For some people, cars are just a mode of transportation, a way to get from point A to point B. For others, cars can be a symbol of freedom to go anywhere at any time, an outlet for adrenaline-filled speed, or a source of memories with family and friends. For Steve Craig, his Mustang represents even more than that. It saved his life.
Steve's connection with Mustangs started at a young age. His grandfather flew P-51 Mustangs during WWII, and he grew up fascinated by both their airplanes and the cars that were named in their honor. "I have always felt that Ford Mustangs embodied the American spirit and the freedoms that my grandfather fought so tenaciously to preserve," Steve tells us. Unfortunately his grand-father passed away in 1984 when he was 14, but Steve's spirits were lifted soon afterward. "I saw an introductory ad for the Saleen Mustang. I swore that I would be able to afford one and that I would become a Saleen owner."
It was more than 20 years before Steve's promise to himself would become a reality. In the meantime, he followed his grandfather's footsteps and entered the military, serving in Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005.
The factory sound system has...
The factory sound system has been replaced with a Kenwood PMA4150 head unit with DVD, NAV, USB, and iPod.
"Transitioning from combat service to daily life was especially difficult for me," Steve admits. "I needed an outlet for the PTSD symptoms I was experiencing." He decided to fulfill his childhood dream and purchased a Saleen Mustang in January 2007.
At first, Steve had no intention of modifying his Mustang, but he was "infected by the bug," as he says, just a few months after attending the Fabulous Fords Forever show in Southern California in 2007. "I was amazed by how different and personalized each of the Mustangs was," he remembers.
He began researching the different modifications and parts available, and gave a call to Jason Cenora of 281 Motorsports in Anaheim, California, for some help. Jason worked closely with Steve to figure out what he wanted to do with his Mustang and plan the build.
A short-throw shifter from...
A short-throw shifter from Ford Racing makes changing all six gears from the Tremec TR6060 a breeze.
Since Steve already loved the look of his Mustang, he didn't feel the need to change much of the exterior. He replaced the Saleen hood with a Techco butterfly-induction fiberglass unit, and added the carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser from Saleen's S302 Extreme Mustang.
With the upgraded Saleen suspension system in the car, Steve left that alone for the most part as well, adding just a Techco Watt's-link system, BMR tubular K-member, Progress Technology control arms, SSBC brakes front and rear, and black powdercoated Saleen five-spoke wheels wrapped with BFGoodrich KDW II tires.
The interior received just minor modifications, as well. Auto Meter Cobalt gauges on the dash and A-pillar keep tabs on the engine, and a Kenwood DDX8019 head unit, with DVD and NAV, controls the upgraded sound system, consisting of Alphasonik amplifiers and 800 Series 10-inch subwoofers.
The interior is mostly stock...
The interior is mostly stock from Saleen, but the extra gauges give away that there is more to this Mustang under the hood. The leather seats that originally came from Saleen are still in the car.
Even though his Saleen Mustang was already supercharged, Steve wanted more horsepower-much more horsepower! He figured it would be easiest to achieve that by running more boost, but knew he was going to have to make some big upgrades to the Three-Valve V-8 first. He turned to Voss Performance of Fullerton, California, to handle the build.
In went a Kellogg forged-steel crankshaft, Manley H-beam rods, and custom-forged CP pistons. To help handle the extra amounts of air coming into the cylinders, Voss also installed a set of Livernois Comp XFI Stage 2 camshafts; larger intake and exhaust valves; Livernois Stage 2 CNC ported and polished heads; Ford Racing dual 62mm throttle body; and a Techco cold-air kit with a 100mm mass air. Techco also ported the Saleen Series VI supercharger to allow for the absolute maximum amount of boost.