Progress Thread Project PMOR: 97 Saleen S281 #19 build

95steedamustang

Easy to use in another rear end
SN Certified Technician
Apr 22, 2009
1,730
2,906
154
East TN
More work on the rear bumper, drivers side and lining things up. The bumper pictured is not the original. It is the one you order today from Saleen and the drivers side front fender is aftermarket.

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Not bad for lining up a junk fender and bumper. Imagine using good stuff. Lol!
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Alright, so here is how the reproduction rear bumper fits. You can see it takes a lot to get it to mount and fit "properly". I can only image how many hours @95steedamustang had into getting it fit as good as it did. At this point the body had everything fitted/adjusted.


97 Saleen (505).jpg
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Now we are caught up a little to where I purchased the car in February. In February I was presented with two Saleen S281s I could pick up for the same price. One car was running/driving and then there was a shell. Even before I found out the shell was at @95steedamustang shop, something about the picture below, not sure what but I knew it was the one. I knew nothing about it other than it was a shell, I didn't even know what the original color was. Someone on Facebook actually knew I was looking and sent me the photo and where it was located, it wasn't till the next day when I discovered it was at Kevin's shop. I immediately sent Kevin a text and got to chatting about the car, wasn't too long after I was working out a deal with the owner to purchase the shell.

Next day I was thinking, I just bought a shell. Let the adventure begin.

From this point forward I will give updates on part collection, parts I've been hoarding for 20+ years and the pain and suffering it takes to restore one of these cars (Even though I think Kevin has done a great job at that already). I really hope people are enjoying this build.


IMG_7515.jpeg
 
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95steedamustang

Easy to use in another rear end
SN Certified Technician
Apr 22, 2009
1,730
2,906
154
East TN
Now we are caught up a little to where I purchased the car in February. In February I was presented with two Saleen S281s I could pick up for the same price. One car was running/driving and then there was a shell. Even before I found out the shell was at @95steedamustang shop, something about the picture below, not sure what but I knew it was the one. I knew nothing about it other than it was a shell, I didn't even know what the original color was. Someone on Facebook actually knew I was looking and sent me the photo and where it was located, it wasn't till the next day when I discovered it was at Kevin's shop. I immediately sent Kevin a text and got to chatting about the car, wasn't too long after I was working out a deal with the owner to purchase the shell.

Next day I was thinking, I just bought a shell. Let the adventure begin.

From this point forward I will give updates on part collection, parts I've been hoarding for 20+ years and the pain and suffering it takes to restore one of these cars (Even though I think Kevin has done a great job at that already). I really hope people are enjoying this build.


IMG_7515.jpeg
Theres just something about a nice tight body with perfect gaps. Even in primer….that I love seeing. Especially given the aftermarket repop bumpers and previous body bumps. This one just needed a ton of work everywhere. But not a speck of rust. Even the former owner put a big dent in it in the short time he had it before bringing it to me
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
There's just something about a nice tight body with perfect gaps. Even in primer….that I love seeing. Especially given the aftermarket repop bumpers and previous body bumps. This one just needed a ton of work everywhere. But not a speck of rust. Even the former owner put a big dent in it in the short time he had it before bringing it to me
You are absolutely correct on that. It is sad the bumpers Saleen sells now are as bad as they are, but you did awesome work to make them look good.
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Even though the car was a shell, it still had the following Saleen pieces, Dash Plaque, Engine Bay Plaque, but the cluster was missing :(. Luckily the S281s, Saleen didn't change much from a standard Mustang GT, so bringing it back to life wouldn't be too challenging.

Things I want to add to the car:
Export Mirrors
Export Tail lights
Alcon Brakes
Speedline Lemans wheel (staggered set)
Recaro seats
Full Maximum Motorsports Suspension
Many Many More options

The idea here is, the car came with just 3.55 gears and a two point chassis brace, so not a lot of options. I want to build this car out with options it didn't have and at the same time make it my own.

First up, I need to find that cluster, I was sad that it was gone but i'd deal with it. Luckily it will be the easiest thing to find in this build. Just walked into my storage room and pulled one off the shelf. I pulled one that had the closest mileage that I will set so it is correct with the chassis. I will be using the 150MPH cluster not the 200MPH one, I need to use that for something else. Luckily I have been collecting Saleen parts for 20+ years, so I have a nice collection of parts. In my next post I will get into hunting for Export parts.

