The Journey South With MustangKyle Continues

A bare metal, fixed-back seat, lack of air conditioning, no heat, windowless, LS-powered Ford Mustang makes for one hell of an adventure and an experience I’ll never forget.

If you read my last story, you’ll already know that earlier this week Kyle Scaife, AKA mustangkyle, and I headed out on a 1,100 kilometer road trip from Toronto in Ontario, Canada to Ocean City, Maryland. The reason: H20i.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

We set off in the late afternoon with our sights set three and a half hours south on Rochester, New York where we planned to stay the night. After loading, buckling up, and ensuring our tetanus shots were up to date, we were US bound.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

As we bounced and jutted along the highway, I noticed the lack of a speedometer, temperature gauge, and most importantly, a fuel gauge. I looked at Kyle and he shrugged – what’s the worse that could happen?

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

At this point, it’s important to note that Kyle is a fabricator by trade and that he built the entire car himself. Given how well it’s been put together, there was absolutely no reason for me to doubt that the Mustang could make the journey.

One of the most memorable experiences was seeing the reactions of other drivers we encountered on the highway. Numerous people raced up next to us with their phones in hand, just trying to get a picture. Can you blame them?

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

This thing doesn’t come close to anything else on the road, especially when it’s creeping up in your rear-view mirror.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Our first leg of the drive featured crossing the border into New York, which is never easy with a highly modified car. Thankfully though, it went off without a hitch.

I put my camera down as we approached the port of entry in an attempt to not draw any more attention and scrutiny from the border agents.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

As we sat in line waiting to head to the booth, two officers approached and both had the same question: “Is this thing street legal?” When Kyle told them it was, they couldn’t believe their eyes. One of the officers was a drag racing fan and loved the idea of the LS, while the other took a few pictures.

We proceeded to the booth where Kyle was asked the same question again, before having to produce the car’s registration and proof of insurance documents. After a few more questions we were welcomed into the United States.

In a waiting bay on the US side of the border, Kyle stopped so we could rearrange some of our gear and stretch our legs. That’s when we were approached by Officer Braun, who was full of questions and excitement.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

After a quick chat and a look at his Lincoln, we were back on the road.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

We pulled through Buffalo and continued south as the sun began to dip and the crisp autumn air started to play its part.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

At this point, it was time to deploy my backup headphone strategy to try and combat the noise of the wind and motor. Kyle was fortunate enough to have noise-canceling earphones, but I wasn’t nearly as lucky. My initial plan was to use my molded under-helmet earphones as they’re extremely comfortable and block out most noise, however, if these didn’t cut it, I would replace them with earplugs and then cover those with my over-ear headphones. The only issue with these grand ideas was that the car was still just too damn loud. I eventually gave up on music and settled for earplugs for the rest of the journey.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

After a quick fuel stop and a beautiful sunset, I found myself snuggling up to the transmission tunnel in search of warmth, and hunkering down in the seat to try and avoid the cold breeze that billowed through the windows.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

We arrived in Rochester a little bit weary and with plans for bed, but that’s not what our host Nick Youst had in mind. Nick’s father owned a bar and restaurant right on the water, and boy were we in for a treat.

We ambled down towards the water and pulled up out front the Whiskey River. This is where our taste of New York’s car culture began.

As I mentioned earlier, driving this car anywhere draws attention, but it’s even better to find yourself breaking your neck at something parked out front.

After taking a peek around the ’67 GTO and to listening to stories about it being able to lift its front wheels at 40mph, Nick informed us that there was a local car meet happening in a parking lot just down the street.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Of course we were really excited to check it out. Bed could wait.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters
Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Pulling up, it was clear to see that car culture is alive and well in Rochester. There was everything from Dodge Neons to a triple-rotor Toyota Corolla drag car.

After a tour of the meet, Kyle and I had worked up an appetite, so we headed back to Whiskey River for some food.

After plowing through some of the best wings I’d ever had then cleaning out of the taco bar, we were pooped and ready for bed. But that’s not where the night ended.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Nick’s friend Josh, who also happens to own an 8-second Fox Body Mustang drag car, was eager to show off his shifter kart.

We stopped off at the local Walmart to see what the kart was capable of, and boy could Josh drive. One thing led to another and before we knew it he was bombing down the road at unmentionable speeds. Of course, the inevitable happened…

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Long story short, Josh was pulled over by Johnny Law, his kart was impounded, and he received 11 tickets for his shenanigans, including those for no windshield, improper tires, and a lack of brake lights.

Although I can’t condone some of the night’s activities, it was a great evening exploring car culture with a great group of people. Hopefully Josh gets his kart back soon.

After a brief few hours of sleep, we said our farewells, clambered back into the Mustang’s cold seats and hit the road – but only after one last stop at Tim Hortons for some coffee.

