What Is Steeda?
Steeda is the result of years of professional racing experience stemming back to generations of working closely with Ford. We have been working with the Mustang platform professionally since our founding by Dario Orlando in 1988 for racing and development of new parts for the Mustang and other vehicles as they debuted. From the time of our founding, we have won more races and titles than all of our competition put together and we continue to do so to this day. Today, Steeda is the single largest manufacturer of Ford-based performance parts while also being the largest privately owned Ford performance operation in the world. Today, Steeda manufactures performance parts for nearly every vehicle in Ford’s lineup, ranging from the Mustang through the F-150 Raptor and Super Duty trucks and everything else while still focusing heavily on the car that started it all for us.
Today, you can find Steeda products covering suspension, intake, wheels, and just about everything you could need for your vehicle including body work, exhaust, and more. Parts manufactured by Steeda are made 100% in the US, are used in high-performance racing around the world, and have appeared in movies and television - such as in the Need For Speed movie and Smallville. With parts for just about every Ford vehicle, Steeda covers every aspect of performance modification in your customization process from start to finish.
Where It Began
Steeda's first shop in 1989, showcasing the current Steeda GT Mustangs.
While Steeda was founded in 1988, its history with Ford and Ford’s racing development spans much further. The first step towards Steeda’s creation came in the early 1900's with our founder Dario’s grandfather who began working with Ford shortly after its founding. Additionally, his father, Domenico worked with Ford, starting as a broom-sweep and over time moving his way into the design team through his creativity and determination to succeed. Domenico’s influence and designs were responsible for iconic vehicles like the stunning Ford Thunderbird in the 1950s, the original Mustang in 1964.5, and even the legendary Ford GT40 race car that went on to beat Ferrari at LeMans in 1967.
During this time working at Ford, Domenico and his wife Alice were instilling in young Dario a deep passion not only for Ford and their cars, but for racing, too. From a young age, Dario was taught to take risks, to do what he says, to take pride in his work and accomplishments, and to have integrity in everything he does. These lessons stuck with Dario growing up and helped him build the character he has today both in business and in everyday life. From that young age, Dario knew to follow these morals that he was taught and to apply them to his life every day going forward, shaping himself and his career path.
As his first step into the automotive performance world, Dario Orlando opened his first shop in Pompano Beach, FL in 1974 working on imports and high performance cars to learn about what made them perform the way they did, which was able to help him finance his dreams of racing competitively in these types of vehicles properly. With his start to competitive racing at 19 in various imports like MGs, Toyotas, Datsuns, and Alfa Romeos, Dario quickly made a name for himself in the racing world. Winning the South Atlantic Road Race Championship in an F-production Sprite 1275 for three years in a row, Dario first put himself on the map as a serious professional racer. Dario even raced the 12 Hours At Sebring and 24 Hours At Daytona endurance series by the time he was 22 years old, one of the youngest to enter in this race ever!
With his impressive driving ability recognized by Ford themselves, Dario was brought on and worked with Ford on the Merkur XR4-TI program. Helping develop the suspension setup for the vehicle, Dario intended to make the Merkur model handle and perform at the top of its class, besting its European rivals. With this partnership, Dario cemented further work with Ford Racing for himself and eventually for the Steeda brand. With his racing history and mechanical understanding, Dario founded Steeda in 1988, working closely with the Mustang - a platform he was very well acquainted with for their performance and its use on tracks like Sebring. Ever since, Dario has been - and continues to be - driving Steeda Mustangs to victories around the country on various road courses.
Dario Orlando and Steve Chichisola at Ford’s Dearborn proving grounds in 1996 Testing the 95 Cobra R against the 95 Cobra 6.1.
The Start Of Steeda Autosports
The First Steeda Mustang rolled out of construction in 1988 and was fully set up for high-performance driving, which then proceeded to win various races across the country. Today, this exact Mustang has made appearances at events like Ford Nationals and other various events, running like the day it rolled out of the shop. In 1989, Steeda worked with Kraft Racing to win the IMSA Road Racing Series with a special 1989 Mustang fitted with racing rear disc brakes to show off their higher durability and performance figures.
