Tag Archives: Mustang

TOPLESS WONDER

By: KELLY TAYLOR on May 20, 2005
Original Article: WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (MB)

New Mustang droptop as impressive as the coupe

The problem with second chances is that they often show you got it wrong the first time around.

When I first drove the 2005 Ford Mustang — the new one — I was impressed at how well the latest generation of pony cars handled despite its yestertech solid rear axle.

Then when I took it on the track at last year’s Canadian Car and Truck of the Year TestFest, where cars are put through an exacting four-day test program and where the Mustang emerged as Canadian Car of the Year, I was further amazed. Solid axles aren’t supposed to work this well.

So when I stepped into the Mustang this week at Le Circuit de Mont Tremblant racetrack northwest of Montreal, I was expecting to find the problems I missed the first time around.

And while I was able to pick a few nits after driving a convertible back to Montreal, I still couldn’t find any reasonable complaints to make about the Mustang and its surprisingly good handling.

I tried. I went around the circuit for at least 15 laps, including three others with Champ Car racing star Alex Tagliani at the wheel, but it proved itself once again as the best sports car bargain on the market today.

You can toss it through corners with near-reckless aplomb. You can try to force its hand by running it over the apex curbs.

As with any car, you can get it out of shape. A grass fire in the driver’s rear wheel after a 445-horsepower Saleen Mustang got loose and found turf proved that. But you really have to be trying to be an idiot for that to happen.

“I want to know how close to the fence you were,” Tagliani said as graciously as possible to the driver who lost it just ahead of Tagliani.

“I was going too fast,” said the driver sheepishly. Hardly the car’s fault.

But even in non-Saleen form, the Mustang acquitted itself very well on the track. Considering you can get in to a Mustang GT for just a hair over $32,000, that’s quite an accomplishment.

While we had seat time in a coupe, the real purpose was to highlight the convertible, which went on sale this spring.

Considering the few visible changes to the body shape from the coupe, the convertible was surprisingly stiff, thanks to an extra 70 kilograms of high-strength steel in strategic locations around the chassis and an extra brace under the hood.

While it wasn’t as stiff as, say, a BMW Z4, the convertible displayed excellent handling overall, navigating the race track as adeptly as the coupe. Wind noise, at highway speed with the top down, was more than manageable, with fellow auto scribe Harry Pegg and I able to carry on a conversation as easily as in a hardtop.

There was some cowl shake on the worst bumps, and Quebec roads are notorious for their condition, but it was certainly not objectionable. Especially considering the price: $27,995 for a V6 base price and $36,795 for the GT.

The bump to the GT gets you a delightfully throaty, powerful V8, delivering 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The V6 acquits itself nicely at 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.

The nits I found to pick had nothing to do with its handling, power or overall performance. Sure, the five-speed gearbox takes a bit of getting used to before third gear engages smoothly, but there’s little else to complain about performance wise.

Complaints instead are generally minor, with one exception: driving a convertible back from Mont Tremblant to Montreal showed the aluminum brightwork across the dash kicks up waaaay too much glare under sunny skies than is tolerable for the passenger, where the aluminum is most expansive, but also for the driver. The flat black is a much better choice.

Some of the finish work is a tad crude: the box housing the overhead lights seems plunked unharmoniously on the headliner, with crude-looking but good-feeling switches for the lights.

The only trunk release other than on the trunk lid itself is on the key fob, which means you have to fumble for the fob if you need to open the trunk but don’t want to take the keys out of the ignition.

Admittedly, minor, but no objective report on the Mustang could exclude them.

Overall the Mustang, in coupe or convertible form, remains a head-turner.

New for 2006 is a Pony Package, which brings to the V6 version the fog lights of the V8, upgraded suspension and some brightwork inside (fine for the coupes, see above), and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Also out now is the Saleen Mustang, which includes a number of upgrades, starting with a new grille, new front fascia, new rear fascia, new exhaust system and upgraded shifter knob. For even more dough, Saleen will bolt on an intercooled supercharger, bringing horsepower up to 445 horsepower as well as a healthy increase in torque.

