Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsFeatured Vehicles
2002 Ford Saleen Mustang - Building Speed
Piece By Piece, This Turbocharged Saleen Became One Mean Machine.
How do you make a speedy car speedier? Well, aside from asking Big Enos Burdette for more money, you call two companies that have reputations for building the fastest cars around. Modular Powerhouse in Marietta, Georgia, and Pro Line Race Engines in Woodstock, Georgia, are known for building fast cars and fast engines. Put the two together and you get what we have here-a blistering fast Mustang (to which your author can personally attest) with good street manners.
The Pony in question was originally sold through Team Ford of Marietta as number 56 of the '02 Saleen Mustangs. The fact that Saleen laid the foundation for this rocket sets the bar pretty high for improvement, but that didn't stop Powder Springs, Georgia, resident J.J. Frederick from looking for more performance from the convertible's loud pedal.
"I've had six other Mustangs, and they've all been a work in progress," J.J. says. "This time I wanted something that was a sleeper and that didn't need to be tuned or repaired all of the time-and I succeeded." We'd definitely say so as the convertible Saleen is a horse of a different hoof.
Steve Petty, tuner, engine builder, and teammate on the fastest Outlaw 10.5 Mustang on the planet, assembled the powerplant for this filly, starting with a Mach 1 aluminum block. The crankshaft came from the '03-'04 Cobra parts stash, but it swings Eagle H-beam connecting rods and CP forged pistons. From there, the Modular Powerhouse team took over, bolting on a set of its Stage 3-ported Two-Valve cylinder heads that feature Comp Cams valvesprings and a pair of custom turbo cams that Comp whittled up.
No stock, plastic-fantastic intake manifold would do, so the crew threw on Reichard Racing's Gen II aluminum intake manifold and an Accufab oval throttle body. With the generous lack of torque that the modular engines are known for, a power adder was necessary, and as astute readers may have picked up on, a turbocharger was the wise choice.
The turbocharging system is a custom-built setup that utilizes a Precision Turbo T-76 Q-Trim unit, an air-to-air intercooler, and a Tial 35mm wastegate, along with a 3.5-inch Pro-M Univer mass air meter. With a Snow Performance water/methanol injection system cooling the 15 psi of boost, and pump gas flowing through the 55-lb/hr injectors, this Pony's powerplant has produced an easy 540 rwhp. A dual fuel pump and fuel tank setup, also from the Terminator parts bin, and a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Spark provide the needed petrol and voltage. A pair of DynoMax 3-inch Ultraflow mufflers keep the turbocharger exhaust note to a minimum for the neighbors.
Behind the potent modular mill is a built 4R70W four-speed automatic transmission that has been stuffed with a Performance Automatic manual valvebody and transbrake. A Precision Industries 3,000-rpm stall converter helps transmit the torque back to the 8.8 rear axle. That, of course, hasn't been untouched, as an Eaton differential replaced the Traction-Lok unit, and Superior 31-spline axles twist the rear tires.
With S7-like power on tap and a chassis that is a Mustang and not an S7, there was a need to rework the components so that J.J. could make good use of the mountains of torque. That being said, the Saleen components were shelved for a D&D Motorsports tubular K-member and coilover conversion up front. Out back, a quartet of Metco aluminum control arms and QA1 adjustable shocks suspend the rear. The chassis was also fortified with a 10-point rollcage from Cajun Pro Cars in Douglasville, Georgia, and subframe connectors were cut in and welded to the floorboards for optimum rigidity.
Additional mods come in the form of a Cervini's Cobra R fiberglass hood, which was color matched by Hoodlum Paint and Body in Canton, Georgia. J.J. credits Aric Carrion at Injected Engineering in Atlanta for tidying up things on the red rocket, and wants to thank the Shawny Party Pack and K-Dawg for their help as well.
A homebuilder by trade, J.J. knows what it's like to see a project through to the end. This one just moved along a little faster than normal, but there's another one in the works-an S197, probably a convertible, and most definitely a turbocharged terror.