Considering how long he has been a member of the Ford family, it is difficult to believe that this 2006 GT is Justin Pawlak’s first personal Mustang. Popular for drifting the rear tires off his 845 hp Falken Tire Ford Mustang in the Formula Drift series, JTP decided he wanted his own pony for a daily driver and some additional light hooning when such situations present themselves. That is, when he isn’t driving his beastly ROUSH Performance Raptor.

Like most projects, sidewayS197 is a work in progress that will be starting small but snowballing quickly as it gains momentum and we will be covering the ins and outs of the build over the course of several segments. The first order of business was the selection of a few parts from the ROUSH Performance catalog to make this S197 slide and sound better.

ROUSH’s front and rear sway bars will improve stiffness in the suspension for better handling. They also include new bushings and links making this a complete upgrade.

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Tighter Cornering

Getting a car properly set up for drifting is a lot more involved than just getting it to go sideways. It is more complicated still to get it to handle well when you aren’t smoking the Falkens off it and JTP wants the car to perform well when he’s not melting rubber for fans. He therefore started with a ROUSH Performance front sway bar package, part number 401299, specifically for models between 2005-2010. This race-inspired sway bar (stabilizer bar) adds stiffness and support to improve handling. It is amazing how effective and dramatic the results of a simple bolt-on installation can be.

Installing the front sway bar is a bolt on affair that can be easily done with a few hand tools, jack and jack stands.

The front sway bar was designed to work as part of an integrated system in conjunction with the Mustang suspension kit so JTP also added the rear sway bar, part number 401300. Due to its solid rear axle and front engine/rear wheel drive configuration, Mustangs have a tendency to understeer in certain situations. The ROUSH rear sway bar helps to fix this problem by adding some stiffness to the rear suspension, making the car turn in more less effort. An added benefit to this is that the front tires will last longer, although JTP doesn’t have to replace the front tires nearly as often as in the rear. The stiffness of the rear sway bars will have a direct impact on the vehicle’s tendency to oversteer.

Side by side with the stock sway bars, you can see the differences in diameter between the ROUSH upgrades and the stock pieces.

As easy as the front sway bar is to install, the rear unit is even less complicated.

Both suspension components were not only developed on the race track, slalom course and skid pad, but also on a wide variety of different road surfaces to maintain a high level of ride quality on the street. ROUSH actually uses the same DIVAS Data Acquisition System Ford engineers do in order to collect and analyzing vehicle dynamics. This means that the parts then work with the other dynamic aspects of the car, rather than against them.

Swapping out the stock sway bars in exchange for some high performance replacements is not that difficult, and something most enthusiasts can easily do solo in a few hours. A few basic hand tools, a floor jack and some jack stands, are all that is needed. Once you have one end of the vehicle jacked up, remove the old sway bar and then put on the new one. Repeat for the opposite end. It really is that simple and easy.

Top Left: The ROUSH exhaust system is a direct replacement for the factory system. The mandrel bent, stainless pipes, offer more flow and aggressive sound. Top Right and Bottom Row: Since ROUSH works closely with Ford and has access to many of their engineering schematics, the ROUSH exhaust system fits like factory parts, and is compatible with both the stock Mustang GT rear fascia and the ROUSH rear fascia.

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Power and Sound

The next piece of the puzzle was to open up the exhaust with the ROUSH Mustang Exhaust System to not only improve and amplify the sound, but also to add a bit of power and increase the fuel efficiency a bit in the process as well. The exhaust upgrade is often the first one Mustang owners tackle because of the attractive gains for minimal pain. All you’ll need to do it yourself at home is a jack, jack stands, socket set, a screwdriver, a pry bar and ideally an impact gun.


Exhaust systems range in quality, price, effectiveness and sound but this high performance system generates a deep, loud and throaty sound. The mandrel bending process used for the tubes of this system maintains a consistent inside diameter, even through the bended area. This method allows for a significant increase in flow over stock or serrated-bent pipes. Less restriction means higher airflow, resulting in higher fuel efficiency and power than other systems. This ROUSH Mustang exhaust kit, part number 403936, is also made of T-304 stainless steel, boasting resistance to corrosion and staining. This exhaust system is delivered with exhaust tips, mufflers, and the necessary hardware for installation. It also works with the stock Mustang fascia, or with that of the ROUSH rear fascia.

These is merely the first phase of Project sidewayS197, JTP will be showing off the car at the upcoming SEMA show, and we’ll be continuing to help with the build, so be sure to check back often as we chronicle the transformation of this S197 from ordinary stocker, to street and hooning machine.

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