An upgraded suspension — but still not independent rear — makes the car handle better but also makes it less forgiving to less-skilled hands. Saleen takes the cars from Ford and does their work before selling them, with warranty, to the public. Saleen Canada is working to line up a dealer in Winnipeg — as part of an existing Ford store — soon.

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Our trip to Mont Tremblant was also intended to highlight the improvements to the 2005 Focus. And while I was quite impressed with its handling on the track, two of the Focuses were retired. One died, another was losing power, a malady corrected quickly with the scan tool. The problems on the one that died weren’t diagnosed. After lunch, no more Focuses were allowed on the track.

Granted, track time stresses a car much more than street driving, especially when piloted by journalists of varying skill levels.

But while driving the Focus on the street, it proved itself as one of the leading cars in the economy segment. It handles great, it’s comfortable to drive and it comes with the Canadian winter package, which adds heated seats and heated mirrors as well as traction control. Good value on those cold, slippery January days.

Aside from some cosmetic changes, which include stiffening for crash safety and a new interior that replaces the odd-looking creation in the original, the Focus remains on the same platform as before.

Look for the next Focus to ride on a revised version of the wonderful Mazda3 platform.

MUSTANG MUSTER OF EXOTIC HORSEPOWER

By: NEIL DOWLING on March 06, 2005
Original Article: SUNDAY TIMES, THE (PERTH)

More than 100 Mustangs are on the loose in South Perth. Neil Dowling lassos three before the muster.

Was there anything before the Mustang?

Did any car create so much passion, look so good, get driven by wild men taming longhaired chicks, win so many races and live on forever in films like Bullitt?

Probably. But you can’t doubt this is an inspirational car.

Today, at Sir James Mitchell Park, on Mill Point Rd, South Perth, a rare bit of the US comes to town.

The Mustang Round-up and State Concours expects to show 105 Mustangs in various degrees of affliction and affection, from youngsters to oldies, coupes to convertibles.

Three cars seen here are examples of what’s on show.

The newest is a 1998 Saleen convertible, the only one of its kind in Australia; a rare V6 LX 1984 convertible; and finally, the first Mustang convertible to reach Australia that was shown at the 1965 Melbourne Motor Show.

The owner of the LX, US-born retiree Brenda Martin, says her 1984 burgundy convertible is her absolute fun car.

It is pristine, partially because it is a low-mileage example and also because Brenda pampers it.

“Oh, no,” she said. “The roof doesn’t go up. It can go up, but I’m a show-off. I keep the hood down and don’t drive it in the rain.”

“That’s what this car is for. It’s a fun car.”

Brenda’s convertible doesn’t have a lot of outings. Originally from South Carolina, Brenda is retired and has the time to cruise.

But she has another car for big trips, winter, night time and when security is an issue.

She bought the car in 1991 from a US entertainer she met in Perth.

The V6 hasn’t got a lot of power, certainly not in the league of the more famous V8 Mustangs, but she prefers it that way.

“I drive slow, so people can see me. Isn’t that what a convertible is made for?” she winks.

The 1984 version was similar to the 1983 series. Brenda’s has an 84kW 3.8-litre V6 attached to an automatic gearbox. The hood is electrically operated.

At that time, Ford even offered a Mustang with a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine for buyers who wanted the look without much else.

The 1984 Mustang was mostly a carry-over from 1983, but there were some changes, including the 153kW high-output 5-litre V8 and a fuel-injected V8 with a four-speed automatic gearbox.

Joyce Allen has the first Mustang convertible to land in Australia.

It was the showcar at the 1965 Melbourne Motor Show that year and has since traveled across the country. Its colour has also changed from a blue-grey to a bright metallic blue.

She has owned the car for 28 years, having received it as a present from a friend.

It is the only car she has owned, and the only one she wants to own.

