4 Ways To Modernize Your S197 Mustang

OK, so you’re a Ford fan, and you picked up an S197 Mustang. However, you want to modernize your S197 Mustang a little bit while you preserve some of its retro charms. No problem. Here are some of the easiest, quickest ways to add a little modernity and refinement to your retro-inspired fifth-generation S197 Ford Mustang, like LED lighting and aftermarket upgrades. 

Does the Mustang have LED lights?

Many of the more modern Ford Mustangs, like the sixth-generation S550 models, feature factory LED lighting in the front and rear. That’s great news for owners of newer models, but what about fans of the old-school S197? The last S197s, like the 2013 and 2014 models, featured LED running lights and projector-style headlights. However, the earlier S197 models didn’t have the luxury of bright white lights. 

The aftermarket Mustang upgrade options to modernize your S197 Mustang includes LED lighting.
This movie Shelby Widebody packs the late model S197 LED lighting | Tiffany Rose, WireImage

Don’t fret, though; even the earliest S197 Mustangs can benefit from an aftermarket set of LED lights. For instance, aftermarket LED light kits can replace headlights, taillights, and third brake lights with brighter, sharper strips and bulbs. Better yet, a set of halo headlights or LED three-chambered taillights will modernize the early S197 Mustang’s dated halogen setups.  

How much HP does a tune add to an S197 Mustang?

The S197 Ford Mustang enjoyed an impressive bump in horsepower during its nine-year evolution. The first 2005 Ford Mustang GT, with the 4.6L V8, produced 300 horsepower. However, the 2013 and 2014 GTs produced a much more impressive 420 horsepower from their 5.0L Coyote V8s. Still, if those numbers aren’t enough for you, a tune can wake up and modernize your S197 Mustang. 

The 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt is a special edition S197.
A 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt could make more than its 315 horsepower with a tune | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

For instance, American Muscle says that a tune can add upwards of 12 to 35 horsepower to a stock pony car, depending on the powerplant. Of course, complimenting that tune with a cold air intake and exhaust system is even more advantageous for bolt-on power. Still, if you want your S197 to compete with newer sports cars, you’ll have to upgrade your suspension as well; the older S197s were the last generation to use a live rear axle instead of independent rear suspension. 

Does S197 Ford Mustang have Apple CarPlay?

Fifth-generation Ford Mustang owners will notice that their interiors are dated compared to newer pony car cockpits. However, one quick update that owners can make to their retro Mustangs is an aftermarket touchscreen head unit. Moreover, some head units will incorporate entertainment interfaces like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford fans must opt for a much newer Mustang to get Apple CarPlay from the factory, like the 2020 Ford Mustang GT Premium. 

The S197 Mustang has many modernizing aftermarket Mustang options, like LED lighting.
Ford Mustang GT | Tiffany Rose, WireImage

Can you install push-button start aftermarket?

In addition to a more modern head unit in your S197 Mustang, you can modernize how you start your vehicle. First, you could install a push-button start system in your older pony car. Aftermarket kits for your Mustang are available, and a proper installation would function similarly to a modern push-to-start application. Plus, a beckoning start button would add a touch of modernity to your Mustang, as opposed to a more traditional ignition key slot. 

However, you could simply modernize your key if you want a cheaper option. Early S197 vehicles had a two-piece application: a physical key and a remote. Later models had an integrated key remote but not a spring-loaded key fob. An aftermarket key replacement with a retractable spring-loaded fob is a cheap and easy update.

Those key replacements are available on many online retailers like Amazon and eBay. Keep up with MotorBiscuit for the latest automotive content. 


RELATED: Mustang: Must-Buy Ponies Before You Can’t Afford Them