Frank H. Cicerale
October 1, 2008
Photos By: Peter S. Linney
For Jesse Marquez and his '02 Saleen Extreme Mustang, it was love at first sight.

For the sound-system mods, Jesse enlisted the help of Ernesto Onate, proprietor of Sound Innovations in Hayward. Ernesto created a sound system centered around a Pioneer AVIC-Z2 head unit that features a 7-inch touch screen. According to Jesse, the only thing this head unit doesn't do is drive the car for him, though that aspect is helped out thanks to the Directed Video overhead 12-inch screen linked to a back-up camera. The head unit powers the sound through three JL Audio W3 subs, a 100-watt JL Audio amp (along with another 350-watt by four-channel amp), and MB Quart speakers. The subs are housed in a custom fiberglass box painted to match the car (more on that later). Adding even more flash to the interior is the custom Saleen trunk-lid panel, the custom painted door inserts and center dashpanel, UPR billet pieces, a Momo Pit Stop Airmetal emergency brake handle, and a Momo Evo Airmetal shift knob located on top of the MGW shifter.

With the interior of the car modified to his liking, Jesse couldn't leave the exterior in plain-Jane (for a Saleen, anyway) fashion. He ripped on over to the Garage Body Shop, where Joe Marquez (Jesse's uncle) went to work. A Vertical Doors lambo door kit was fabbed up, ensuring they'd reach to the sky each time they were opened. The Saleen Extreme hood was kept, along with the rest of the attending bodywork. A Mach 1 grille-delete kit eliminated the stock front grille, and a pair of tinted HID dual-beam headlights provides the proper illumination when the sun goes down.

The sinister look of the Mustang comes in the form of the awesome two-tone paint applied by Uncle Joe. Up top, PPG Storm Gray metallic can be found, while underneath the red pinstripe lies PPG black. "I always loved the look of a clean, black car, and gray is one of my favorite colors, so I decided to put them together," Jesse says. "When I saw the final look, I was in love with it." Throw on some clearcoat and a pair of tinted taillights, and this Mustang looks like it's ready to strike. Finishing the visual aspect of the Pony is the smoking rolling stock, which revolves around Foose Nitrous rims, size 20x8.5 up front and 22x12 out back. Michelin Pilot PS2 shoes are found on all four points.

Jesse then moved on to the performance part of the car. He wanted to throw a bunch of power to the Mustang, but after investing all of his time and effort into making it look good, he figured he'd attend to the underpinnings before the powerplant. After all, he didn't want to have an ill-handling car and take the chance of wadding it up. The front end features MacPherson struts, variable rate coil springs, urethane bushings, and a 13/8-inch sway bar. The hind end of this Pony showcases the stock 8.8-inch rear suspended by a set of Saleen upper and boxed lower control arms, variable-rate springs, Saleen-specific bushings, and Saleen Racecraft shocks. Maximum Motorsports XL-series full-length subframe connectors tie both ends of the car together, while caster/camber plates of the same manufacturer allow Jesse to set up the front end the way he likes it. Hauling this Pony down from speed are Baer 14-inch slotted and cross-drilled rotors up front, 11-inch rotors of the same design out back, and a set of Alcon four-piston calipers that clamp everything down.