Lot #239 – The current owners purchased this Saleen Mustang #171 in November 1990. The car features a 5.0-liter engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. It has been driven very minimally, and it has been covered and garage stored since that time. It is in very nearly as-new condition. 7,970 actual miles. Copy of original factory invoice to Kingman Ford in Kingman, AZ ship to Saleen Autosport in Anaheim, CA. Original owner was in Mesa, AZ. The vehicle has been in Arizona and New Mexico since new.
Back in the 80’s Carrol Shelby was working for Chrysler when Ford introduced the all-new Mustang. Steve Saleen stepped up and built his Saleen Mustang to fill the performance void.
When people talk about the most powerful Mustangs of all time, the Shelby versions come straight to mind. People forget that there was a time that Shelby licensed his name to Chrysler. They badged trucks and awful cars with the Shelby name in the 80’s.
When Ford reintroduced the Mustang in the 80’s, Steve Saleen started his company modifying and upgrading the new cars. Out of his Southern California shop helped bring back the muscle car from the ashes. The lightweight platform of the Mustang and its 5.0L engine was ripe for modification.
After seeing what Saleen was able to do, the executives at Ford made a trip to Corona California and a great partnership was formed. Some forget supercharging street cars was not very common at the time. Saleen started supercharging the 5.0L engines and laid the groundwork for what we see today. (Editor note: Saleen approached Ford Motor Company / Ford Motorsport for approval of the “Saleen Mustang” package before production began. The facility in Corona CA opened for the 2010 model year.)
As a southern California kid, I saw the growth of Saleen Mustang firsthand. He did not just build cars for dealerships, you could take yours to him and he would transform it to your specifications. He would take the 5.0L LX, not GT, Mustangs and turn them into beasts of the time. His road racing history helped him develop a road-friendly monster of the time. He developed his own supercharged 351 that powered his cars for years. (Editor note: Most of the serialized Saleen Mustangs from 1984-2009 were vehicles supplied through dealer inventory, pool vehicles or dropped ship units from the factory.)
It is easy to forget, the 80’s were not a great time for cars. We had come out of the fuel crisis age and there were land yachts and fuel savers. It was a hard time to be a car guy. The Saleen Mustang reminded us that cars could be fun. His cars were not sleepers, his name was in bright white letters on the windshield and graphics on the bottom of the doors. You knew it was a Saleen from a long way away.
Saleen kept on building Mustangs for Ford from the fox body era to through the early 2000’s. His impressive resume was written in three generations of the Mustang. He continues to build Mustangs long after his partnership with Ford ended.
Once Shelby returned to Ford, it was not long before Saleen was pushed out the door. He continued to build his cars, but they were not sold out of dealerships anymore. Without the factory support, Saleen Mustangs became a niche product. He expanded his aftermarket lines and even developed a supercar of his own, but has not found the popularity he had in the 90’s. (Editor note: Saleen vehicle production hit a zenith from 2005 through 2007 with over 1,500 units annually. Nearly a thousand units annually were produced in 2000 and 2001.)
The values of the Saleen Mustang’s have been slowly rising on the auction market. Hopefully, people will not forget what Steve Saleen did for the Mustang brand and street performance. I will always remember Saleen as the savior of the muscle car. In a time when nobody else would build it, he revived the market.
When Saleen Performance debuted their new S281 for 1996, they resumed to offer a mainline model that featured familiar styling and suspension upgrades on the SN95 Mustang. Introduced as an entry-level, serialized Saleen vehicle to complement their labor-intense and performance juggernaut S351; this first generation of S281 returned Saleen Performance to their roots by focusing to improve handling and aerodynamics characteristics of the forth generation Mustang GT powered by a newly introduced 4.6 liter, 2-valve, “Modular” V8 from Ford Motor Company.
For those in need of more “horsepower,” a little-known available option was to substitute the standard Mustang GT chassis for that of an SVT Cobra with it’s free-revving 4.6 liter, 4-valve V8 engine. This “special” S281 Cobra conversion was elected by eleven customers during the 1996 model year. Production increased to eighteen units for 1997 with newly established publicity and ordering details for the S281 Cobra Edition.
Chris Chrisanti of Illinois was introduced to Saleen Mustang ownership by way of a thoroughly enjoyed 1994 S351 Supercharged coupe (94-0042). With desires of a streetable, less-complex, but equally rare Saleen Mustang; Chris sold his beloved ’94 and began his search for a new steed.
While cruising social media posts in October 2014, a young preteen skateboarder shared a photo of his dream ride, what appeared was a Chrome Yellow S281 coupe with Cobra fender emblems. Further investigation proved futile as this “youngster” would not respond to direct messaging as to the local of this vehicle. Attempts made to contact relatives of the boy were also rebutted. An impatient review of his user profile gave a home state of Florida. Where to begin? CarFax reports were pulled for each of the 1998 S281 Cobra coupes in Chrome Yellow. The lone example last registered in Florida was 98-0075, specifically in Panama City.