3BA3A25D-3F57-49AA-9259-A51D04CD1F9B_1_105_c.jpeg
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Before I even bought 97-19, I knew I wanted to put export tail lights and mirrors on it (All of my cars actually). At that time I didn't own any and wasn't actively searching either, so I started the hunt. I did some basic web searching and research. Reached out to some people on Forums who used to be able to get them but it seemed like the well had dried up. Even though I did find someone willing to hold on to a set for me (If they read this, thank you!), I still wanted to see if I could find them.

Quick little history about me, I work in IT, do a lot with computers and started programming back in the 80s. I also like a good challenge. (Told you it would be quick).

*** Warning: I'm not looking to sell any at this point. ***

Time to talk Nerdy!

I decided I wanted to search the entire internet for these parts, I knew they had to still exist and be somewhat plentiful. I sat down and started brain storming how I could do this. After a few white-boarding sessions with my fiancé (bounce ideas off of), I started coding. The idea was to download a few thousand images off the web from Google Images of 94/95 & 96-98 export tail lights and 94-98 export mirrors. I was going to build a huge bot net. First I needed to build a Machine Learning model of the images so the bot net could tell the difference between US & Japanese spec tail lights. I got that to an accuracy of 91%, I was originally shooting for 75%. Mirrors I was able to get it to an accuracy of 84%. Next was to have it review the data on the webpage it found a match on to determine if it was for sale or not. I used key words for "forsale, for sale, sale, available, etc." and different currency symbols in 40 different languages/regions. Once matched it would send me a text message with the data so I could review if I was not home, also built a dashboard where I could review on a PC as well.

I kicked this off in July of 2020, I got my first hit with a probability of 70%, I went to the link it supplied (Thank you Google Translate), sent an e-mail and within a few days I had my first set of tail lights and mirrors (was sold as a complete set with flares and fender markers). By the end of September I had over 30 sets (lights and mirrors) discovered. I turned the botnet off in November of 2020 and had it looking for something else, because by that time I had more sets then I would ever need.

Why post this?

I wanted to share the creativity I'm taking to put this car together my way. I have been rebuilding/restoring cars that where built in numbers as low as 10 total. So finding parts has always been a big challenge for me and I love the hunt. I also wanted to share that anything is truly possible if you put your mind to it.

The picture posted is just after a few weeks and I needed to start buying more shelving to hold my inventory. Everything on these two shelves were found via a Machine Learning model, even the wheels on the bottom shelf.

IMG_1686.jpg
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Seats:

Being a Recaro fan for many years I've collected many sets (LX, LS & SR). When I bought 97-19 I immediately knew I was going to put the correct Recaro LX Seats in it. Luckily I already had some seats in my inventory with the correct headrests.

The goal here will be to get them redone in the correct material and stitching on the back panel.

IMG_1602.jpg

IMG_1611.jpg


Brakes:

This part was going to be difficult. The correct brakes would be the ever so hard to find Alcon setup. I have multiple sets of Cobra R/Focus RS Mk1 Brembo's sitting on my shelves. I made the decision that I would go Brembo unless I could find a set of Alcon. Before I made my first trip out to see 97-19 I had this deal come up that I jumped on. A set of Alcon recently refinished, with new pads and slightly used rotors. I was like score! Week goes by and the calipers show up and immediately I noticed something wrong. One of the calipers was missing all the bolts that hold both halves together and neither had the spring retention clips for the pads. The same caliper was also missing the crossover tube. After more inspection the paint was already peeling away from being redone incorrectly. This was a total gut punch but not the end of the world. I reach out to the seller to ask a few questions and find out where the pads and rotors were. The seller let me know the rotors would be shipped soon from a friend and he would reach out to the person who redid the calipers to find the missing parts. A couple weeks go by and the rotors show up, sad to say they were not even Alcon rotors. They look to be a standard slotted Cobra 13" rotor (compared them to a set I had). This had me really upset at this point so I reach out to the seller again and tried working with them to either credit me back some money and admit to knowingly selling me stuff that was misrepresented, but sadly after weeks of communication no luck. The pads eventually showed up too but not to my surprise they were the wrong ones.

