We are just months away from the first deliveries of the seventh-generation S650 Mustang, which will likely be the final American muscle car with an internal combustion engine. Speaking of the ‘Stang and the idea of the last V8, these are two elements brought together by the recently-showcased Pandem widebody kit for the S197 Mustang, which is a glorious Mad Max tribute.
Led by Kei Miura, Japanese developer TRA (Top Resin Art) Kyoto offers its infamous Rocket Bunny aero kits under the Pandem label in the US.
And, about a week ago, the company showcased the first-ever Pandem widebody kit for the first half of the S197 Mustang generation. In a series of renderings released on Instagram, the company labels this as a kit destined for the 2006 ‘Stang, without delivering further into.
The package isn’t present on any of the specialist’s websites. However, given that the said renderings portray the various parts of the kit, we expect this to go into production soon—perhaps it will debut at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon (January 13-15), where we get to see Pandem’s take on the 2023 Nissan Z, aka 400Z.
And, as we’re updating the story for 2023, we’ve brought along the first real-world images of the Pandem S197 Mustang widebody. The Mad Max Interceptor color scheme is out, as you can see in the first images of the gallery below. Nevertheless, the demo car stands out just as much thanks to the contrast between the orange wheels and the flat finish of the body, which remind one of Dodge’s modern Destroyer Grey.
This 2006 Mustang was built by Jun Sakamoto of the J,beat custom shop (@j.beat_customshop). We’re talking about a Japanese master who’s most famous for his custom metal work, while the vehicle itself is owned by Takahashi Jun, a Tra Kyoto dealer in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Pricing is still not available yet, but Greedy, the U.S. importer for Pandem kits, has listed the Mustang kit in the “coming soon” section of its website.
Pandem’s Mad Max inspiration for the Mustang mirrors some independent Mopar builds out there
Pandem’s S197 Mustang package consists of a front bumper with a bull bar and an upper front fascia featuring an equally badass open grille. Next up, we have Pandem’s singature squared front and rear overfenders, side skirt extensions, along with roof and trunk spoilers.
Now, you may wonder what that roof spoiler is all about. Well, the tuner went through the trouble of also rendering the vehicle with a special yellow-blue-red livery to make its Mad Max nod clear.
Sure, the last of the V8 interceptors title refers to Maxwell Rockatansky’s infamous Black Interceptor, a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Hardtop—hey, this guy is turning his Hellcat into such an interceptor, so meet the Mad Cat!
But the vehicle referenced by the Pandem S197 package is the MFP Interceptor #508. Also known as the Pursuit Sedan, this modded 1974 Ford Falcon XB Sedan featured a 351 V8 and was used by the fictional MFP (Main Force Patrol) in the original 1979 movie. Interestingly, the owner of the Mad Cat is also turning his yet-to-be-delivered 2023 Chrysler 300C 6.4 V8 into a tribute for this machine, which also goes by the Yellow Interceptor nickname.
So, to focus on the elephant(s) in the room, while the bull bar on the S197 pony is Pandem’s fetish, the roof and trunk spoilers are borrowed from the Mad Max Pursuit Sedan.
Based on the pricing for other kits, the Pandem S197 Mustang widebody should be offered for around $4,000. If you pay around $10,000 for a good-condition V6, that’s a lot of money. However, things change if you do the right thing. That would involve selecting a V8-wielding Mustang GT, with a properly maintained example setting you back about $20,000. Of course, one can always start a project with a lesser-condition ‘Stang, especially since an engine swap is recommended (more on this below).
The S197 Mustang was a clean sheet design
The S197 Mustang followed the Fox Body, which nearly saw the Blue Oval replacing the RWD pony with a Mazda-based FWD offering—that fortunately didn’t happen, with the latter ending up as the Ford Probe.
As such, the Blue Oval came up with a new D2C platform for the S197, which did share components with other architectures, but remained unique to the Mustang—the only drawback here is the live rear axle, which would only be replaced by independent suspension a decade later via the now-retiring S550 Mustang.
The 2000s saw the rise of retro-influenced designs. And the fourth-generation Mustang is one of the best examples of this. However, we have to keep in mind that the pony was offered as the S197 I (2005-2009 model years), and the heavily revised S197 II (2010-2014MY).
The switch to the S197 II interation brought massive improvements in terms of firepower. This is true for both the V6 (210 hp 4.0L replaced by a 305 hp 3.7L) and the V8 in the GT (315 hp 4.6L 3V succeded by a 412 hp 5.0L—this is the original form of the Coyote V8, which has reached its 4th generation for the S650 Mustang).
However, as far as the styling goes, there are plenty of enthusiasts who favor the more old-school approach of the S197 I, which is probably why Pandem released its widebody for this version. It’s also worth mentioning that Pandem is currently on a muscle car frenzy, having also showcased kit for the first-generation Pontiac Firebird and second-generation Chevrolet Camaro at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2023.