Tag Archives: Extreme

REVVING UP FOR FILM ROLES

By: ANDY SEILER on May 21, 2003
Original Article: USA TODAY

‘Terminator 3’ Pops The Top On A Lexus

The hot movie cars of summer range from affordable to inconceivable to downright illegal:

Mini Coopers, which should have star billing in The Italian Job opening May 30, start at $16,975.

A Ferrari 575 Maranello, driven by Will Smith in Bad Boys II, will set you back more than $200,000. Galpin Motors in North Hills, Calif., is selling the Saleen S7 supercar that’s capable of 200 mph driven by Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty for about $500,000.

Some of the cars in 2 Fast, 2 Furious are not street legal in the USA — at any price.

USA TODAY’s Andy Seiler profiles some of the summer’s wild cars, with stries on how they got there.

Ferraris cut to the chase in ‘Bad Boys II’

“There are some epic, massive car chases in Bad Boys II ,” says director Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor , Armageddon ). “I started to get nervous because we were getting very close to shooting, literally a month away, and we did not have a lead car. It’s very important to get the right car.” When Porsche turned him down, Bay decided to make his own car the star: a Ferrari 550 Maranello.

“When you do this, you need three cars, because otherwise you could be shutting down production. I had a Maranello. But Ferrari doesn’t need to put cars in movies. They make something like 250 a year worldwide. People put themselves on lists that are years out from getting one.”

Luckily, Ferrari lent the production two even grander 575s. “I swore on my life that I wasn’t going to damage these cars,” Bay says. “We used the 550 for the heavy stunt work where we could have totaled it so easily.”

Near the end of shooting, “the Maranello was perfect, not a ding. Then Martin Lawrence was driving, and he suddenly rammed this car into a concrete block. I’m like, ‘Martin, dude, what’s going on?’ ”

The ding was “not bad,” he says.

* Other cars in the film: Hummer H2, Cadillac CTS and Buick’s Blackhawk prototype. Bad guys drive vintage cars: 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle and ’70 Nova, 1971 Dodge Super Bee and 1971 Pontiac TransAm.

Supercar, muscle car for “Angels’

The Angels’ cars express their personalities, says Cyril O’ Neil, who as car wrangler for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle has dealt with every car on the screen. His next project is the Spider-Man sequel.

Demi Moore , as a “fallen (former) Angel,” drives a Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari’s newest supercar. “They are essentially barely street legal Formula One cars,” O’Neil says. “The sticker price on the Enzo, if you could find one on a waiting list, is over $600,000.” Only 399 of these next-generation supercars, which can go 217 mph, are being made. “Like Demi’s character, it’s just pure and raw, but somehow distinctly refined power. It is speed, elegance, and there’s nothing like it in the world.”

Lucy Liu does not drive a car in this second episode of the big-screen series, but the other two Angels make up for it: “Drew Barrymore’s character is a rough-and-tumble let’s-go-get-’em kind of woman, so she drives a classic muscle car, a 1970 Chevelle LS6. It’s actually a clone, which means that it is exactly the same car but not a factory-assembled car. It’s a tough car — we blew the thing probably 10 feet in the air when it exploded.

“Cameron Diaz’s character is, of the three, the motoring and automotive aficionado. She’s a vehicle expert, so she drives a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. That is one of the rarest cars in the world. There were only 100 ever made between 1959 and 1962. There are a handful of them in the United States. We got it from a private collector, and it’s since been sold for $1.3 million.”

* Other cars in the film: 1967 Shelby Cobra, 1967 GTO Pontiac Special Edition, 2003 Maserati Spyder and an unstoppable Osh Kosh M977 HEMTT (heavy expanded mobility tactical truck). There are Suzuki and Yamaha motorcycles in the film, too.

Mini Coopers get the ‘Job’ done

Director F. Gary Gray jettisoned all the characters and much of the plot from the cult 1969 Michael Caine movie The Italian Job.

But he wanted to keep the heist that could be executed only with Mini Coopers during a traffic jam.

“When I read the script, I wasn’t actually sure that they were coming out with new ones,” says Gray (Set It Off, Friday). “I thought we might have to use the old” Minis, as last summer’s The Bourne Identity did. “It was actually a coincidence that they were going back into production. Now I wish I had stock in BMW (which now makes the cars). I love the old ones, but I really love the new ones.”