Steeda testing their Cobra R at Palm Beach International Raceway
In 1993, Steeda yet again wowed the public when we took to the drag strip. Running a 1988 Mustang Fox Body, Steeda won the Outlaw 5-Liter World Championship. By 1994, Steeda was working closely with Ford’s SVT department to set up high-performance suspension parts to ensure the best handling for the money while also beginning to modify vehicles other than the Mustang. While we were racing and modifying the Mustang, we had also started upgrading vehicles like the F-150 pickup truck for the sport truck craze, as well as upgrading the new Explorer to give people something unique to drive their families around or to tow their race day vehicles too.
From then, Steeda consistently showed how their parts worked for racing by winning race after race while adding their new technology to production vehicles. Steeda and Ford’s SVT department worked together for the first Cobra R by installing a new type of high-performance braking technology which improved the car’s performance on the street as well as on the racetrack. With that in mind, Steeda’s 1995 Mustang Cobra R proceeded to win at Sebring. Building off of this, Ford and Steeda installed a 21-gallon fuel tank as part of the factory setup on the Mustang Cobra R to ensure proper fueling around tracks as well as in long-distance driving.
Over time, Steeda continued to impress on the track with the Mustang platform and specifically the Cobra R. After setting a new lap record at Sebring, Steeda brought their Cobra R to compete at the Texas Motor Speedway where it lapped the entire field twice. This brought the Mustang its first win at this track in decades, and with such a large win over others Steeda was able to show how much more competitive their cars could be than anyone else. After proving again how capable the Mustang is when racing on our G-Trac Suspension setup, Ford reached out to showcase the 6.1 Cobra concept on it to present it to the public in competition against Steeda before losing to the G-Trac equipped car. To top it off, the late 1990s brought in two more major runs. In 1997, racing driver Charlie Turner took his 1993 Steeda Mustang to a major position during the SCCA Nevada Open Road Challenge.Along with a massive win in 1997, Steeda worked again with Ford's Gil Pepitone to help diagnose engine stalling issues Ford was expereincing in the 4.6L and 5.4L truck motors which saved Ford over $200 million in warranty losses. In 1998, Car and Driver tested five modified vehicles including the Hennessey Venom and Linginfelter Corvette right after the Nevada Open Road Race. During this test, the Steeda Q Mustang managed a 0-150-0MPH run in only 26.1 seconds, with only the dramatically more expensive Lingenfelter Corvette, outperforming it
Steeda Autosports And The Performance Aftermaket
In 2000, Steeda worked with Ford Performance on a new venture when we worked on the Ford/SEMA Technology Transfer Program so aftermarket parts could be installed and used with ease. Steeda parts like cold air intake, suspension, and tuning could be installed properly on Ford vehicles through this program, making it easier than ever to customize vehicles for private ownership. As a result, Steeda was more easily installed and used than ever before in customer vehicles. With this advance in Steeda and Ford’s relationship, we were able to also move some of our racing technology to more mainstream use. In 2000, we were able to finalize a road-use version of our 5-Link suspension from our Fox Body Mustang race cars and changed the Mustang handling world dramatically by doing this.
In 2002, we unveiled our Q400R Mustang which raised the bar on race-prepped Mustangs as well as further improving our road-going vehicles too. We used the performance aspects of the Q400R to help modify our performance parts before listing them for sale which helped us push the fact that our road parts all stem from our racing performance. A year later, the Q400R won at Sebring by over 2 seconds in the IMSA GS class, and a year after that won again in Nashville by half a lap.
Steeda's "Ol' Yeller" show car set a new standard for what performance aftermarket could bring the S197 to.
