Tag Archives: Mustang


By: PETE LYONS on April 14, 2008
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 58 ISSUE 16

He’s a firm giant, too, and Dan Gurney is making sure more than his name
goes into Saleen’s new Mustang

“If my name’s on it, I want a very user-friendly automobile. It should be able to withstand a certain amount of abuse and still not work up a lot of perspiration. It’s an elusive thing, but it’s well worth reaching for.”

Dan Gurney’s name is indeed on this car, and it sure is a name worth protecting.

That’s why one of the great drivers of American auto-racing history-who is also a longtime manufacturer of race cars (Eagle) and motorcycles (Alligator), though he’s never produced a street car-has been personally involved in developing Saleen Automotive’s new Gurney Signature Edition Mustang.

In particular, Gurney has been insistent that its ride and handling meet his exacting, distinctive standards, never mind that only 300 will be made and selling the entire run probably would require no more than his name.

Not that Saleen CEO Paul Wilbur had any such plot in mind when he approached Gurney about five months ago. A fellow race driver with keen appreciation for the sport’s history, Wilbur certainly knew that Mr. All-American Racer has never been able to keep his hands off his cars-cars that have won in Formula One, IndyCar, GTP and so many other spheres.

So, although this project is a direct follow-up to Saleen’s successful 2007 venture with Parnelli Jones and his own version of the Mustang, Wilbur fully expected Gurney to call for something different.

How different is it? For one thing, the Parnelli edition’s V8 was “honed and bored” to the historic Trans-Am displacement of 302 cubic inches and was rated at 400 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Gurney’s retains the standard 281 cid (4.6 liters) of Ford’s sohc, three-valve engine, but Saleen adds its supercharger package, wherein the belt-driven, twin-screw blower with intercooler nestles neatly in the engine’s V. Power is 465 hp at 5800 rpm, with torque of 425 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.

“It’s a doggone nice engine. It feels good,” is Gurney’s verdict. “And it still feels light.”

The cars differ in style, too. Gurney’s celebrates the two times he raced a Mustang for Shelby American in 1969, before the cars grew separate rear wings. That suits Gurney just fine. “If you have a choice between gaudy and stealth, give me stealth every time.”

True, “stealth” isn’t quite the word for the car’s graphics package, but at least owners will be able to peel off their magnetic number roundels. (The first production car, pictured here, which will become Gurney’s own, had decals applied amid the inevitable rush to make its world premiere at the recent New York auto show.)

There are other unique elements-hood, fascia, interior trim, five-spoke wheels, new Pirelli Corsa tires-but what makes this edition special is Gurney’s personal touch on the suspension. He’s been flogging a mule car on roads and tracks around Southern California, working with Saleen engineers Derk Hartland and Steve Stafford to capture that elusive user-friendliness.

He explains what that means: “Usually, you’re driving below what you consider to be the margins of the particular road. Now, if you have mis-calculated and you find yourself approaching a turn too rapidly, or maybe getting close to driving over the double line, a user-friendly car says, ‘Aw, don’t worry. I’ll just help you turn some more. I still have some margin left.’ That’s a great feeling to have!”

In contrast to many Saleen buyers, who Wilbur says are track-focused and willing to accept a harsher street ride, Gurney wants his signature car to blend high performance with highway comfort. “You’ve got a spectrum,” he says; he wants a full-spectrum car.

Above all, he wants one that doesn’t demand “a high-strung, kind of razor-sharp driver in order to cope with it. If you’re unfamiliar with the road and the conditions, and you find yourself going slightly too fast, if you’re in a car that’s razor-sharp in terms of its reaction to your input, then it can be a serious problem.”

He demonstrated to AutoWeek on an autocross course how close he is to reaching his goals. In his hands, his 001 car is magic, of course, but even in ours, it feels marvelously responsive and quick, predictable and stable, flat and taut but not tight. Yes, it’s very user-friendly, very forgiving. In half a lap, we started throwing it into moves we knew would provoke many others to bark or bite, but this car just seemed to be laughing.

As Gurney quipped through his timeless grin, “Even though you’ve got the tail out, it’s controllable, it doesn’t give up. It gives you confidence that you shouldn’t have!”

Last-minute tuning was ongoing at the time of our test, dialing in the final ride heights and spring and damper rates and differential lockers. And Gurney still had to put his stamp on his car’s open-road, rough-road behavior. What a ride-along that would be …

“This is kind of funny,” he commented. “Here I am approaching 77, wanting to do a signature car. It’s probably something they don’t want to broadcast, how old this old fogy is, but it doesn’t change the sportiness and the user-friendliness and the ‘I’ll work with you’ kind of attitude that the car exhibits, once you get it right, and I think that’s an ageless situation.”

We could not resist asking, does Gurney have any notion of a race-off between his Mustang and that of his old racing rival and enduring good friend Jones? That famous face crinkled again.

