Steeda Performance Vehicles

“The dream car back then — I was 18 in 1969 — was the Boss 429. It was like something you couldn’t even conceive owning because of its rarity,” Darroll said. “My first car was a ’59 Mercury, then I had a ’66 Fairlane GT and then a ’67 Fairlane GT, and then I went in the Army and they sent me on my first tour in Vietnam. When I came back, I bought a Highland Green ’68 Mustang GT390, just like the one Steve McQueen drove.”

Under a hood lifted by Steeda hood struts is a Livernois-built 5.2-liter Gen 3 Coyote engine boosted by a Whipple Gen 5 3.8-liter supercharger spun by an ATI 20-percent-overdriven damper and breathing through a Whipple 132mm elliptical throttle body. It is fed by a Fore Innovations triple-pump returnless/return hybrid fuel system supplying two regulators, Whipple fuel rails, and Fuel Injector Clinic 1000cc port fuel injectors along with the OE direct injectors. It delivers 1,103 horsepower to the rear wheels via a Brett Lasala-built 10R80 auto, a Suncoast Performance torque converter, a QA1 carbon-fiber driveshaft, and Ford Performance halfshafts in the factory IRS 8.8.

Life Changes

Running through a laundry list of muscle cars fed his need for speed, but eventually, he had to part with all his vehicles. As unimaginable as that might seem, it was time to make a big life move and they all had to go. It couldn’t have been an easy decision at the time, especially since he had no idea how it would work out in the end.

“In 1975 I bought a Super Cobra Jet Mustang and I drag raced that car for a couple of years,” Darroll said. “Then I bought Boss 302s and Boss 351s. Before I started a business in 1987, I had to sell everything — sold all the cars — just to start the business; all the cars, all the parts, and just about everything I owned.”

Selling all those muscle machines and parts generated enough seed money to put together an investment. That investment was to open a NAPA Auto Parts store in Williston, North Dakota.

“When I started the business, I put up $20,000 and borrowed another $30,000. NAPA gave me $150,000 worth of a parts inventory on a signature,” Myers said.

Sprayed with a Gulf Oil livery paint scheme by Michigan Vehicle Solutions in Southgate, Michigan, this Q850 wears a Steeda S550 Functional Race Wing and a Steeda front fascia.

Benefitting from serving the state’s oil-field industry, Myers Auto Parts turned that inventory into the largest single NAPA store in the nation. Though the oil industry can run through periods of boom and bust, the store continued to prosper. Eventually, that level of success afforded Myers with the ability to fully embrace his passion for fast cars, particularly modern Ford muscle machines.

Though he started with modest acquisitions, like a 1996 SVT Mustang Cobra and a classic Pantera, he eventually set his sights on the first-gen Ford GT.

Swept Away By The Gulf

“Then the Gulf Heritage Edition Ford GT came out. I didn’t know what it was gonna’ be like,” Myers said. “Then I saw a picture and committed to buying one. I wasn’t sure if I liked the blue and orange. Then, of course, when I picked the car up, I loved it. So that’s how my love of the Gulf color design started.”

That car started something, as he now has several special, Gulf-livery machines in his collection in addition to the Steeda Q850 Hardcore seen here. He also owns a modern Ford GT, a one-off Cobra Jet, a Saleen Mustang, and a 1969 Mustang Funny Car with an all-aluminum, 438 cubic inch engine all sprayed in a variation of the iconic orange and blue theme.

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The Steeda Connection

It was another favorite color that started Myers down the path to commission special builds from Steeda Performance Vehicles: Dark Highland Green. Remember that ’68 Mustang he used to own? Well, he saw a chance to own a modern version, but not just a factory model. He wanted more and Steeda offered the truly special Steve McQueen Edition Bullitt. Myers, however, desired one targeted toward straight-line performance.

“I saw that they’re building these 2019 Bullitt racecars. I called Steeda, and they had no idea who I was, and I just said ‘I’m a drag guy. I’m not a real road-race guy. If you guys want to build a drag-pack car with me, I’ll do this.’ Two days later they called me, and said, ‘We’ll build this car with you,’ so that’s the start of our relationship,” Myers explained. “So then we built a shortblock and that that car makes 775 to the rear wheels on 100-octane fuel.’”

“Darroll is an amazing client,” Steeda Performance Vehicles President and Managing Owner Bob Adams enthused. “I like to think of him as a Steeda Team Member because of his knowledge and enthusiasm for performance vehicles is just like ours. He provides amazing insight and a level of knowledge, tenacity, and energy that makes the entire company/client relationship the best it could ever be.”

Eventually, Myers would build another really special Bullitt based on a 2020 Shelby GT500 fitted with the Golden Ticket option— the Carbon Fiber Track Package. You have no doubt seen this Highland Green stunner making the rounds online, but his follow-up project returned to the Gulf livery with the goal of creating a street-legal version of his orange and blue Cobra Jet. These projects are huge undertakings but dovetail nicely with Steeda Performance Vehicles’ capabilities.

Fitted with custom upholstery by Antonio Leather Experts in Livonia, Michigan, this Steeda Q850 also benefits from a rear-seat delete and a four-point, chrome-moly roll bar from Watson Engineering. Driver and passenger are held safe by custom six-point harness-belts by Safecraft Restraint System, and Myers keeps it running straight with a Steeda carbon fiber steering wheel.

