Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy of Keplinger Designs
In between working on customer projects like a Coyote-swapped ’70 Mustang Mach I and a Whipple-supercharged GT350 that’s pushing well over four-digit horsepower, the team at Attitude Street Cars in Marietta, Georgia, has been working on a little something of their own… an ’02 Saleen Mustang destined for NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street duty.
Led by owner Brandon Conner, the Attitude Street Cars crew decided to overhaul the blue beast after having tinkered with it for the better part of the past five years. “We’ve had a twin turbo Pro Line 5.4-liter engine in it that made about 1,100-horsepower,” said Conner of the street car that had originally been geared towards Ultimate Street Car-type competition.
Eventually, he pulled the motor and decided to bump up the compression to make 1,400 horsepower, but machine shop delays and other project priorities kept the Saleen on the back burner. In the interim, Conner campaigned his twin turbo ’14 Mustang in True Street-type events. “We would pick and choose events, but it was too heavy to do what I wanted to do,” he added, noting that he plans to retire the S197.
Instead, Conner turned his focus back on the blue ’02 and build it into an NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street car. A full Team Z front and rear suspension including both upper and lower control arms, anti-roll bar, instant center kit, and torque boxes, as well as a built 35-spline rear end are already on board and put Conner ahead of the game.
“Basically, it was a streetable car but we pulled everything off and wound up gutting it to get it into race trim as much as possible,” shared Conner, who wanted something more purpose-built.
Attitude Street Cars is also a sponsor of NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Mod Muscle superstar Gary “Hollywood” Parker, and Conner purchased Parker’s old Mod Muscle engine from the 2019 season. “Right now, it’s got a single turbo Coyote and Ford 6R80 automatic transmission built by Brett LaSala with a Circle D converter in it,” Conner explained of the custom turbo kit that was built in-house at ASC. Although the car’s a little heavier than he would like, he is confident it’ll still be class-legal for weight and has also gone ahead by purchasing a new, class-legal 76mm turbo for it as well.
On the dyno, the Saleen made about 900-wheel horsepower and Conner knows what won’t be nearly enough, so he plans to do some research and development over the winter to find what he can while also adding an upgraded intercooler setup for increased flow. Additionally, some chassis work and a roll cage install will be completed by David Reese at Reese Brothers Race Cars.
“It’s a fairly straightforward build, but we wanted to get the job done with nothing more and nothing less,” concluded Conner. “We wanted to solve the problem of how to build a Limited Street car in the simplest way possible.”
Assuming the Covid-19 pandemic calms down enough so that racing can get back to normal in 2021, Conner plans to have his new Attitude Street Cars-built ’02 Saleen Mustang out at every NMRA race so he can try his hand at NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street while also continuing to offer performance and tuning services to his Coyote-centric clientele.