“You know, as a joke, when they asked me if I’d do it, I said, ‘Yes, if you can make mine handle better and be a little faster than Parnelli’s.’

“I’m sure Parnelli’s is a very good car. But, we’ll have to see.”


By: BOB GRITZINGER on January 28, 2008
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 58 ISSUE 4,

$100,000 Mustang Honors Company’s Silver Anniversary

Saleen will offer a commemorative 25th-anniversary Mustang as its first product of the post-Steve Saleen era. The 25th Anniversary Sterling Edition Ford Mustang S302E has a supercharged, 5.0-liter, 620-hp, 600-lb-ft V8, plus custom 20-inch wheels, special suspension and brakes, 25th-anniversary interior and exterior badging and a parts catalog’s worth of extras.

It costs $100,000- if you can get one. Only 25 will be built, with deliveries beginning in March. Owners get a first-class trip to Troy, Michigan, for an executive-guided tour of the plant (where Dodge Vipers are painted and Ford GTs were built), a Saleen leather jacket, a custom car cover and a photo album documenting the car’s build.

Company founder Steve Saleen resigned last year (“Saleen Minus Saleen,” AW, May 28, 2007). Investment firm Hancock Park Associates bought it in 2003. HPA added Michigan-based American Specialty Cars to its stable in 2007 and merged the two specialty manufacturers.


By: N.A. on September 22, 2007

Right-hand-drive converted models of the latest Ford Mustang GT have been approved for sale in Australia.

Performax International this week announced it would import coupes and convertibles from the US for conversion for Australian roads following ADR approval.

A company spokesman says the 4.6-litre V8s will be available at $115,000 ready for registration throughout Australia, with a four-year 120,000km warranty.

Ford Australia does not import the cars and the company is not liable for warranty claims or servicing.

The hot Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe, with a supercharged 5.4-litre engine, will be available at $179,990. The high-performance Saleen Mustang is also on their agenda.


By: JASON TRAHAN on August 19, 2007

Aug. 19–Chris Wilks’ car probably got him in trouble early Saturday morning. But it also got him out.

About 2:20 a.m., he was driving his black 1999 Saleen Mustang home in Cedar Hill after a night out with friends. At Clark and Wheatland roads, a Chevy Avalanche pulled alongside. A man inside tried to get his attention, but Mr. Wilks, 25, is used to that.

“I get looks every single day I drive that car,” he said.

But this time, offering a compliment isn’t what the other motorist had in mind.

“The light turned green, and he pointed a gun straight at me and pulled the trigger,” Mr. Wilks said. The shot missed both him and the car.

Mr. Wilks floored it, and the muscle car’s 425-horsepower engine enabled him to quickly leave the Avalanche behind.

It eventually caught up, however, and the gunman fired twice more, missing each time, according to a police report.

Mr. Wilks, who has worked as a stunt driver, lost his pursuers again, dialed 911 and eventually turned around and began chasing them to get a license plate number.

After nearly three miles at speeds above 100 mph, the pickup lost control, crashing through a fence and striking a backyard shed at Trees Drive and Middleton Road.

As neighbors began congregating, a propane tank inside the shed exploded, setting the house on fire. No one was injured, and part of the house near the garage was damaged.

Police recovered a .45-caliber pistol. They arrested Arturo Avila, 18, of Grand Prairie and Christopher Nevarez, 19, of Arlington on charges of aggravated assault. Each was being held at Lew Sterrett Justice Center in lieu of $25,000 bail late Saturday.

Mr. Wilks said police told him that if he hadn’t had such a quick car, he might not be alive.

So, will he keep it?

“To be honest with you,” Mr. Wilks said, “I really don’t think so.”


Original Article: DAILY RECORD, THE

ROCK Radio DJ Kieron Elliott is revving up his engine for the famed Cannonball Run.

In the race across the USA, daredevil Kieron and his co-pilot, Real Radio MD Billy Anderson, will travel in a 600bhp Saleen Mustang for the race from New York to LA on July 29.,

Kieron said: “Getting the opportunity to do this is a dream. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and complete the race.”


By: DONOHOE GRAEME on July 13, 2007
Original Article: SUN, THE

Hunk in 1m Dollar US road race

DAREDEVIL TV star Kieron Elliott is revving up to win $1million by outrunning US cops in a real-life Cannonball Run dash across America.

Kieron, 33, is one of more than 400 hellraising petrol heads taking part in a wacky race from New York to Los Angeles on July 29.

The flying Scotsman, above, from Airdrie, will take the wheel of a Mustang Saleen for the 2,900-mile coast-to-coast trek.

And the former River City star has a few tricks up his sleeve to foil cops – just like screen hero Burt Reynolds in the classic Cannonball Run flick.