Talking to @95steedamustang about the situation I decided that I'm already in the hole on these things, I might as well keep digging. I spent a good 6 weeks on the phone with Alcon in the UK, the easiest was the rebuild kit, costly but was easy to get once I had all the part numbers. The hard part and what took the longest was getting all the correct data for the bolts. During that time a NOS NASCAR caliper, that was an Alcon Type B popped up on eBay for cheap. Looking at the price for the correct bolts that I could order directly through Alcon vs buying the NASCAR one, I went with the NASCAR one. It showed up a few days later still in the original Alcon box. I immediately took it apart and got the parts to Kevin, since I knew he would do them justice to restore them correctly. When Kevin was working on the calipers he found out that one of the bleeders was striped, so he had to repair that. Nothing at this phase on these calipers would surprise me anymore.

Needless to say these things became the biggest headache so far on this project but they will look good once done and installed.

Note: The seller eventually just stopped responding to my messages.

IMG_2007.jpg
 
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95steedamustang

Easy to use in another rear end
SN Certified Technician
Apr 22, 2009
1,730
2,906
154
East TN
Seats:

Being a Recaro fan for many years I've collected many sets (LX, LS & SR). When I bought 97-19 I immediately knew I was going to put the correct Recaro LX Seats in it. Luckily I already had some seats in my inventory with the correct headrests.

The goal here will be to get them redone in the correct material and stitching on the back panel.

IMG_1602.jpg

IMG_1611.jpg


Brakes:

This part was going to be difficult. The correct brakes would be the ever so hard to find Alcon setup. I have multiple sets of Cobra R/Focus RS Mk1 Brembo's sitting on my shelves. I made the decision that I would go Brembo unless I could find a set of Alcon. Before I made my first trip out to see 97-19 I had this deal come up that I jumped on. A set of Alcon recently refinished, with new pads and slightly used rotors. I was like score! Week goes by and the calipers show up and immediately I noticed something wrong. One of the calipers was missing all the bolts that hold both halves together and neither had the spring retention clips for the pads. The same caliper was also missing the crossover tube. After more inspection the paint was already peeling away from being redone incorrectly. This was a total gut punch but not the end of the world. I reach out to the seller to ask a few questions and find out where the pads and rotors were. The seller let me know the rotors would be shipped soon from a friend and he would reach out to the person who redid the calipers to find the missing parts. A couple weeks go by and the rotors show up, sad to say they were not even Alcon rotors. They look to be a standard slotted Cobra 13" rotor (compared them to a set I had). This had me really upset at this point so I reach out to the seller again and tried working with them to either credit me back some money and admit to knowingly selling me stuff that was misrepresented, but sadly after weeks of communication no luck. The pads eventually showed up too but not to my surprise they were the wrong ones.

Talking to @95steedamustang about the situation I decided that I'm already in the hole on these things, I might as well keep digging. I spent a good 6 weeks on the phone with Alcon in the UK, the easiest was the rebuild kit, costly but was easy to get once I had all the part numbers. The hard part and what took the longest was getting all the correct data for the bolts. During that time a NOS NASCAR caliper, that was an Alcon Type B popped up on eBay for cheap. Looking at the price for the correct bolts that I could order directly through Alcon vs buying the NASCAR one, I went with the NASCAR one. It showed up a few days later still in the original Alcon box. I immediately took it apart and got the parts to Kevin, since I knew he would do them justice to restore them correctly. When Kevin was working on the calipers he found out that one of the bleeders was striped, so he had to repair that. Nothing at this phase on these calipers would surprise me anymore.

Needless to say these things became the biggest headache so far on this project but they will look good once done and installed.

Note: The seller eventually just stopped responding to my messages.

IMG_2007.jpg
These calipers fit into a category…I like to call anything can be fixed..and rare set of calipers…I’ll do what it takes to make new. But this is what happens when people send there stuff to a buddy at one of these U tube shops. It takes a pro to handle calipers like this. Luckily, I have a machine shop to drill and tap them. Plus I make caliper brackets and rotors to make them work. Just unreal the idiot moves it took to get a perfectly good set of calipers to this point. Moral is dont intrust anything u care about to some goobers on u tube
 
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SorsCode

10 Year Member
Jun 10, 2003
747
102
73
St. Louis, MO
www.sorscode.com
Another update this week.

I purchased the car in February and in April I get to finally go out to TN to go see the car for the first time. This is the first time I have purchased a car without ever physically seeing it. After many phone calls and texts with @95steedamustang I rent an SUV to take a load of parts out. Since the 97 didn't have any side skirts or door fillers anymore (prior owner pitched), I was fortunate enough to track down an original set of side skirts and door fillers from a customer that I worked with in the past.