With little else to go by, an ensuing search of local dealer inventory took place through the remaining week and weekend. Attempts to locate 98-0075 failed. With nothing to lose, the photograph was referenced again. What clues could assist in locating this dealer? Item of note were: Promo material stuck to windshield, antenna streamer, bright red truck bumper, chain link fence, gravel lot and street corner intersection with newly paved sidewalk.
Again, local dealers were searched with an eye towards finding similar promo items on their vehicle inventory, whether they had a bright red truck listed for sale and where their dealership was located in relation to intersections using Google Maps. Eventually, this dealer was located while 98-0075 was being prepared for resale and prior to promotion on their website. Coincidentally, Chris’ father would be vacationing nearby and agreed to inspect #75 giving a leg up on any competing buyers. A deal and preceding sale was arranged before the dealer publicly offered #75, teasing false hope to many that called looking to make a quick purchase once 98-0075 went public. Causing debates of: “How did this car sell so quickly?”
• Replacement Ford remanufactered long block installed @ 20,000 miles
• BBK full-length headers
• BBK cross pipe w/ converters
• BBK throttle body
• Anderson power pipe
• MSD DIS 4
• Smaller supercharger pulley
• SCT MAF
• 60# injectors
• 340 lph in tank fuel pump
• SCT tuner
• 491 RWHP
• 1999-04 Saleen-style 18×9″ & 18×10″ wheels
Video: 98-0075 from November 2014
Produced during April 1998 and shipped on the 29th of that month, #75 features the most Saleen optional equipment for a 1998 S281 Cobra coupe. Our order began with an Chrome Yellow SVT Cobra coupe featuring the Ford Preferred Equipment Package (Mach 460 sound system and Ford leather seating). Side note: Both Chrome Yellow and Bright Atlantic Blue were introduced on the SVT Cobra during springtime ’98.
After arrival at Saleen Performance’s 9 Whatney facility in Irvine California, #75 grabbed the following: Heat extractor hood (standard for Cobra Edition), Chrome Yellow Speedline magnesium wheels, tire upgrade, Saleen/Recaro leather seating, 2-point chassis brace, and supercharged twin gauge pod by request of dealer.
For the 1998 model year Saleen produced 208 Mustangs, 173 were S281 models, 35 were based on the SVT Cobra chassis, 14 were of the SVT coupe body, 5 SVT coupes featured Chrome Yellow paint and 4 SVT coupes featured Chrome Yellow wheels. Of those, 3 had the Speedline Magnesium Wheels, 2 were equipped with the optional 2-point chassis brace, 2 had the twin gauge pod while 98-0075 was the lone S281 coupe, SVT chassis, Chrome Yellow paint to receive the optional Saleen/Recaro seating.
– Laser Red exterior, Black interior, coupe: 2
– Laser Red exterior, Black interior, convertible: 2
– Laser Red exterior, Unknown interior, convertible: 1
– Black exterior, Black interior, coupe: 1
– Black exterior, Black interior, convertible: 7
– Crystal White exterior, Black interior, coupe: 5
– Crystal White exterior, Black interior, convertible: 5
– Crystal White exterior, Saddle interior, convertible: 1
– Bright Atlantic Blue exterior, Black interior, coupe: 1
– Bright Atlantic Blue exterior, Black interior, convertible: 2
– Chrome Yellow exterior, Black interior, coupe: 5
– Chrome Yellow exterior, Black interior, convertible: 3
Vehicle Title: Clear
Sub Model: Saleen
Engine: 5.0L 302 CID
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Drive Type: RWD
Body Type: Hatchback
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Gray
For Sale By: Private Seller
eBay #: 172456187391
Via G.Marconi, 24 60040
Genga AN Italia
This 1989 Ford Saleen Mustang has just one owner. The car was visited while on the line during production. A true gem, hidden in a Californian garage for over 15 years. Has been recently serviced, even went to Mecum Auctions this past August in Monterrey, California.
Did I mention the low mileage on this original Ford Saleen Mustang. Coming in at 6,700 miles; all original may I state again.
* Ford Mustang Saleen #464
* One Owner
* 5 Speed Manual Transmission
* Under 7,000 Original Miles
* Original Red Paint
* Garage Kept since 1992, Services in June 2016
* Additional original Decals with Purchase
* California Car
* Car cover
From our friends at Saleen Automotive. Congratulations Adam!
Took some pics of this S302 Yellow Label (16-0054) inside since we are having some long needed rain. This Yellow Label is headed to its new home in Kansas to see its owner for the first time. I know you will enjoy Adam!