KJ Jones
Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 26, 2011
Photos By: KJ Jones

Isn't it amazing how quickly five years of the S197 Mustang have passed? Seriously, it seems like we were just celebrating the arrival of Ford's restyled, reengineered Pony. Back then we imagined all the possibilities for upgrading the best all-around, late-model 'Stang to date.

For '05-'09 Mustang GTs, cold-air-induction systems and custom calibrations are the undisputed leaders of entry-level bolt-ons. Of course, cold-air kits are designed to enhance engine performance, and that's always a good thing. However, after making more power, addressing your 'Stang's ridiculously high factory stance is tops on the list.

Ford's official word on why Mustangs are given the high stance has been snow-chain clearance (and they're actually serious). Although we begrudgingly understand the concession, the truth is that the factory ride height is stilted. Not only does the stock stance look goofy, it really does hinder a 'Stang's handling potential.

Lowering a Mustang by installing aftermarket springs or coilover shocks certainly isn't a new concept. Suspension pieces designed to bring a 'Stang's body closer to the ground and improve handling have been around since the early days of our hobby.

Fast forward to today. While the factory still builds Mustangs with snow chains in mind, lowered Mustangs (especially '05-'09s) are quite common on the street, and even in the pages of this magazine. Even Ford may finally be seeing the light about lowering as the company now offers an optional package for '11 Mustang GTs that features lowering gear and Brembo brakes.

Pre-'10 owners didn't have that option, so we're installing Eibach's S197 Pro-System Plus (PN 35101.680; $1,074.40 MSRP) on Javi Rivas' '05 GT. The Pro-System Plus is a precisely balanced collection of the company's Pro-Kit springs and Pro-Damper front struts and rear shocks, combined with Eibach's Anti-Roll Kit, which consists of beefier front and rear antiroll bars.

As we start this project, Javi's 'Stang sits at the factory ride height, and rolls on the plain 17-inch wheels and Goodyear tires straight outta Dearborn. By installing the comprehensive Pro-System Plus, the Pony should drop 1.3-1.5 inches or so, front and rear respectively, with improved steering response, less understeer, and practically no bodyroll.

We're not simply stopping at dropping with this exercise. Most lowered Ponies sport wheel-and-tire combinations that play a major role in enhancing their overall presence. The tired running gear on Javi's GT is being replaced with a staggered layout of 18-inch SVE 10th Anniversary Mustang Cobra wheels from Latemodel Restoration Supply, wrapped around General Tire's Exclaim Ultimate High Performance boots, 245/40ZR18 front and 275/40ZR18 rear.

While installing this assemblage of handling and appearance parts is a project that can be accomplished by mechanically adept do-it-yourselfers, we strongly recommend deferring the job to professionals. As such, we headed over to A and A Tires & Wheels in Reseda, California. The shop not only sells these products, but also has the equipment, and more importantly, the experience necessary for properly lowering a Mustang.

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