In 2005, Steeda worked with Ford again at SEMA, debuting the Q400 and Q500 for both visual walkaround and driven showcase. During this, the Q500 was able to show off its full potential, keeping the other cars off to the sidelines. This is when we first debuted "Ol' Yeller" which became a test bed for our upgrades for the S197 platform and was the only running Mustang at SEMA that year. Later that year, we were able to show a heavily modified Q-series Screaming Yellow Mustang in Ford’s booth at the Detroit Auto Show, showing off what we are capable of building to anyone who was eagerly looking forward to the S197 Mustang at its debut. In 2005, we won yet another major race in a Q350 Mustang, leading the entire race by a lap throughout the race. With more and more professional drivers racing in Steeda-equipped vehicles, Steeda brought in 12 pole positions out of 13 races that year in addition to 11 first place wins, one second place finishes, and two 3rd place finishes as well. In this one year, Steeda brought in more wins than some teams have seen in years.
For the next few years before many major upgrades were developed to keep the S197 generation of the Steeda Q-series cars driver focused for the road, Steeda Q-series R-line vehicles continued to win races back to back, including one race where the drivers pulled off a 1-2-3 win in their Steeda Mustangs. Additionally, MotorTrend reviewed a Q355 to compare it to a normal Mustang GT with astonishing results. MotorTrend claimed that “the Steeda Q335 just destroys a stock Mustang” and that it offered tons of lateral grip and supercharged power. When walking about the top of the line Q650, MotorTrend even said the car is "more than the average driver could control but in the hands of a professional it is a seriously incredible car". In 2007, Ford Motor Company even awarded Steeda the Outstanding Acheivement in Design Award at SEMA for all of the hard work and cmpetence in developing our vehicles and did so again in 2009. Between these years, the new facility in Valdosta, GA was opened for delevoling new parts in addition to opening our own track to test performance, handing and interior noise, harshness, and vibration.
Teaming up with Ford again in 2010, Steeda helped showcase the Fiesta in its US debut with a slew of new parts, tuning, and design elements. This was able to help make the Fiesta’s debut a major success for Ford and gave the enthusiast market a new type of performance Ford product to play with outfitted with Steeda parts. The Fiesta ended up one of the most fun subcompact vehicles ever sold, and with handling upgrades and stylistic changes made available by Steeda at its launch, the car was a success for the time it was sold in the US. This special Fiesta also helped to recertify Steeda for ISO: 9001:2008 by the Quality Management System meaning our products meet industry standards as replacements or upgrades.
Steeda's Silver Bullet drag car at the drag strip in Georgia.From then on, Steeda has consistently been winning more and more track victories than nearly any other company. In 2012, racer Ed Hosni won the National SCCA American Sedan Championship driving his Fox Body Mustang with Steeda's 5-link suspension, and further on Steeda won again when driven by Founder and President Dario Orlando and Vice President Glen Vitale and went on to winning the SCCA 2017 Tropical Endurance series. In 2013, Steeda debuted their own version of the Mustang Boss 302 to much acclaim as well. In 2018, Vitale then won the SARRC Championship as well, bringing home yet another win for Steeda. Steeda’s products made a showing in the 2014 movie Need For Speed as well, having seven specially-built Mustangs completely outfitted with Steeda suspension parts to handle the incredibly tough and aggressive driving throughout the movie, as well as making their appearance in Smallville too, pushing the brand into the public eye yet again.
Today, Steeda upgrades can be found on the best and fastest high-power Fords ranging from high-speed road use vehicles to national and international racing teams. Steeda even outfits some police and special service vehicles to help make our law enforcement and responders more capable of performing their jobs safely and successfully. In 2020, Steeda's world record quarter mile drag time with our 2018 Ford Mustang “Silver Bullet” served as a reminder for the world that Steeda and our products are the absolute best way to reliably ensure that your Ford is as capable and as fast as possible by crossing the quarter mile in 9.76 seconds at 141 miles per hour. As Ford vehicles get more powerful, move toward alternate fuels, and even move into completely different markets than ever before, Steeda is working on taking these vehicles and making them truly special with performance increases and appearance upgrades that will keep owners happy with their Steeda equipped vehicle for years. We are proud to show that in addition to this, Steeda is European Code of Compliance certified as of 2021 meaning that we have been recognized again as deveoping parts that are at least to factory standard.