Parts I took with me:
- Export Mirrors
- Export Tail lights
- Alcon Calipers
- Complete Saleen graphics kit
- NOS Quarter windows
- NOS Grille emblem
- Dash Pod
- Kaenen Hood
- NOS Hood vents and fillers

The dash pod is not an original Saleen pod, however it is a similar style that snaps into the dash. The idea here is to have Kevin upholster it and make it look similar. The Kaenen hood was a must because the heat extractor just makes these cars and fortunately I had a few in inventory. This was a tough decision as I do have an original hood but I'm holding out on using it. It would have been used if this car originally came with the Saleen heat extractor from the factory, but since it didn't I was okay with the Kaenen.

With the SUV loaded up, I took off at 3am for the 8hr drive to Kevin's shop. Once I got onsite, I got to look the 97 over in detail. I could immediately tell all the work Kevin had into the car. Once we started talking there were things that just needed fix and none of them were Kevin's fault. The prior owner tossed the front fascia and Kevin saved the rear fascia. I could tell how the newer fascias do not fit as nicely as the originals. So the list of things we wanted to correct was a lot of the aftermarket items (not a complete list):
- Drivers side fender
- Rear Fascia (Saleen but not original)
- Front Fascia (Saleen but not original)
- Headlight Header Panel
- Front Impact Bar and Foam

I believe the prior owners idea of "buying new" regardless of original or aftermarket was a little ambitious and short sided. There are some good aftermarket pieces but nothing ever really beats factory original (there are exceptions). Me personally a car like this needs to be as original as possible when it comes to parts.

While at the shop we put the hood on and the tail lights to have a little fun. That evening I made the trip back home and the start of searching for all kinds of parts.

Hopefully people are enjoying the build.


IMG_2024.jpg

IMG_2025.jpg
IMG_2028.jpeg
IMG_8115.jpeg

IMG_8392.JPG
 
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95steedamustang

Easy to use in another rear end
SN Certified Technician
Apr 22, 2009
1,730
2,906
154
East TN
Another update this week.

I purchased the car in February and in April I get to finally go out to TN to go see the car for the first time. This is the first time I have purchased a car without ever physically seeing it. After many phone calls and texts with @95steedamustang I rent an SUV to take a load of parts out. Since the 97 didn't have any side skirts or door fillers anymore (prior owner pitched), I was fortunate enough to track down an original set of side skirts and door fillers from a customer that I worked with in the past.

Parts I took with me:
- Export Mirrors
- Export Tail lights
- Alcon Calipers
- Complete Saleen graphics kit
- NOS Quarter windows
- NOS Grille emblem
- Dash Pod
- Kaenen Hood
- NOS Hood vents and fillers

The dash pod is not an original Saleen pod, however it is a similar style that snaps into the dash. The idea here is to have Kevin upholster it and make it look similar. The Kaenen hood was a must because the heat extractor just makes these cars and fortunately I had a few in inventory. This was a tough decision as I do have an original hood but I'm holding out on using it. It would have been used if this car originally came with the Saleen heat extractor from the factory, but since it didn't I was okay with the Kaenen.

With the SUV loaded up, I took off at 3am for the 8hr drive to Kevin's shop. Once I got onsite, I got to look the 97 over in detail. I could immediately tell all the work Kevin had into the car. Once we started talking there were things that just needed fix and none of them were Kevin's fault. The prior owner tossed the front fascia and Kevin saved the rear fascia. I could tell how the newer fascias do not fit as nicely as the originals. So the list of things we wanted to correct was a lot of the aftermarket items (not a complete list):
- Drivers side fender
- Rear Fascia (Saleen but not original)
- Front Fascia (Saleen but not original)
- Headlight Header Panel
- Front Impact Bar and Foam

I believe the prior owners idea of "buying new" regardless of original or aftermarket was a little ambitious and short sided. There are some good aftermarket pieces but nothing ever really beats factory original (there are exceptions). Me personally a car like this needs to be as original as possible when it comes to parts.

While at the shop we put the hood on and the tail lights to have a little fun. That evening I made the trip back home and the start of searching for all kinds of parts.

Hopefully people are enjoying the build.


IMG_2024.jpg

IMG_2025.jpg
IMG_2028.jpeg
IMG_8115.jpeg

IMG_8392.JPG
Give me an original fender in 3 pieces over an aftermarket new one. I’ll weld the original back together it will fit better. But the previous owner had never built a car and didnt know cars like @SorsCode. He tried everyway and everything to derail the build but I found a better owner and now its going somewhere.
 
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