Keiron, now breakfast DJ for Rock Radio 96.3FM, has air support to help him win – drafting in a HELICOPTER to help avoid police. He grinned: “Cannonball Run has to be one of the best films ever and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves.

“The helicopter will be going ahead to look out for cops so we have a ticket to go as fast as we want.”

Kieron – who played cancer sufferer Duncan Robertson in the BBC soap – will be racing with radio pal Billy Anderson.

The super-rich racers stump up Pounds 5,000 just to take part.

Kieron and Billy hope to be a hit with the ladies at the riotous parties being thrown along the route to LA.

Kieron beamed: “We’ll be wearing our kilts the whole way. I’m really looking forward to the parties.”

Kieron will be phoning in with daily updates for his Rock Radio show – and listeners will have a dream chance to win his super-fast Mustang.


~ Winner Takes Home a New Saleen S281 “Extreme” ~

IRVINE, CALIF. – Saleen Inc., manufacturer of the world’s fastest production car – the Saleen S7 – today announced it will be sponsoring the world’s largest road rally: “The Great AmericanRun.” This event marks the state-side arrival of Europe’s most famous road rally taking place July 29 – August 4, 2007. To celebrate the inaugural U.S. rally, Saleen Inc. has been commissioned by Cannonball Run World Events, Inc. (CRWE) to uniquely modify 25 stock Saleen S281 “Extreme” Mustangs with an additional 50 horsepower (aftermarket upgrade*), and identical black-on-black paint and graphics packages. CRWE has reserved one of the modified 600 horsepower “Extremes” for the winner of the event.

On July 29, 2007, 400 cars will start from four originating cities: Washington D.C., New York, Atlanta and Miami, to embark on a 3000 mile coast-to-coast free-for-all. Each night, entrants will enjoy luxury hotel accommodations at four star hotels and extravagant parties. Each of the cars will ultimately regroup in Las Vegas, where the remaining drivers will gather for the final leg of the rally to Los Angeles for the event’s award ceremony and track day at the historic Willow Springs Raceway.

“Saleen is proud to support an event of this magnitude that brings together all types of enthusiasts and all types of performance cars – foreign and domestic – in a fun and safe environment,” said Steve Saleen, founder of Saleen Inc. “Our mission is not just about building the highest performance cars in the world, but also about building opportunities for car enthusiasts to share great experiences with each other. The Great American Run will be an experience enthusiasts will talk about for years to come.”

CRWE is well known for developing safe and fun events with a track record of seven successful rallies. In fact, the object of the rally is not who can reach the final destination first, but rather who can most closely attain an average speed of 61 mph over the 3000 mile route.

“Safety is paramount to this event, and in the previous five years and seven events held in Europe, we have never had a serious accident,” said Tim Porter, chief executive officer of Cannonball Run World Events. “We believe that this is due to the way we police our events with very strict rules. The object is to complete the course with an average speed at or below the national speed limit, rather than racing to be the first car to arrive.”


The 2007 Saleen S281 “Extreme” is quickly becoming known as the world’s fastest production Mustang. With 550 horsepower, 525 lb-ft of torque, Saleen’s patented Racecraft suspension, close-ratio six-speed transmission, 4:10 rear gearing with a Maxgrip differential, high-flow cooling system, 15” slotted and vented disc brake system, and numerous additional internal and external performance enhancements; the “Extreme” rivals all competitors in the high-performance sports car world, including the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ferrari 430, Porsche 911 Carrera and the Dodge Viper SRT-10.

For the “Great American Run,” CRWE will be commissioning Saleen, Inc. to modify 25 stock Saleen S281 “Extremes” and having them converted to 600 horsepower, with aftermarket options available soon through the Saleen SpeedLab®. CRWE has named this exclusive collection of cars “The Ultimate Bad Boy Edition” and will only make them available to race entrants.

The 550 horsepower Saleen S281 “Extreme” is currently available for purchase at “The Saleen Store” and Saleen Certified Dealers for those not participating in the event. Visit www.saleen.com for further product and dealer information.

Saleen S281 Extreme “Ultimate Bad Boy Edition” vehicles are all equipped the same:

2007 Black Saleen S281 Extreme
Aftermarket options include:

  • Forged 5-spoke, one-piece wheels (painted black)
  • 50 Horsepower upgrade* – VOIDS WARRANTY (Aftermarket option available mid-year 2007 as a Saleen SpeedLab product)
  • Numbered gold plaque (provided by CRWE) (Buyers may add upgrades – i.e. scenic roof, tires, stereo system, etc.)
  • Official “Great American Run decals (provided by CRWE)

For more information regarding “The Great American Run” or Cannonball Run World Events, please contact 1-800-619-8593 or visit cannonballworld.com.


Since the company’s inception in 1984, Saleen has produced over 12,000 complete and EPAcertified vehicles, more than any other specialty automobile manufacturer. In addition, Saleen has equipped more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide, further emphasizing their commitment to excellence.