Steeda Specialty Vehicles
One of the early S550-generation Steeda Mustangs in for some track time.
Starting with the Q-series vehicles in the 1990s, we have offered our performance and upgrading services to the public for purchase as serialized vehicles. The Q models cover a wide range of performance-oriented upgraded Mustangs fitted with superchargers, body upgrades, suspension work, and exhaust upgrades to bring these cars to a higher performance level than factory-spec vehicles ever would be capable of meeting. Our supercharged vehicles have made the cover of magazines like MotorTrend, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, and more and each time were received with nothing but praise about their performance. On top of the Q series vehicles, you can find the even more aggressive R vehicles. Cars like the Mustang Q400R and other similar vehicles are our line of full competition-spec racing vehicles. These are bred to completely destroy the competition on the track and to do so while costing thousands less than other competition or cup series vehicles. Our R-series vehicles have won more races since our founding than any other Mustang racing brand ever has, and we take pride in knowing that our cars will outperform just about any vehicle on the track from Camaros to GT4 Porsches.
While we make high-performance Mustangs in our Q-series, we also create seriously unique vehicles for purchase too. If you are looking for a tried and true drag racer for yourself, we offer the Steeda HARDCORE Drag Pack which will turn your vehicle into one of the fastest road-legal Mustangs ever. This is the closest to owning a legitimate drag racer that most people could get close to, with the Q850 HARDCORE running under 10 seconds in the quarter mile with ease.
If serious exclusivity is what you want, we offer the Steve McQueen Mustang Bullitt package which will turn heads wherever you go. With up to 825 horsepower, the Steve McQueen is not for everyone - only those ready to drive like the icon in the movie should release this Mustang. The Steve McQueen edition Bullitt is one of the most subtly modified (on the outside) Bullitt Mustangs you can buy but on the inside it is nothing but performance. The Steve McQueen Bullitt Mustang offers svelte style and performance for a reasonable price over the stock Bullitt and will stand out among enthusiasts. Additionally, we can do these upgrades to the Mustang Mach 1 as well, which will make it stand out more than ever before while improving its handling and cementing it as one of the best performing Mustangs ever.
For on road performance, the Mustang is not our sole offering either. Being created in the late 1980s, we have a major appreciation for the sport truck market. We felt that this was one niche that needed more power done the Steeda way. The end result - a massively powerful return to form for Ford’s trucks that enthusiasts will love.
If off-road use is more your market, we also upgrade the already massively-capable F-150 Raptor into an off-road champion capable of tackling nearly anything thrown at it. With over 500 horsepower on tap, you can be sure that you’ll never have an issue for power or grip. With more vehicles in the pipeline for off-road use, Steeda covers road use, racing, and even off-road to meet your enthusiast needs every step of the way.
Why Buy From Steeda?
Out of everything that you need to know about us, there is one thing to remember: we are enthusiasts. Each of us that works here works to our fullest to ensure Steeda products perform better than anyone else, and that is because we drive these vehicles ourselves too. Steeda is for the Mustang enthusiast who wants greatness, and that’s who we are too. We all eat, sleep, and breathe Ford performance and racing, and are not satisfied with “good enough” when it comes to both our cars and yours. We practice what we preach, pushing our own Mustangs and other Ford vehicles to their limits to ensure parts perform better than everyone else.
We are Mustang-obsessed, with many of us having owned multiple Mustangs (with some owning multiple at the same time). These cars cover every generation from the Fox Body to brand-new 2021 models and are set up for everything from autocross through drag racing and just about everything in between. We love getting to show off the Steeda parts on our vehicles when we race, go to car meets and shows, or just about any time we can.
Steeda Where Speed Matters!