“We offer full customization and painting to our clients on a special-case basis from mild to wild,” Steeda Performance Vehicles Vice President of Operation Joe Day commented. “With our team’s extensive experience in overseeing the preparation of auto show vehicles for Ford Motor Company, we are experts in ensuring the level of work exceeds the level of expectations our clients have.”

As you might imagine, Myers is the type of customer who pushes the envelope of those capabilities. However, the SPV team is familiar with the kind of machines he desires and can draw on experience to help realize those concepts in finished form, including calling on first-gen Ford GT designer, Camillo Pardo for his artistic expertise.

“We collaborated with him on the only ‘factory’ Cobra Jet Mustang that left Ford with a special paint scheme. Camilo did the extensive design work and Michigan Vehicle Solutions of Southgate Michigan did the show-quality body and paintwork. It was an amazing project that created an equally amazing completed Cobra Jet Mustang,” Adams explained. “For this specific car, Darroll was instrumental in leveraging the previous Camilo design with his own added insight and adapted it to this specific Steeda Mustang. Once again, Michigan Vehicle Solutions transformed the car with its mastery of preparation and painting. They turned Darroll’s vision into a spectacular reality.”

Completing the Gulf Steeda Q850’s modern-retro theme is a set of Rohana RC10 wheels. Measuring 20x8 inches in front and 20x11 inches out back, these wheels are wrapped in Nitto NT01 rubber.

Completing the Gulf Steeda Q850’s modern-retro theme is a set of Rohana RC10 wheels. Measuring 20×8 inches in front and 20×11 inches out back; these wheels are wrapped in Nitto NT01 rubber.

Backed Up With A Punch

While its beauty is more than skin deep, this special Steeda Q850 packs the brawn to back up those looks. SPV turned to Livernois Motorsports and Engineering for a 308-liter Gen 3 Coyote engine based on the vaunted 5.2-liter block from the current Shelby GT500. Livernois sleeved the Predator block and filled it with a Boss crankshaft, Carillo forged rods, and its own 11.3:1 piston design created by Ross Racing Pistons. Topped by Gen 3 Coyote heads treated to its in-house Stage 3 port job and filled with Ferrea valves actuated by Livernois valve springs, this engine is orchestrated by stock GT500 cams and rocker arms along with slow-bleed lifters from the Shelby GT350R.

In all the stout long-block lays the foundation for a bevy of boost from the latest twin-screw blower out of Fresno, California, the 3.8-liter Gen 5 Whipple supercharger. When dialed in on high-octane VP C85 fuel via Livernois calibration flashed by one of that outfit’s MyCalibrator devices, the finished product delivers a whopping 1,103 horsepower to the rear wheels through a Brett LaSala-prepped 10R80 10-speed automatic.

“So just bolting the 3.8 on gained 10-pounds of boost. I’m running the big pulley on the bottom. I’m also running the biggest pulley on top right now, so I have lots more room to grow for sure,” Myers said.

“The Whipple supercharger system is simply the best supercharger available anywhere. Sure it costs more, but like the old saying — you get what you pay for,” Adams added. “It offers amazing boost levels with low parasitic drag and low inlet temperatures. In all of the testing we have done, we have not found a better product.”

Darroll Myers’ unique 2020 Steeda Q850 Mustang definitely has the license to thrill.

It was good enough to soundly best Myer’s goal of 1,050 at the wheels from this combination, but more than seeing the four-digit dyno verification, he set another real-world goal at the drag strip: 9-second passes that surpass 140 mph in the 1/4-mile. Confident the car was capable of achieving those statistics, he set out to prove it in testing at his local drag strip, which is more than 100 miles from his home.

With a complete Steeda Hardcore suspension underneath, the traction is there when he heats the sticky tires. In initial testing, it clicked off a 9.15 at 151 mph. He expects that car to break into the 8-second zone after a few tweaks, which would meet his goal of creating a street-legal version of his Cobra Jet with a full interior, VIN, and a license plate that he and his wife can also cruise around town in.

So, there is no doubt this car is impressive, and wherever he takes it, this car draws a crowd, especially when it is hanging out with some of its Gulf-livery friends. We caught up with this Steeda Q850 during the 47th Annual Mid America Ford & Shelby in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it held court with the aforementioned Ford GT and Cobra Jet, which are also adorned with the Gulf livery. It was a show-stopper there, even when sharing the stage with such lofty company.

“Everyone who has seen the car in person has been blown away by how the paint design emphasizes the muscular attributes of the car and adds a massive appeal factor,” Steeda Performance Vehicles Vice President of Operations Joe Day shared.

Steeda

Did we mention that Darroll Myers is a fan of the Gulf Oil paint scheme? Unlike many collectors of high-performance machines, however, his collection brims with modern muscle cars, and many of them are rare and unique. His Steeda Q850 is one of many cars in his collection bearing that familiar orange and blue look, including this Heritage Edition Ford GT and one-of-a-kind Cobra Jet.

“When we were in Tulsa, I had more people come up said this is my favorite car,” Myers added. “Everybody always expects me to do something out of the box, you know, right, but a number of people said, ‘This is my favorite car yet and I love the GT, but this Mustang is cool.’”

A one-of-a-kind, 2020 Steeda Q850 Mustang with four-digit power and a striking retro paint job is undoubtedly cool, and we can’t wait to see what Myers’ next project entails.

About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
Read My Articles

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