One of my favorite parts of being the editor of Ford Muscle is showcasing feature cars to the masses. While I attend events, races, and cruises throughout the country, I’m always on the hunt to find vehicles that not only speak to me, but embody what an enthusiast is. These feature cars range from garage builds to top tier show cars, on-road to off-road, and everything in between. Here are some of my favorite feature cars from 2022.
While making my rounds of social media I came across this slammed Explorer ST. While I know how potent these four-wheel drive machines can be, the reality is that they are rarely modified past an intercooler. However, this one stood out because not only was it slammed, it was sporting an arsenal of performance products including larger turbos, fully built transmission, and massive brake rotors and calipers.
The combination of performance parts used propelled this family hauler into the 10-second quarter-mile zone and made it one of the fastest Explorer ST on the scene. Although the feature was finished and the title was held, its owner continued to modify it for more power and a stronger visual appearance which we thoroughly enjoyed seeing throughout the year.
1963 1/2 Galaxie Gets R-Code Treatment
As one could imagine, we love a car that provides a story. This 1963 1/2 Galaxie’s story began before it even left the dealer lot. You see, back in the early 60s Ford was debuting race cars with the R-Code treatment for racers to campaign across America. There was one major problem though, a severe lack of availability. This meant purchasing an R-Code was extremely difficult and expensive. However, for one dealership the ease of creating their own R-Code came easily through its own parts department.
Over the years the car began to change hands, but each time the engine became more and more powerful. Instead of sporting a 427 cubic-inch engine, the latest revision sports a SOHC Cammer engine between its strut towers. Although retired from race duty, the Galaxie still cruises the Carlisle fairground for the Carlisle Ford Nationals each year with a massive 800 horsepower engine powering it.
As I stood on the sidelines of the South Georgia Motorsports Park dragstrip around the 330-foot mark, a second-generation Ford Lightning rocketed past me. This wasn’t your usual SVT truck equipped with a supercharger to provide forced induction into the equation. Instead, a pair of 76mm Precision turbos were swapped onto the front of the Modular engine creating a 7-second quarter-mile monster.
I finally was able to track down the Lightning’s owner in the pits and request a photo shoot. I was incredibly stoked on getting the go ahead from the owner, since most racers come to the track to race, not shoot photos. As luck would have it midway through the photoshoot, the announcement for “Mod Truck to the starting line” would sound a quick escape for the Lightning to return to the dragstrip to click off an 7.65-second quarter-mile and leave me waiting til dusk for another chance to finish the shoot.
The Secret Track Entrance
It’s hard trying to pull people from racing or from a premier parking spot in a car show to shoot a full feature at almost any event. However, sometimes it works out for the best. While attending the Holley Ford Fest and NMRA World Finals I sat waiting for a car to appear at our photo spot when suddenly a clean Fox Body came over the hill. The owner thought he might have secured a secret way into the grounds, but instead was inducted into a photoshoot.
Josh Mitchell’s Mustang was extremely clean and embodied what a street and strip four-eyed Fox Body should look like in my opinion. A set of RC Components wheels, a powerful 9.5 deck engine, and a TREMEC manual transmission made this the classic build perfect for drag racing. Although he was there to attend the car show, his car has been extremely close to knocking down a 10-second time slip.
Walking a large fairground seeking out features can be a daunting task. In most cases, there is a vast majority of cookie-cutter cars, that while sitting on their own would make a nice piece, seem a bit too common when paired near similar builds. Then there are the hidden gems tucked throughout that require a keen eye to find. This was the case in Josh Sand’s 1969 F-100.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon the truck while walking through a sea of classic F-100s. Although the slammed appearance and nice wheels first caught my eye, it was the chassis and engine that would put this build above par. Under the hood was a Gen-2 Coyote engine paired to a 6R80 transmission. The chassis sat extremely low thanks to a Roadster Shop Chassis. We made our way to the Pennsylvania country roads to shoot the F-100.
Onto The Next Year!
As we’re slowly moving past the Covid years, it seems more vehicles are coming out of hibernation and I’m excited to see how fast the scene is rebounding. I couldn’t be more thrilled than to experience these cars, trucks, sport utilities in person and hope to bring even more features to the forefront for 2023.