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S197 Mustang Rollbar - Maximum Security
An Exclusive First-Look At Maximum Motorsports' Bolt-In Rollbar For S197 'Stangs
Horse Sense: The whole rollbar/rollcage dilemma has long been a major challenge for enthusiasts who own stout, street-driven 'Stangs and like to race their Ponies at the drags or in other racing or performance-driving events. As safety advocates, we endorse installing a six-point bar or multi-point, jungle-gym-esque rollcage in any Mustang whenever it's required for competition by a track, event, or sanctioning body. The NMRA follows the guidelines laid out by the National Hot Rod Association for such safety equipment, so consulting the NHRA's website or its rulebook for details on the rollbar/rollcage e.t. and mph limits (for hardtop and convertible 'Stangs) is a good idea.
Our monthly coverage of the latest, coolest, and most innovative Mustang technology definitely is one of our favorite subjects. That's fortunate because the Mustang hobby has been on fire for the last 20 years thanks to an aftermarket that continues to create killer appearance and performance products for 'Stangs of all years (from '86 to present) and configurations.
We realize that it's critical for us to be on our game each month to make sure we give you the scoop on hot new products. The latest is Maximum Motorsports' new bolt-in, six-point rollbar for '05-to-present Mustangs. That's right-a true-fitting, NHRA- and SCCA-accepted system of tubes designed specifically for S197 Ponies joins Maximum's arsenal. Thanks to Andy Blackmon of Aggressive Motorsports, we had a chance to see it first when we visited his Sterling, Virginia, 'Stang shop last summer.
While the newest Mustangs are built on a much sturdier chassis than any of the models before it, installing a rollbar or full rollcage adds a lot more structural integrity to 'Stangs built on the current platform. A rigid chassis is important-from a handling standpoint, and more importantly, from a safety standpoint-when a Pony packing big power under its hood is used in drag- or road-race competition.
We caught up with Andy and do-it-all 'Stang tech Sean Johnston as the duo was in the process of installing a prototype of Maximum Motorsports' S197 rollbar in Chris Matters' '06 Saleen Mustang GT. You may remember Chris' Speedlab-modified Pony, as it was used for our drag-test report on TRZ Motorsports' rear antiroll bar.
Chris has been competing in the NMRA's Super 'Stang class (the sanction's newest open-comp-style category for S197s only), and he's been forced to pull hard on the reins of his supercharged steed to keep it from running at its full, high-10-second potential. The reason for his unfortunate speed limiting is that the quick 'Stang doesn't have a rollbar. Per NHRA's rules, it's now running quick enough to necessitate one. (A minimum six-point rollbar is required for drag cars running 11.49 to 10.00 e.t.'s.)
Despite the rollbar being only a prototype piece, we were hot to check it out since it's the first aftermarket offering of its kind for the newer Mustangs. The all-inclusive kit features 1 3/4-inch-diameter, seamless DOM tubing (0.034-inch wall thickness) with 6x6-inch, 1/8-inch-thick mounting and support plates and Grade 8 fasteners. Installation requires only a small assortment of hand or air tools (ratchet/standard sockets, standard wrenches, drill and 3/8-inch bit, and 1 3/4-inch hole saw), and two people can install the complete assembly in one day.
Maximum Motorsports had not yet developed a part number or price for its newest offering by the time we reached our deadline for this report. However, company owner Chuck Schwynoch tells us Maximum's '05-'09 Mustang rollbar systems (coupe and convertible) should be in production and readily available by the time you read this.