Mini USA, which first showcased the car in last summer’s Austin Powers in Goldmember (Caine got to drive one again), provided Gray with 30 cars, including three special electric Minis that aren’t available to consumers for a subway system chase scene. “No combustion engines could be used,” Gray says.

Gray preferred wrecking real cars to simulations because he says audiences disengage when they suspect action is not real.

The Minis turned out to be frustratingly safe. “We had to disconnect all the safety features,” Gray recalls.

In one remarkable shot, Charlize Theron screeches into a small parking space between two SUVs. And yes, that really is Theron driving.

“When we sent our cast into training, it was less about training Charlize than trying to hold her back,” Gray says. “I saw her do two reverse 180s with two cameras mounted on the car. She would test the car beyond its limits — and I would totally freak out.”

‘Terminator 3’ pops the top on a Lexus

Villainous Terminatrix Kristanna Loken drives a Lexus SC hardtop convertible in this movie, which just happens to be the same car driven by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines director Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown ).

“I wanted a cool convertible that hasn’t been too overexposed in the movies,” Mostow says. “I like the idea of a Terminator driving my car! The car suits her personality. It’s sleek, it’s sexy, it’s powerful and it’s fast — which are all traits that fit the character.

“It was a very strange sensation to destroy a car you own,” Mostow says. “Same color, same interior, same exterior colors. I take good care of my car. I love my car.”

Two of the convertibles were destroyed, but Mostow felt less sentimental about the loss of a dozen Toyota Tundra pickups. They were wrecked, and shot from every angle, to create the illusion of just one being destroyed.

“That’s how warped Hollywood filmmaking has become,” Mostow says. “I tell the car company, ‘We’ve got to destroy $150,000 worth of cars.’ And they said, ‘No problem.’ ”

These cars are ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

“The Mitsubishi Evo that Paul Walker drives is an extension of him,” says 2 Fast 2 Furious director John Singleton.

“It’s kind of cool, because the Evolution VII is the dream car of a lot of people who are into import racing,” Singleton says. “There’s a whole culture of people who are into the whole scene of import racing. The cars are too fast, and they don’t meet U.S. standards, but some people get the cars anyway.

“I think you can get the Evo in the States, but you can’t get a Nissan Skyline GTR, another car Paul drives, because it’s not U.S. street legal. The Skyline has right-handed steering, and it’s like 500 horsepower.”

Walker also drives a Chevrolet Yenko Camaro.

Because the characters in the film are themselves car fanatics, their cars are meant to look like a vehicle they would have designed themselves.

“While Paul’s car is more subdued, more of a racing car, Tyrese Gibson plays a flashy guy, so Tyrese’s car (a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder) is flashier: more rims, a flashier paint job.”

Gibson also drives a 1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi.

“Suki, played by Devon Aoki , is a live-action girl who looks like an anime character. So her car is a Honda S2000, supercharged and tricked out, with pink neon trim and everything.”

Other cars in the film: 1994 Toyota Supra, 1995 Mazda RX7, 1994 Acura NSX and a 2003 Dodge truck, making this manna for car mavens for the price of a movie ticket.

WILD HORSES: SALEEN S7S, MODIFIED MUSTANGS

By: GERRY MALLOY on August 31, 2002
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Supercar, Muscle Car Combo Drives Early Racing Success

Steve Saleen stunned the automotive press at the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca when he not only announced that he was going into the supercar business, but unveiled a sleek prototype.

That was two years ago. Much has happened since.

The high-performance, mid-engined supercar is the purest form of the modern automobile.

Exemplified by such exotica as the Ferrari F50, Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1, it is a barely tamed race-car, adapted for use on the street.

Predominantly a product of Europe, the genre has been the subject of numerous North American concept cars. The few attempts that have been made to build and market such cars on this continent have ended in ignominy.

Saleen aims to break that pattern. If anyone outside the Big Three can do it, he is probably the one.

He is already well on his way. When I visited the Saleen assembly plant in Irvine, Calif., his fabricators were working on chassis number 19 in the company’s S7 lineage.

Not only does he have the facilities and expertise to achieve his production goal of 15 to 20 vehicles a year, he has the critical mass to support it; he is also building 20 Saleen Mustangs a week in the same plant.

Total production of those highly modified Mustangs has approached 10,000 units over the 19 years since he began the business.

Saleen himself is a racer at heart. He competed in everything from autocross and Formula Atlantic to Trans-Am and Indy cars.

