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Players Special Saleen Mustang GT

There’s nothing we love better than an enthusiast who throws all caution to the wind and just builds something they’d love. No care of what people are going to think, a car that’s truly just for themselves. It is “driving” after all, that we’re all about here at Driving Line. It’s exactly what Jay Hughes did with his 2007 S281 Mustang GT. Finding it at a price he couldn’t resist, it seemed like the perfect platform to build a weekend warrior track car to enjoy. “Probably the thing that most attracted me to the S197 Mustang was the obvious retro look paying homage to the late 60's cars, but at the same time, having a stable platform to build from,” says Hughes. “I've learned through the years is to pick projects that have a ton of parts availability, way easier and cheaper to buy it off the shelf rather than designing and making it yourself.” Smart man… more aftermarket support equals a faster, cheaper build with more time left for driving, racing and having fun.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT

Hear what Hughes has to say about this Mustang build and some of his favorite automotive pastimes:

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT

Why the “John Player Special” livery?

My first contact with the John Player Special livery came in the early ‘70s when I raced Norton motorcycles and they were the sponsor of the factory Grand Prix team. Then later, watching the iconic Lotus Formula 1 team at the Glen seemed to etch those colors into my brain. It doesn't help that I still have all the vinyl graphics equipment from our old race team and get to play with it in my home office.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT

Favorite track to drive?

My Favorite track by far is Watkins Glen—which I've always considered my home track. I was lucky enough to put together one good lap there and held the track record there for 5 or 6 years.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT

Favorite road to drive?

Skyline Blvd driving up to Alice's Restaurant (in Woodside, California)—it always seems to have some hero stuffed into a guard rail, who gets over their head and crashes. Oh, and the scenery is beautiful too.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT John Players Special

Next car adventure?

I don't know what the next car adventure will be for me, hopefully getting my daughters or the grandchildren more involved (hint,hint). This car is pretty much finished now and, with my short attention span, I'll probably be looking for another project soon.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT Interior

Your Mustang has a great suspension set-up, tell us more about it?

The basic suspension under the car comes from Ground Control Systems. I've used products designed by the owner, Jay Morris, for a long time—first turned on to him from my autocross friend Andy. I've got some stuff from BMR including the K-Member, front control arms and radiator and sway bar supports. One of the biggest fixes for the older Mustang live axle is the Fays2 Watts link, this really transformed the handling on the car.

2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT

SPECS: 2007 Saleen S281 Mustang GT “Black Jack”

OWNER Jay Hughes
HOMETOWN South Carolina
ENGINE Roush Supercharger, Kooks Headers, 600+ HP
TRANSMISSION Tremec Magnum XL T-56 transmission, Exedy aluminum flywheel, McCloud dual disc clutch, Torsen rear differential, Driveshaft Shop One-piece aluminum driveshaft
SUSPENSION BMR K-member, front lower & upper control arms, radiator support, frame connectors; Whiteline rear lower control arm; FAYS2 Watts Link; Ground Control camber plates; Ground Control front coilover race struts; Eibach springs, front and back; Koni rear shocks, back; Eibach Pro swaybar; Brembo 14” front brakes
INTERIOR Kirkey driver seat; Sparco passenger seat; NRG flat-bottom steering wheel with quick release; Watson Racing 4-point roll bar; Steeda rear X-brace
WHEELS Saleen aluminum wheels (20x9.5 front, 20x10.5, rear)
TIRES Street, Nitto Invo; Track, Nitto NT01
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