Project Borderline

An S197 + 4,100 Man Hours = One Epic Build

There are certain things that just go together... bread & butter, peaches and crème, fireworks on 4th of July, and a cold beer on a hot summer day, just to name a few. One of the lesser known things that also goes together really really well is a retired collision repair & show car builder & some extra free-time. The culmination of nearly 4,100 hours of that free-time thrown at an S197 is what you see above. This is the story of Project Borderline, arguably the most customized road-going S197 on planet earth.

Meet Brent Walker of Memphis, Missouri, the mad scientist behind this creation. Over his long career, Brent had been contracted to build a number of show cars but life & work kept him from creating something of his own. The beauty of delayed gratification is a clear plan and vision which are the two essential ingredients to pulling off a big build like this.

Borderline actually features unique parts from 6 different eras of Mustang, primarily a mix of different parts from the S197 and S550 eras. The car started its life as a 08 V6 donor car and immediately went under the knife. 

At the front of the car, Brent elected to use the front grille & hood from a 2010 Mustang. The sides feature fenders, doors, and rear quarters from the 2008 donor car. Making these items work together necessitated the creation of custom rocker panels. 

But, but, those fenders look rather wide... Yes dear reader, that is correct. Unhappy with the stock body width, Brent then cut the front and rear fenders up, widening them 2 inches per side in steel. But Brent didn't stop there. Notice the roof, that distinct shape is definitely not from the S197 which is flat. That roof is off of S550 GT which was then modified and fitted on this car. 

Out back the car is equally wild. Brent loved the look of the classic 1st Gen Mustangs and elected to modify the trunk to accept tail lamps from a '68. Anyone familiar with the S197 will understand that the rear bumper area of these cars resembles a parachute. Brent took that issue personally. He elected to remove the spare tire well, created close out panels, chopped the bumper & ducted air coming out of the underside of the car, and cutt a relief higher up, all for the sake of air evacuation. Virtually every body panel on the car is modified due to the substantially larger track width. We think he did a phenomenal job adding width while retaining those classic S197 lines. 

We get it, the exterior of this car is one beautiful and carefully sculpted work of art. While most of our readers are hardcore racers who value function over form, we have to warn you, this is no simple show pony. The amount of engineering going on under the car is arguably greater than what you see on the outside. The seating and interior position has been reworked, a 2013-2014 GT500 engine & transmission were added, the full CorteX catalog is in use with this vehicle, and much much more. It has air jacks as well, how many show cars do you know of that have air jacks???

Let's start with the big one.. Brent, unhappy with the lack of front / rear weight distribution present on street cars, decided to hack up the interior and relocate the firewall, dash, transmission tunnel, steering column, pedals, and shifter a whopping 4" rearward.  The rear seats were totally removed and a new rear packaging tray closeout was hand formed to turn this car into a true two-seater. Brent did a remarkable job making the interior look very OEM yet decidedly custom at the same time.


Note the dash and gauge clusters from the GT500 here. The seats are actually reskinned versions of the Recaro seats found in the Focus RS. These subtle upgrades bring the whole car together and speak to Brent's creativity as he had to create new closeouts for all of the gaps left over by the 4" rearward interior move. Brent also cleverly hid a full roll cage underneath of the modified interior panels which extends from the rear of the car all the way into the engine bay. Removable door bars keep this pony more street friendly than an all out competition car. 

Alright, we digress, back to the mechanicals. Brent decided to utilize the most potent powertrain Ford ever paired with an S197, the 2013-2014 GT500 "Trinity" 5.8L supercharged engine. This modified unit makes 727 ponies, routed to the rear through the OE GT500 Tremec transmission. It's ok if you drool over the wire tuck & engine bay fabrication, we did too.

Check out the distance between the engine and firewall. 

Keen eyed viewers will note the lack of shock towers. That is because this car features our CorteX Front Short-Long Arm (SLA) suspension system. This kit, which many of our readers are familiar with, comes complete with adjustable upper and lower A-Arms, light weight billet spindles, shock mounts, front adjustable sway bar, bumpsteer kit, a front K-member specifically designed to handle road course work, Howe serviceable ball-joints, and much more.

Wilwood 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers haul this pony down from speed. Two piece rotors help to keep the weight in check and power meets the ground via custom Forgeline19x9.5 front and 20x12.5 rear wheels shod with Michelin tires. 

Out back the suspension is again given the works by CorteX. Our watts link suspension system replaces the factory panhard bar. Gone is the upper 3rd link in favor of our CorteX torque arm package. The factory control arms are ditched in favor of our tubular units. Our quick change road race rear sway bar replaces the factory unit. Brent also plumbed in the OE GT500 diff cooler to our housing which also features our differential breather can. 

Adjustable JRI front & rear shocks handle keeping the chassis planted to the ground.  

The exhaust on the car is cleverly hidden from view and also features cut outs. Check out the beautiful carbon fiber closeout panels under the car!

We can't help but continue to drool over this car. There are over 200 unique modifications and customizations. Each time you look a little closer, you find something new. A complete list of the mods is included below the build pictures.

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Building a tribute to the heyday of TA racing