He is a businessman, with a degree from USC and a flair for promotion. He is the most successful private North American auto manufacturer in modern history.

Because most of his creations are Mustang-based, many regard Saleen as little more than a tuner. But the changes he makes to the Mustangs are such that the cars must be individually certified for both emissions and crash-test performance.

So Saleen’s operations are afforded full-fledged manufacturer status.

Everything about his 14,000-square-metre plant, located in the heart of California’s aerospace and automotive community, supports that designation.

The Mustangs are disassembled as they arrive from Ford, then they go on dollies through a 13-station assembly line, each with its own team and tasks, for reconstruction.

Saleen supplies three body styles: coupe, roadster and speedster for each of three models, designated S281, S281 Supercharged and S281-E.

The number 281 derives from the displacement, in cubic inches, of the Ford 4.6-litre SOHC V8 that serves as a base for modification.

In S281 trim, the Saleen engine is rated at 285 hp. Adding a supercharger bumps that figure to 365, and the E-model raises it again, to 425 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque – which is delivered through a six-speed, quick-ratio manual gearbox.

Suspension, drivetrain, brakes, interior, wiring, front and rear fascias, hoods, and, in some cases, even external body panels, are replaced by Saleen-designed and, in many cases, Saleen-produced components.

Many of the cars are fitted with full roll cages.

A separate finishes-and-composites division, soon to be integrated into the main plant, is responsible for manufacturing many of those parts, and for finishing them and the cars themselves in a range of exclusive and evocatively-named Saleen colours, including Lizstick red, named for his wife.

The combined operations employ more than 150 people, including a support team for Saleen-owners’ many racing efforts.

The success of Saleen’s Mustangs on the track have pushed him and his cars into the limelight, and supported the success of the manufacturing business..

The real excitement these days lies on the other side of the shop in the eight race-car bays where the exotic S7s and S7Rs (the racing versions) are assembled.

Developed with Ray Mallock, a British race- and specialty-car builder of considerable repute, the original protype supercar was as stunning as its Laguna Seca announcement.

Long and low, with the engine amidships and air vents everywhere (every one with a purpose, Saleen says), its silhouette showed the influence of cars such as the Jaguar XK 220 and Lamborghinis and Bugattis.

But it had its own distinctive form.

It remains powered by a 7.0-litre, OHV V8, which had its genesis as a Ford service-parts aluminum racing block, but is now all-Saleen.

The engine is rated at 550 hp at 6400 rpm, and 525 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm – more in racing trim, and more than enough to make it a supercar.

Just as impressive are the rest of its credentials, which resonate pure race car: lightweight tubular-steel space frame with aluminum honeycomb structural panels; carbon-fibre body panels; double-wishbone front-and-rear suspensions; six-speed transaxle; and gigantic Brembo brakes.

Some members of the automotive press, who had seen such hopes raised and dashed before, dismissed the idea as a publicity stunt or a dream.

Saleen made believers by fielding a racing version of the prototype – which showed considerable promise – before the end of the year.

In 2001, an S7R won the 12-hours of Sebring, beating GM’s Corvette C5-Rs, qualified on the GTS class pole and finished on the GTS podium at Le Mans, and propelled lead driver Terry Borcheller to the ALMS GTS driver’s championship, beating out Ron Fellows (who’s dominating this season).

Saleen S7Rs won four separate championships in Europe and North America in their first full year.

Some people, Saleen says, have suggested that he is in the production car business just to support his racing habit – a motivation Enzo Ferrari openly admitted. But he claims it is the other way around; he races to support his production car business.

The production cars reflect this. They have high quality materials throughout, impeccable workmanship and a host of premium features, including a custom-fitted driving seat, an integrated DVD/GPS/TV/NAV-system, and custom-fitted luggage by Mulholland Brothers.

Would you expect less for US$395,000? Automobiles Bugatti of Montreal has been appointed Canadian distributor for the S7, which, Saleen says, will comply with all Canadian regulations, but price and delivery details have yet to be determined.

NEWEST SALEEN IS THE FASTEST, MOST POWERFUL MUSTANG NOW AVAILABLE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saleen Pushes Its Own Mustang Envelope With Introduction Of 2002 S281-E

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 20 – In the world of high-performance automotive manufactures, history has shown that constant refinement and staying true to a company’s founding objectives are the keys to long-term success. Forget the fancy adjectives and PR fluff. The entire objective is to build exciting sports cars that are a blast to drive — period.

