Photographic memory is a fascinating tool that our bodies employ. As car enthusiasts, we frequently recall the most vivid details of a car and even develop a hyper-focused mindset on a particular chassis, especially during our formative driving years. The anticipation and thrill of spotting one in the wild adds an additional layer of enjoyment to each driving experience. These are also the years when school interferes with the ability to earn enough money to purchase said car, parents wisely prioritize safety over high-powered sports cars, and banks scoff at the idea of loaning to a teenager. While these factors serve as blockades to our happiness, it’s a reality of life.
While a wise individual might amass a fortune by purchasing and storing vehicles untouched until a specific demographic can afford and desire low-mileage examples, others opt for a different path. They leverage all they’ve learned to craft the ultimate vehicle, striving to make their younger selves proud. Fortunately for everyone, Joe Odam, the owner of Byepolr Performance, falls into the latter category.
Sharp Around The Edges
In 1999, Ford Motor Company revamped the body of the SN95, introducing sharper edges and heralding the emergence of the New Edge Mustang. While it took Ford an extra four years to incorporate a supercharger under the hood, Saleen seized the opportunity to elevate the New Edge with more aggressive aesthetics and, on specific models, an additional supercharger. The captivating appearance and performance of these cars captured the attention of high school senior Joe Odam.
Odam’s mind swiftly transformed the New Edge Saleen S281 into a highly coveted dream car, a bucket-list vehicle that lingered in the back of his mind for decades. Unlike many enthusiasts, however, modifying an authentic Saleen was not at the forefront of his priorities. His race shop had begun to grow, and the first upper-echelon build had left his shop — an intricate Fox Body that commanded a six-figure price tag.
Bucket List Car
While Odam continued to fantasize about the idea of transforming a New Edge, he finally took a chance on the less-than-desirable generation of Mustang. His objective was to craft a top-tier domestic vehicle, paying homage to Saleen’s originality while elevating it to meet modern standards in 2023. The dream all started with an authentic 2000 Saleen S281 in Bright Atlantic Blue.
From the outside, the Saleen S281 has undergone a comprehensive transformation, featuring a vibrant new paint job that seamlessly blends its bright blue aesthetics with carbon fiber replacements for the roof, trunk, hood, rear bumper, mirrors, C-pillars, and cowls, courtesy of Sigala Design. At the rear, 3030 Autosport Drag Ops double-beadlock forged wheels make a statement, while up front, 3030 Autosport three-piece M505 wheels complete the distinctive look.
Shaved And Stylish
While the exterior is certainly show car-worthy, it’s what lies under the hood that truly commands attention. Nestled between the Scott Rod Engine Bay panels is a Holbrook Racing-built Coyote short block crowned with TKM Gen-2 Coyote heads. Maintaining a clean aesthetic throughout, the plumbing has been skillfully routed into the rockers, eliminating any unsightly hoses under the car.
The turbo setup adds to the spectacle, featuring custom stainless hot side turbo piping with unique one-off merges. The remaining components, including the cold side, downpipe, and wastegate dumps, are meticulously crafted from titanium. Boost pressure is delivered by a 1,800-horsepower-capable FIS GTR55 Billet 88/113 turbo, channeled through a Wilson Manifolds High-Boost throttle body before making its way into the 1320 Junkie Boost Proof Cobra Jet intake.
In a build of this caliber, every element must seamlessly blend, both inside and out. Odam extended the use of carbon fiber and custom fabrication into the interior, featuring ALC Composite full carbon seats with suede padding and custom stitching in the headrest. The interior is further enhanced with a custom upholstered rear seat and headliner, providing a suede-lined finish throughout.
While the interior seamlessly blends the new with the old, with distinctions discernible only to the trained eye, the M&M shifter and steering wheel paddles offer a subtle clue to what is paired with the Coyote. A Blue Streak / Brett LaSala 6R80 is snugly positioned between the transmission tunnel, complete with dump valves and a transmission break, eagerly anticipating the opportune moment for the perfect launch.
Out Of Sight
The Saleen S281’s ride height prevents a detailed inspection of the underchassis, but the car is fully prepared to tackle any straight-line racing challenges. Aerospace brakes on all four corners effectively bring the blue brute to a halt. To ensure optimal power transfer to the ground, the car features Thomas Racing Services Viking Performance struts and shocks.
In the rear, a Byepolr-built Merillat Racing 8.8 with an anti-roll bar takes its place, accompanied by Merillat control arms and a Team Z mini-tub kit. The rear section is further fortified with a fully custom Byepolr TIG-welded chromoly cage, subframe system, and jacking rails. The cage enables the car to achieve an impressive 8.5-second pass, a feat well within reach for this formidable combination.
A Job Well Done
With the goal of constructing one of the most formidable New Edge Saleen S281 Mustangs globally, Odam undeniably succeeded in achieving his objective. The car boasts amenities that surpass even those found in modern vehicles. Transforming a car that was once a bucket list item into the epitome of automotive dreams exemplifies the essence of his shop’s mission, and we are thrilled to have witnessed the car in person.