Mustangs Invade Maple Grove For Massive Car Show

Early in the morning on a Saturday the Reading, Pennsylvania, area is filled with the sounds of rumbling exhausts and whirring superchargers as Mustangs fill the roads. All are headed for the same corral.

For the last several years, Mustang and Ford enthusiasts all over the East Coast have put the car show onto their late-summer calendar. The event is one of the largest in the Mustang world, bringing together an enormous group of Ford fanatics to one location — a place with an illustrious history within the Mustang hobby, Maple Grove Raceway.

The centrally located track is just a few hours from all of the major population centers in the area; Philadelphia, Baltimore, the District of Columbia, New York City, and even Boston are well within a reasonable ride for a solid Saturday filled with a chassis dyno competition, racing exhibitions, and an extensive midway.

From the moment attendees pulled in and parked, the cleaning supplies came out and were pressed into service.

On top of these enticing reasons to attend the show, the AmericanMuscle team does a great thing for the community, passing along the proceeds of the event to support a worthy cause, the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

There was a full slate of events planned for the day; from an appearance by Chip Foose to exhibition drag racing put on with the assistance of the crew from VMP Performance to the chassis dyno competition (more on that shortly), attendees had to spread their attention out over the wide-by-long Maple Grove Raceway grounds.

In years past, the AmericanMuscle team has built giveaway Mustangs and granted wishes for special Make-A-Wish recipients, but a quick glance at this year’s vehicle told an interesting tale. AM’s parent company, Turn 5, also has a Jeep division which runs under the name. It was immediately evident that we weren’t looking at a Mustang here.

The large Manufacturers’ Midway included a Who’s Who of the Mustang hobby; from Vortech Superchargers to the aforementioned VMP Performance squad and Fuel Injector Clinic, among others, attendees were able to check out the latest wares and speak with manufacturer representatives who were on hand to share the details of their products.

Randy Earle of Fuel Injector Clinic discussed the company’s Data Match Technology with anyone who was curious. He explained that the company is able to characterize their fuel injectors within an extremely narrow window, which makes your tuner’s job much simpler as there is only a tiny variation across the whole set. This means tuning changes can be extremely precise, which improves performance and drivability.

Plentiful Ponies

During the course of the event, I was also on the hunt for appropriate feature vehicles. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been watching as local enthusiast Anthony Santora has built up his beautiful S550 into a single-turbo, stick-shift monster that retains full streetability and appearance.

When we found out he was going to be at the show, we lined up the feature and shot an excellent series of photos, which you’ll see soon here on FordNXT. For now, revel in the fact that even with a clutch that was slipping horribly, he still managed to spin the dyno roller to an intense 1,170 horsepower and beat out the rest of the competitors — in 90-degree, 78-percent-humidity air. This car is no joke! Stay tuned for the full feature.

Anthony Santora's big-power S550 earned him the Dyno Challenge title.

The 2006 Mustang GT below featured a wide range of show-stopping mods, from the Lamborghini-style flip-up doors to the tinted windows and blue LEDs mounted underneath. It wasn’t short on performance upgrades, either, with a set of SR Performance lowering springs, Koni dampers, and a J&M adjustable Panhard bar. SLP Loudmouth mufflers announce its arrival.

This S197’s underhood treatment is full chrome, allowing the car to live up to its name. The bright blue airbrushed skull on the underside of the hood--complete with LED eyes--finishes off the package.

The event offered a little bit of something for everyone; Jerry Daskoski made the trip all the way from Lake City, Florida, in his 2016 GT Premium machine. Not only that, but he recently had the Whipple-supercharged, flamed machine on the dyno at Burnyzz in Ocala, Florida, where it laid down 652.1 horsepower and 503.79 lb-ft of torque.

The rarely-seen flames on the contemporary shell make this Mustang’s appearance legit amongst a sea of like-optioned Mustangs. A Whipple Twin-screw supercharger complete with 3.75-inch pulley provides a performance boost, while Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates for alignment correction, and lowering springs with adjustable dampers sharpen its handling.

This car was given away as the grand prize in a nationwide sweepstakes back in 2006. Designed in a partnership between Chip Foose, Unique Performance, and BFGoodrich Tires, the car dubbed the World’s Hottest Mustang displayed a show-car paint scheme to go with the custom interior. Foose designed the chrome wheels and BFG supplied the tires.

Underhood, a Vortech supercharger system helps this Mustang produce 462 measured horsepower from the Three-Valve Modular engine. Steeda springs and Baer brakes helped to complete the package. Over 200,000 people signed up for the giveaway.

Another outstanding car on the property belonged to local Ron Cody. We’ve run into Ron at a number of shows over the years and his car (below) never fails to impress. It’s always super-clean and filled with a bunch of custom touches, all done in his home garage. Stay tuned for a full feature on this beastly GT in a future article as well.

Racing, Prizes, & More

The VMP Performance gang hand-picked a number of cars to perform a drag-racing exhibition, for which the stands were full. With a full complement of 10- and 11-second real street cars making passes for the fans, their racing appetites were sated for the day.

The show is a family event, and people come from all over to attend. It was announced over the public address system that the attendee who won the Long Haul award drove cross-country from California. Thousands of Mustangs crowded the grounds, including the slick Roush S550 seen here.

Toward the end of the afternoon, all eyes fell upon the Make-A-Wish trailer and the vehicle under wraps as American Muscle and Turn 5 founders Andrew and Steven Voudoris took the stage to offer up accolades to their team for coming together to deliver upon another wish.

This year, it was for Logan and his Jeep, which was dropped off to Turn 5 wearing a completely different paint scheme, ride height, and general lack of creature comforts. In just a few weeks, the Turn 5 group came together, designing, and executing this beautiful vehicle, and put a smile on a young man’s face for what will likely be an extended period of time.

It wasn’t just a show field filled with 2005-current Mustangs, either; there were plenty of fine examples of older cars on the Maple Grove Raceway premises. The 2017 AmericanMuscle show was a celebration of all things Mustang, although attendance was heavily skewed toward the late-model iron — the Jeep above notwithstanding.

A team of mechanics from Corsa was on-hand to perform installations of the company’s exhaust products, which were purchased and delivered at the show.

At the end of the show, it was announced that the attendees came together to help support Make-A-Wish by contributing $25,002 to the raffle — an increase of $5,002 over their 2016 donation. At the time of this writing, the AmericanMuscle team was still tallying up the final donation from other contributions.

If you’re a Mustang fan, you should put the AmericanMuscle show on your list, no matter where you live. Make the plans to attend #AM2018, the company expects to release a date soon, so stay tuned.

Photo gallery


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About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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