"It goes against everything I bought the car for," explains Lee Yager of Swedesboro, New Jersey, as he describes his '06 Mustang GT convertible. Even though Lee's S197 is pretty slick in just about every way, it's a testament to how a project can rapidly spin out of control and quickly turn into something incredible that was never meant to be. Don't get me wrong-there's nothing wrong with a custom painted convertible Mustang with supercharged power, but according to Lee, he never wanted it to be a project.
"Growing up, I was always into Fords," Lee tells us. "My first car was a '63 Falcon Sprint, but I also had a '65 four-speed Mustang coupe and a '71 Mustang. Eventually I went over to the dark side and ended up with a convertible RS/SS '69 Camaro clone. The car is great but not very driveable, and I wanted something I could just get in and drive. The retro-styled S197 was perfect." After looking for a Sonic Blue '05, Lee ordered an '06 GT and came away with this Vista Blue convertible.
As with most projects, it only took one or two things to send it spinning out of control. Lee's road to modifications had a fiery start. "Not long after I got the car, a friend of mine was starting a custom paint business," Lee tells us. "I sort of became the test mule."
The crew at Killer Kreations in Philadelphia laid down a hot custom paint job, and when it rolled out of the spray booth, the PPG Light Blue Pearl flames set this convertible apart from the rest of the drop-tops running around South Jersey. Once the nose and sides of Lee's GT were wrapped in custom flames, the stock wheels just looked out of place. Soon the stock hoops were swapped for a set of polished Foose Nitrous wheels, which measure 18x9 up front with an 18x10 deep-dish version in the rear, and Lee's S197 gets traction from a set of BFGoodrich G-Force KDWs that sit in all four corners. Behind the rolling stock, Lee added a set of Baer slotted and cross-drilled rotors front and back, which look great behind the Foose wheels.
With the car now looking the part, Lee was looking for a little more power. "Once the flames were done and the wheels were added, 4.10 rearend gears and a cold-air intake followed closely behind," Lee tells us. "But I wanted more."
While posting on some of the Mustang forums, Lee met Jim D'Amore III of JDM Engineering (Freehold, New Jersey). After a few conversations, Lee decided a supercharger would be the next performance upgrade. JDM went to work and installed a Saleen twin-screw supercharger, along with dual GT500 fuel pumps, a 90mm Lightning mass air meter, C&L Racer intake, Kooks long-tube headers, and an X-style mid-pipe with high-flow cats. The exhaust was topped off with a set of Borla Stinger mufflers to give this topless Pony an aggressive sound to complement its looks.
To finish the job, JDM went to work tuning the engine, which pumps out a street-friendly 10 psi of boost. Timing and fuel pressure was set using SCT custom tuning software, and Lee's S197 spun the rollers on JDM's Dynojet to a healthy 482 rwhp and 468 lb-ft of torque.
With his power needs now addressed, Lee added to the aesthetics of his flamed S197. A Classic Design Concepts (CDC) front spoiler adds to the aggressive look of the S197. Saleen side skirts tie together the profile of the car with the CDC rear spoiler and SSE rear valance, which finish off the rear of the car. All of the new body pieces have been coated in the original Vista Blue hue.
The finished product is a unique Mustang that has no problem backing up its powerful looks. It would also have no issues holding its own on the dragstrip, however, lack of safety equipment has kept Lee from racing his fiery drop-top.
"I have won about 30 trophies in various local and national car shows," Lee adds. "I've taken two First Place trophies at the Carlisle All Ford Nationals, an Editor's Choice and a Second Place at Fords at E-Town, and I was the '07 Texaco Car of the Decades winner."
"At a car show it's all about nice cars, nice people, and good times!" Lee elaborates. "I'm glad I'm a part of it, although I think I'd like to try my hand at something a little more competitive. I can't race the car without a rollcage, but it pulls like a freight train, in a straight line, and it handles well considering the suspension is stock. My next project is to install a set of coilovers and a Watt's link."
Lee's convertible S197 offers a great blend of performance and looks. Any time you can get in a 500hp Mustang and drive across the country, it's an amazing car. It may not have been in the plans, but Lee's S197 quickly spiraled into to one killer kreation!