A local car club for owners of the iconic Ford Mustang in all its varied incarnations since its introduction to the American public more than 50 years ago is rapidly growing in numbers thanks in no small part to the power of social media.
The club was created by four area friends who just so happened to have each purchased a Mustang around the same time early last year. As they sat around and talked about their new interest one night, someone suggested they start a club. That’s when the Stang Society was born.
Those four friends were Justin Whapham and Derrick Rice, both of Kernersville, Nick Ring, of High Point, and Brandon White, of Delaware. Today, their club boasts thousands of followers on Instagram and weekly local meet ups can bring out dozens of other Mustang owners just as enthusiastic as they are about the famed pony car.
“We were just hanging out and someone said, ‘Let’s start a car club.’ Someone else said, ‘Let’s do it but if we do, make it big,’” recalled Whapham as he talked about what is becoming a growing group of Mustang lovers.
In order to promote their club, the four friends took to the Internet, using the photo sharing site Instagram to showcase photos of their cars. It didn’t take long for the club’s page to go from its four founders to soon over 6,000 followers. Today, the group offers regular contests, traveled to Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach this past July and held a meet up in Charlotte where about 70 cars and their owners attended.
“We just posted photos of our cars and this came from just a bunch of friends to people starting to like our stuff. Now we have over 6,000 who are asking us, ‘Hey, can you hold a meet,’” said Whapham. “It has spring boarded from a local car club in Kernersville to people all over knowing about us. We’ve linked up with a lot of good great people and we’re growing each day. At our first meet, we had four cars in the Bojangles’ parking lot and then fast forward to 70 cars in August in Charlotte. It’s so cool.”
As the Stang Society continues to gather steam and become more widely known, Whapham said he and his fellow co-founders would like to participate in charitable events and support causes that give something back to the community.
“We want to give back,” said Whapham.
Whapham said seeing the club grow each week over the last year has been fun to watch and he, Ring, Rice and White have had an amazing opportunity to meet a lot of really interesting people. It’s even opened doors for them in ways they didn’t think possible.
“We’ve met so many cool, really neat people, and it shows how powerful Instagram is, especially when it comes to car culture,” he said, noting that americanmuscle.com, Mustang parts catalog, has over 100,000 followers on its Instagram account.
Whapham has always been interested in photography and videography. Through the car club, he has been able to shoot some amazing photographs and video footage of the Ford Mustang and the enthusiasts who love it. He hopes one day to be involved with photography and videography through NASCAR, and Ring’s interest in media has only been reinforced through his marketing work with the Stang Society.
Anyone who owns a Mustang can be a member of the Stang Society, said Whapham. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Mustang that needs a complete overhaul, one that is used as an everyday vehicle or a Mustang in the most pristine of conditions that it is only taken out of the garage on special occasions.
“We love every Mustang. We’ve seen them all. They don’t have to be showroom quality to be a part of the club,” said Whapham.
Whapham said he and his friends hope to see their club gain a national following. That’s not too far-fetched a goal considering that the Stang Society is already reaching the masses on a regional level in the Southeast. He said they’ve even talked about someday holding a North Carolina car rally that stretches from Kernersville to Texas, where hundreds of Mustangs travel in a chain to their rally location.
“We’ve found our passion. We’d love to see it grow on a national scale. We want to do good with it. We want to show people that we’re a positive influence,” Whapham.
Since the onset of winter and colder outdoor temperatures, the club hasn’t held any meet ups regularly, but did get together on New Year’s Day for a photo shoot on Hwy. 66. The event turned into something of a cruise out, with members getting in their cars and driving from Sheetz to Bunker Hill United Methodist Church a little further south.
“It morphed into a cruise in, cruise out,” laughed Whapham.
He said as the weather improves in spring and summer, the club will become more active.
Those interested in learning more about the Stang Society can find the club’s Instagram page by searching Stangsociety, all one word on the site.