2005-'10 Ford Mustang | Buyer's Guide

By Robert Bowen
May 18, 2022 | Ford, Mustang, Buyer's Guide, s197 | Posted in Buyer's Guides | From the Oct. 2010 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Photosbyjuha.com

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Grassroots Motorsports, back when the S197-chassis Mustang was still on sale.]

The Ford Mustang was looking pretty tired by 2004. Sure, it had some interesting visual cues, but overall it lacked the distinctiveness many Mustang enthusiasts thought it should have. The car’s performance was also starting to suffer in …

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ddavidv UltimaDork
5/18/22 7:48 a.m.

My '06 is only a V6 but it may be a 'forever' car. Very little I don't like about it and lots I do. Used car bargain, strong aftermarket and looks that will never be dated.

stan GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/18/22 12:35 p.m.
ddavidv said:

My '06 is only a V6 but it may be a 'forever' car. Very little I don't like about it and lots I do. Used car bargain, strong aftermarket and looks that will never be dated.

Mongrel Motorsports is now on YouTube!

 One of the (many) cars I'm looking at these days. I would think the V6 would help offset the porkiness of the S197 a bit. Plus I don't really need 1000 HP to drive a nice handling car on the street. 


(Please don't ban me) :o

Kronkite New Reader
5/19/22 12:29 a.m.

I know this article is about early s197s but...

I will let you guys in on a little secret.

The V6 from 11-17, the 3.7L cyclone makes about 275 HP at the wheels and many people are still developing the platform even though the engine is dead.

Over the years these people have discovered that the 3.7L may have been a test bed for the coming Ecoboost engines and because of that they love BIG turbos. Don't make the mistake of trying to add a small turbo like the ones on the 3.5. it won't work. But there are 2 companies Auto Mafia Racing and Ortiz Performance selling plug and play big turbo kits. 

These kits can safely get you 600-650hp all day on a sealed engine.

Many people are pushing more. And guess what... They don't care because there are literally 100s of these engines lying around and you can find them all day for $500.

So for $500 you can have a car that is faster and cheaper than almost everything on the road. I always recommend a 3.7 for any swap you want to do. It's hard to pass up.

Lastly, unfortunately the 3.7 can't go much past 650hp if you are looking for big power. The cylinder walls are too thin to sleeve. So if you want big power, sleeve a 3.5. if 650 HP tickles your fancy, get a 3.7. If you are a neanderthal that only cares about V8s get a 4.6 or 5.0.

Other fun facts about s197s.

The V6 comes with a 2 piece driveshaft that needs upgraded immediately following any mod. People have been killed because of this crap design. Check YouTube there are videos.

S197 chassis are so stiff, a strut tower bar is no longer needed. Racers leave them in each other's garages as a joke. My car came with one stock (V6 performance package) and I have removed it to save weight.

The stock airbox was designed by Roush. All aftermarket "cold air" intakes lose power. A couple have a net loss of 0, but most lose power.

Don't waste money trying to build an N/A 3.7. The only mods that add power are ported intakes and exhaust. Everything else is pointless. The car comes with 275 HP and maxes out at 300 HP full bolt on. 

If you drive a 3.7 and it feels slow it's because most of them come with 2.73 gears designed for fuel economy. Add some 3.31 for boost and drag racing. (It eliminates the final shift before the lights.) Or 3.55 if you want the little extra performance and don't mind the extra shift through the lights.

ddavidv UltimaDork
5/19/22 8:25 a.m.

The only problem I have with the 3.7 is it comes in a less attractive package. The original 2005 body style is just too attractive to me.

Stan, I test drove a 4.0 model before making my ultimate purchase decision. It's perfectly spunky enough for daily use and I never really want for more power. One added benefit is there is no motivation to 'mod' the car. I've saved a ton of money on 'enhancements' because it will only ever be a V6. 

Other than the ridiculously foolish plastic thermostat housing, I've not had to repair anything on it.

stan GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/19/22 10:03 p.m.

 Ideally I would like the 3.7 in a 2005 body style as I agree, the later style just doesn't look as good -imo. Are there any differences in the Mustang 4.0 and other models (Ranger, etc)?

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