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Horsing around with the Mustang

Just two weeks ago, the only way to get hold of a Mustang with 700hp was to build one yourself, but now all of a sudden, Pony car owners that put an emphasis on muscle above all else are spoiled for choice.

autos Updated: Mar 26, 2015 12:27 IST
The-Saleen-S302-Black-Label-Photo-AFP
The-Saleen-S302-Black-Label-Photo-AFP

Just two weeks ago, the only way to get hold of a Mustang with 700hp was to build one yourself, but now all of a sudden, Pony car owners that put an emphasis on muscle above all else are spoiled for choice.

Saleen

The latest company to officially launch a seriously customized 2015 Mustang is Saleen, a renewed US racing, customization and tuning firm and one, thankfully, that's been doing this sort of thing for nearly 30 years.

As such, as well as adding a 2.8-liter twin-screw supercharger to the standard Mustang's V8 engine in order to push power up to 730hp, the Saleen S302 Black Label also gets reworked fully independent suspension, brakes, rear spoiler and adjustments to the stock body shape to ensure that the car stays on the road rather than taking off like an airplane.

"Since I started building cars in 1984 my goal has always been to go above and beyond where anybody has been before," said company owner Steve Saleen of the new model. "This will by far be the most refined and advanced Mustang we have built to date."

Hennessey

The HPE700 Supercharged 2015 Ford Mustang GT. Photo: AFP

Like Saleen, Hennessey Performance Engineering has supercharged its custom Mustang. However, unlike its Californian competitor, the Texan John Hennessey has already posted his car's performance figures along with a host of test videos to the web.

The HPE700 Mustang GT puts out 717bhp, can accelerate from 0-100kph in 3.6 seconds and managed to hit 195mph before the road ran out at Continental Tyres' test track. Hennessey has also managed to achieve these figures without having to totally redesign the car's exterior: all that's added are a new front splitter, side sills and rear lip spoiler to keep all that power under control. And of course some huge brakes.

"Our supercharged 5.0 V8 ran flawlessly at high rpm and high speeds while oil temps were never an issue," said John Hennessey of the limited edition car -- only 500 will be built in the next 12 months. "We drove it to Continental, ran 195+ mph and drove it home -- a round trip distance of over 500 miles."

Galpin

The Galpin-Fisker Rocket. Photo: AFP

If the Mustang is a meal, then the Hennessey is the automotive equivalent of improving the seasoning, the Saleen of adding a new dressing, too. But then there's the Galpin Rocket, designed by Henrik Fisker, which is almost a complete reinterpretation of the dish.

Every panel of the body has been reconsidered and reshaped in carbon fiber. The front grille is a huge departure from the Mustang's standard look and hood and side vents have been added, as has a premium leather and suede interior. But the biggest change from the stock Mustang V8 GT is the supercharger that takes power up to 725hp.

"It's a special moment when you get to work on a car like the Ford Mustang. This is a project born out of passion, it's a dream come true, to have the opportunity to 'touch' a Mustang and apply my design ideas to it," said Fisker of the Rocket. "I love the 60s American muscle cars. They are more sculptured, with more radical proportions and bold details than European counterparts. My favorite Mustang is the 1968 Shelby GT500 that had this long hood and huge air intakes; it gave me butterflies the first time I saw it. We wanted to recreate that feeling with this car."