A nine-time Manufacturers’ Champion in GT sports car racing, Saleen manufactures the American super car — the Saleen S7, as well as the S281 Mustang, S331 Sport Truck and the Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang. Saleen’s manufacturing facilities are located in Irvine, California and Troy, Michigan. The Michigan facility has just completed all paint and assembly of the Ford GT as a special project for Ford Motor Company.

* Horsepower upgrades are only available on an aftermarket basis and void the manufacturer’s warranty on the vehicle. Customer is responsible for all emission compliance on any aftermarket powertrain modifications. The 550 horsepower Saleen Extreme is fully emissions compliant. Saleen makes no representation as to the emissions compliance of any vehicles modified by CRWE.


By: TONY REID on April 26, 2007
Original Article: HERALD & REVIEW (DECATUR, IL)

Apr. 26–CLINTON — On the face of it, the Anderson Ford-Mercury dealership in Clinton looks just like your typical car place.

Families come there to shop for their next kid-mover, whether it be a car or van. Working guys buy trucks they need for the job. Would-be owners peer at the window labels, carefully reading the EPA city/highway mileage figures, looking for whatever will give them the most motivation for their buck.

And then there is the sub-section of Anderson customers who couldn’t care less about any of that nonsense. They want potent Mustangs, and they have often ridden many miles — from places like Colorado and Nebraska — to corral their craving at this little dealership with a growing reputation for stabling potent ponies.

We’re talking of a breed of modified Mustang that sells itself with a direct appeal to the driver’s central nervous system. The cars have been reworked by specialist companies such as Saleen of California, for example, which offers Mustangs with tweaked engines, suspensions, interiors and bodywork and has promotional literature that reads like this:

“? Because this is one 335 horsepower beast you can’t break. It was bred to run. Born to be wild. And you have no choice but to set it free. Once you do, you’ll realize that no matter what the title and registration say, you don’t own this car. It owns you, the road, and everyone on it.”

Not exactly your typical Ford family sedan happy speak. And special edition Mustangs can cost up to twice what typical production line versions sell for and are aimed squarely at those motivated by passion and the means to indulge it.

“Most of these customers are not 18- or 25-year-old kids,” said Randy Anderson, the dealership general manager and owner. “They are doctors, lawyers; they are bankers. They are people who years ago wanted a fast car and couldn’t afford it. But now they can.”

So, while fleeting youth may have fled long ago, it’s never too late to gallop after it. Anderson Ford-Mercury has all the means necessary for hot pursuit with a Mustang lineup that includes those cars tricked out by Saleen and a Michigan firm called Roush. And then there are the muscle Mustangs produced by Ford itself, which include the Shelby Cobra version — a factory rocket packing 500 horsepower.

“We’ve sold seven of them this year,” said Randy. “The average dealer might only get one, but because of what we do in Mustangs, even though we’re a small Ford dealer, we’re a top Mustang dealer and we get a bigger cut of the pie. We’ve sold cars to customers in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, all over the place — 50 percent of the cars we sell are to customers outside of Illinois who are drawn by our reputation.”

Still feel a need for more speed? Randy’s brother Rick has a wagonload of goodies waiting over in the Anderson Ford Motorsport division, which he runs. A life-long racing enthusiast, he has developed his own line of go-faster Mustang products ranging from radically modified air and supercharger intake systems to camshafts and even a hand-held computer that lets drivers custom-tune their cars.

The dealership sponsors some very successful Mustang race cars, which earn lots of specialist racing press coverage and win the dealership’s products more fans throughout the nation and all over the world. “Kuwait is one of our biggest foreign customers,” said Rick. “We do a lot with them.”

They sell to both race enthusiasts burning up the quarter mile and regular owners who like to occasionally unwind their potent street cars at the track. The performance cars and parts business is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and the motorsports division fields maybe 1,000 customer enquiries a month. It also ships out a constant stream of mail order parts, while its own service bays are kept busy fitting performance equipment for owners who show up in person, often having driven hundreds of miles for the privilege.

As Rick and Randy speak, a Shelby Cobra convertible is hooked up to a Dyno machine (a kind of rolling road for the wheels while engine performance is monitored by computer.) This limited edition street-legal Mustang costs about $70,000, and the owner immediately wheeled it over to the motorsport section for Rick to modify. By the time the maestro has performed his laying on of hands, the stock 500 horsepower will have been stepped up to about 600.

During a demonstration, the supercharged engine fires into life, roars for a while and then gets punched into what sounds like the equivalent of automotive warp speed with a jet-like whine that seems to come from inside your head before it’s shut off and the computer numbers checked. Rick says the car probably just did the equivalent of 140 mph while standing still and won’t let you down at the local race track.

“Oh, it’s got enough horsepower to go 190 mph,” he says, matter-of-factly.