5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1997 Twin-Turbo Saleen Mustang
Is this the baddest daily driven Mustang on the planet?
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This Pro Touring/Pro Millennium business continues to grow with fervor. Summit Racing took the Pro Touring moniker a step further into new territory. Summit coined the term Pro Millennium by adding a big-cubic-inch engine, a power adder, electronic fuel injection, the biggest treads this side of the Mississippi, and wrapping it up in a late-model bodystyle.
We're not quite sure what displacement qualifies for Pro Millenium. Must it have a big-block engine in it like Summit's Pro Millennium '95 Mustang convertible ("Pro Millenium," July '99, page 65), or could it be a big-inch Windsor? After all, in the late-model Mustang world, a 351 Windsor is considered a big-cubic-inch engine. Whether or not the Mustang shown here fits into any kind of automotive category, you know this thing rocks with a capital R!
With a Turbo Driven Concepts Stage III twin-turbo kit helping to produce well more than 1,000 hp at the flywheel, who needs a big-block anyway! If this car had a big-block in it, there probably wouldn't be any room for the twins in the first place. Turbo Driven Concepts, in Hialeah, Florida, built the car with Scott Sussman overseeing and getting his own hands dirty during the reconstruction of the genuine '97 Saleen S281 Speedster. You can tell by the engine shots the original 4.6 is nowhere to be found, which may make Saleen purists throw up a flag. But who cares about originality at this stage of the game?
Starting with a Ford Racing Performance Parts 351 Windsor block, TDC commissioned United Racing in the machining and construction of the short-block using a Sonny Bryant billet crank to destroke the engine to 349 cubes. JE pistons, Oliver billet rods, and Sealed Power rings round out the rotating assembly. A Melling oil pump hides deep within the confines of a 7-quart Canton oil pan. Movin' on up, we find a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller cam ground to TDC's top-secret specs and keeping in time via a Cloyes roller timing chain. Canfield aluminum heads ported by Champion Cylinder Heads feature Manley 2.02/1.60 valves along with Comp Cams valve springs and Crane roller rockers, chrome-moly pushrods, and roller lifters. TDC built the intake and threw in an ACCEL DFI system and 83 lb/hr injectors for good measure, all being fed by a Weldon fuel pump.
Those components in and of themselves would be plenty for most, but, as you know, the story doesn't end here. Wanting to have enough horsepower to make it to the other side of the earth in 20 minutes, TDC installed its Stage III twin-turbo kit. The kit is good for 1,300 hp at 35 pounds of boost, but is strong enough to pump out 45 psi, should you have a Formula 1-caliber powerplant. In this application, the twin-turbo'd Windsor makes 1,030 hp with 22 pounds of boost, with 1,250 being available at just the turn of the knob. Providing the rumble is TDC's own Stage III headers and H-pipe combined with 3-inch Flowmasters. MSD ignition components make sure the candles are lit at all times.
The poor sap responsible for transferring this power rearward is a D&D Performance-sourced T56 six-speed (originally intended for a Dodge Viper) fronted by a custom, dual-Kevlar clutch made by McCleod, and topped off by a Pro-5.0 shifter. A custom Dynotech aluminum driveshaft then carries the power back to a stock 3.27-geared 8.8 rear fitted with an Auburn and Moser 31-spline axles.
With the speed this car is capable of, the suspension becomes all the more important. Since it is a genuine Saleen, the suspension was already able to handle a good chunk of horsepower. However, it still received a healthy dose of improvements. Beginning with the front, Griggs Racing coilovers found a new home, while Saleen shocks remain out back. Kenny Brown subframe connectors were put to work to stiffen up the chassis, while a Griggs Panhard bar and torque-arm setup works with Kenny Brown adjustable upper control arms and Ground Pounder Weight Jacker lowers. Thankfully, Baer Racing brakes were summoned to bring things to a halt with the least amount of entertainment. Surrounding the Baers are 18-inch Speedlines wrapped with Pirelli treads doing their best to get some semblance of traction when the happy pedal is pressed into action.
The original Recaro seats remain with five-point Simpson harnesses to keep cockpit passengers strapped in while experiencing rapid acceleration and deceleration. Auto Meter gauges keep tabs on the workings under the hood, while the factory Saleen light bar remains to add that extra custom touch. A rollbar or cage would be a fabulous idea with such a brutally fast convertible, but the owner wanted the car to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
You can throw inconspicuous out the window with just one look at the hood on this mug. Obviously, there's no way this twin-turbo kit would fit under a stock hood. A custom hood was made by Frank Araujo of Colorin Auto Tech, then an S351 wing was added to the mix to create just the right combination of beauty and beast. Other than the new paint on those two items, the original paint still remains.
Big thanks go out to Job Spetter Jr. and Sr., who helped with the tuning, Don Walsh from D&D Performance, and Mom.
You may be asking "Who's car is this?" Valid question. It's owned by 23-year-old Hamed Moonsori (Sound it out, Beavis). Hamed is originally from Saudi Arabia, and he is here in the States getting an education. After his two-year stint (How come it took us five years?) he will be returning to his homeland. He currently lives in Spokane, Washington. And by the way, if you live in the Spokane area and happen to pull up next to a Saleen (Hamed plans on driving the car every day) with a funky-looking hood, trust us, don't even think about it---you won';t get the answer you're looking for.
Horse Sense: This TDC-equipped Saleen Mustang has been clocked at 190 mph, and that was in Fifth gear. In just Third gear, the car is capable of 140 mph.