In keeping with Saleen Inc.’s colorful 19-year history of manufacturing precisely such aspirational automobiles, the company has announced the release of its most refined sports car to date – the awe-inspiring S281-E. Boasting the most powerful engine available in today’s Mustang-based market, the newest member of the Saleen family is also the most refined Mustang the company has ever offered to the public.

The “E” stands for “Extreme,” and, given the car’s outstanding list of performance features, the new name is certainly justified. Available as a coupe, convertible or speedster, the S281-E uses a specially-prepared Saleen power plant that provides a whopping 425 horsepower at 5,400 RPM, matched by an impressive 440 ft. lbs. of torque.

“We are very proud of our newest addition to the Saleen line-up” Explained company founder and product visionary Steve Saleen. “While our S281 supercharged model sets the benchmark in performance, handling and top speed, we wanted to provide the hard-core enthusiast with the ultimate example of Saleen Mustang technology and innovation. The S281-E is in perfect keeping with our corporate mission of providing our clients with branded products that deliver the ultimate performance combined with real functionality and cutting edge style”.

The life of the S281-E begins, like all Saleen production cars, on the floor of the company’s new 140,000 square foot facility. The new car proceeds down Saleen’s well-organized assembly line and through the hands of the highly skilled technicians.

For the S281-E the list of standard equipment includes:

  • Quick ratio 6 speed manual transmission
  • Complete Saleen racecraft suspension including raced developed shocks, springs and boxed rear control arms
  • A refined rear end assembly featuring the new Saleen “MaxGrip” speed-sensitive limited slip diff
  • A high performance Saleen braking system and complete Saleen interior

Outside the body receives the latest in Saleen designed and manufactured aerodynamics, along with the customer’s choice of Speedlab Yellow, Saleen S7 Silver, Pearl White, Lizstick Red, Black Metallic, Beryllium, Victory Blue or Bright Signature Red by BASF. The S281-E rolls on high performance Pirelli P-zero tires and huge 18″ Saleen-designed alloy.

At the heart of the S281-E’s stunning performance is the highly potent powerplant. Built in-house under the experienced guidance chief engineer Neil Hannermann and engine department manager Bill Tally, the 281 CID (4.6)L engine is comprised of a special forged steel Saleen crankshaft, forged connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons and unique Saleen aluminum cylinder heads featuring special valve springs and the latest Saleen performance camshafts. An 11″ aluminum flywheel uses a Kevlar padded clutch disc to transfer the power to the 6-speed trans by way of custom balanced driveshaft.

In addition to the increased rpm available with the “E” engine, a new developed Saleen Series V “screw type” supercharger is utilized to increase power, along with a Saleen water to air intercooler with heat exchanger. The engine is feed via a specially designed Saleen 90mm Mass air sensor, inlet tube and manifold, while exhaust is routed through a Saleen designed 2.5″ stainless steel, four-way catalytic, high flow exhaust. Engine management is handled by sequential electronic fuel injectors and the new Saleen “Powerflash” performance calibration computer.

The result of this extensive Saleen manufacturing process is one of the most potent cars ever offered to the ever-enthusiastic group of Mustang fans. The S281-E not only represents the latest example of the Saleen automotive philosophy, it is also the logical extension to the company’s growing line of high-performance cars.

“When you look at how far we’ve come in the past 19 year, you can’t help but be proud of a car like the new S281-E.” explained Saleen. “It has all the speed and handling of our monster S351, but in a much more developed package. All of the gains we’ve made in creating reliable horsepower and crisp, but supple, chassis handling have been brought together in all our new 2002 models. The upper step of the Saleen Mustang performance ladder is now occupied by the new S281-E; right behind our radical SR Widebody. Our customers can now truly have the ‘extreme’ in power and performance, while at the same time enjoying the refinement of a BMW.”

Carrying a suggest retail price starting at $59,995, the S281-E takes its place with the rest of the Saleen’s broad line of ultra high-performance sports cars – including the racing-derived Saleen Mustang SR and the incredible Saleen S7 American supercar. Saleen vehicle are available only through a growing network of selected Saleen certified dealers.

Contact: Jack Gerken 949-597-4900

76 Fairbanks
Irvine, CA 92618
t 949 597 4900
f 949 597 0201
www.saleen.com