While Kyle had opened up a piece of the transmission tunnel to provide some cabin heat, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep us warm through the foggy morning air.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

We stopped for a precautionary fuel stop and for Kyle to improve the heating. Up until this point the original cowl panel vents were open and providing the cold outside air with a direct path into the cabin. Knowing that this could be an issue, Kyle had made up some cover plates.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

With those installed we were back on the road, but not before some locals had their questions answered.

I’ll say something about New York: on top of stunning views people don’t seem to camp out in the left lane and are eager to move over as possible. Bravo New York, bravo.

Passing construction zone after construction zone, and toll booth after toll booth, the kilometers just kept piling on. Kyle’s heating system worked like a charm, too.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters-9995

We came across the Lehigh Tunnel on the Philadelphia Turnpike which had us grinning from ear to ear like little kids. I don’t think others around us were quite so impressed, though.

We thundered on and stopped again for fuel on the outskirts of Philly. Ten hours down, three more to go. As usual, the locals struck up a conversation, and after a few pictures and a pleasant conversation we were off.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

Things were going well, too well. And then it happened: rain.

The fenders sent most of the water out and away from the open windows, but the rear tires picked up any of the remaining water and hurled into the cabin, slowly getting us wet.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

The long night before had caught up with me and I took a brief 20-minute nap as we rumbled down the road, proof that you don’t need creature comforts to make good use of a road trip. When I awoke we were just over an hour outside of Ocean City, and it was still raining to the point that the doors/drink holders had become coolers.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

As we arrived, we were reminded by numerous boards of the special event laws and speed limit changes that were in effect for the coming week, but I’ll touch on that more in another post.

Keiron Berndt - Mustang Kyle - h2oi 2018 Road Trip - Speedhunters

I’m happy to have made it Ocean City safely and without any issues. But more importantly, we had come 1,100 kilometers without any tickets or personal run ins with the police. But that would soon to change…

My spine felt like it had been compressed a couple inches, I was now LS tone deaf, my fillings had rattled loose, my clothes were decently wet and I had dirt in my mouth, but I was happy.

While the ride was anything but smooth and calm, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt

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23 comments

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1

So cool, thanks for sharing!

2
Daniel P Huneault

no speedo? I can see johnny law having a field day with this car

3

I've followed this build for over a year. Kylie is one of the most gifted fabricators today. I'm such a fan of the monster he's made.

4

Where is the build posted? That’s what I want to see.

Author5

Stay tuned for the full feature.

6

how many passenger seat photos can you toss into one feature? over 20? photos are good but damn get more creative

7
Matthew Everingham

In his defense, he's spent nearly every waking hour in that seat, where do you think he's going to shoot from if he's trying to document the whole experience?
Maybe some different focal lengths would help out but still...

8

What's wrong with using seat pads? I custom made some for a car I had with Kirkey aluminum seats, better than freezing or burning yourself on the bare metal.

9

"After a quick chat and a look at his Lincoln..." - I'm hoping Lincoln isn't a euphemism.

Author10

LMAO.

11
Matthew Everingham

I nearly spat my coffee out!

12

I'm not sure why you needed all those redbulls and coffee. It seems like a bit of a waste of money in a car with no windows, heating and/or metal seats. But well done, I'm now only at slightly jealous that I don't work for speedhunters.

Author13

When he picked me up I was on less than an hour of sleep and then remained awake for another 34 hours after that... RedBull was certainly in order.

14

Cool story, but when are we going get a decent set of views of the car itself. I'm still not really sure what it looks like.

15

What kind of moron pulls over for a cop when he's driving a shifter kart?

16

Was that '67 Nova the '67 GTO??

17

I think that's what he meant. Pretty sure it's a 66 Nova though.

18
Pádraig MacCraith

For non-Americans, can you explain the differences?

19

one of the best blog posts on here in a long while need more posts like this of crazy stories and road trips not just the car show cases

20

@Keiron ahhh man still jealous about this the rains must have sucked though....chuckled at the go cart but was also abit stupid anyways i agree that all just makes the trip more memorable.

21

Good story, but endless pictures of the interior and long, straight highway were unnecessary.

22

Some few points out of your text
speedometer: a basic driver's knowledge to others cursing speed and your relative speed to surroundings
temperature gauge: if no fire/steam from radiator than you're fine
fuel gauge: make more fuel station check-ins
officers seeing this thing coming through wont notice the camera but sure it's nice to play it safe (i think no photos are allowed for the officers and check points)
sure none seeing you in the rear visor will stay in the left lane
TUNNELS.... no comment :D
no doubts you'll do it again, we (the car people) are stupid enough to consider creature comfort is an unnecessary detail

23

You were in my backyard and I didn't know. Reminds me of when the Grand Tour drove past my Thruway entrance and I was at work.

You'll see more of the Rochester car scene on Netflix soon enough.

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