Unlike Brenda, Joyce drives the car each day. It is due for a bit of a touch up. There are a few spots of rust and the white leather upholstery needs restitching in places. It’s also on its second coat of paint.

Ford was shocked by the success of the 1965 Mustang, selling an unprecedented 559,451 cars that year, of which 73,112 were convertibles.

In 1965, one model year after the first Mustang, Ford introduced the 2-plus-2 fastback and offered a GT pack and power disc front brakes as options.

It also deleted the unpopular 260 V8 and offered the 289 (4.7-litre) V8 in three guises: the 157kW model as owned by Joyce, a 164kW version and a 202kW high-performance model.

A three-speed manual transmission was standard with the four-speed manual option. The 202kW V8 was the exception — it arrived with only the four-speed box. The other option was a Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission.

The third Mustang here is Harry Martin’s Saleen.

This rare 4.6-litre convertible is more likely to be seen at charity events than on the road.

Today’s Mustang show sees it on show, again, raising awareness and helping to raise funds for the Special Air Service’s Resources Trust that helps the wives and dependents of soldiers killed or injured in active service or training.

The raffle, to be run by SAS member Helen Doyle pictured with Harry’s Saleen, has as its prize a Saleen hamper full of rare merchandise from the US company.

TWENTY’LL GET YOU 281

By: MARK VAUGHN on November 8, 2004
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 54, ISSUE 45

Saleen Enters His Third Car-making Decade

Who would have thought when Steve Saleen built three Mustangs in 1984 that it would lead to this? His company has built 9000 cars, from Mustangs, to Ford Focuses, S7 supercars and the mighty Ford GT. There are even Saleen Thunderbirds. While you weren’t looking, Saleen, the company, turned 20.

The latest family member is the S281, Saleen’s take on the new Ford Mustang. S281 production starts Nov. 1, with Saleen modifications similar to those done on earlier Mustangs. There are three models-the S281, S281 S/C and the beefy S281 E-and each gets an exterior designed by Steve Saleen.

Engine work starts with a 325-hp version of the Ford V8 in the base car, a 400-hp supercharged version in the S/C and a 500hp engine in the mighty E. Prices have not been set, but expect to pay about $38,000 for an S281, $43,000 for an S/C and $53,000 for an E.

Saleen has turned into quite the industry player. There are Saleen production facilities in Irvine, California; Troy, Michigan; and Montreal. Saleen’s Michigan facility assembles and paints the Ford GT; S281 s and Focus N20s are made in Montreal for the Canadian market; and Saleen Irvine produces the S281, N20 Focus and S7.

The car that earned Saleen a chance to work on the new Ford GT is his S7. An exotic, all-American sports car that’s the stuff of teen dreams, the S7 has for its short life been, if not cloaked in mystery, then occasionally dressed in it. One question about it: How many exist? Saleen says 53 of the S7 supercars have been built; we called all S7 dealers to verify sales, and the total came to 14. Saleen says those numbers don’t jibe because we have not accounted for 10 race cars, early private car sales that did not go through his dealer network, sales from dealers that no longer handle S7s, and European sales.

While we can’t verify the location of every S7, Saleen has clearly become a major factor in the world of specialty vehicles and shows no signs of retreating to that three-Mustang-a-year rate. Without direct involvement in racing to distract Saleen from building production cars, and with corporate dollars from Ford for the GT plant — and the likelihood of other limited-production supercars yet to be named — Saleen’s third decade looks promising indeed.

SALEEN MUSTANG GETS MORE POWER

By: KATHY JACKSON on November 8, 2004
Original Article: AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, VOL. 79, ISSUE 6120

Dateline: LOS ANGELES —

The 2005 Saleen Mustang will have more power and be sold at more Ford dealerships than the 2004 model. Production began last week.

Saleen Mustangs, built by Saleen Inc. of Irvine, Calif., are aftermarket Mustangs with higher horsepower and sportier looks than production versions.

Saleen Mustangs will come in three models: the base S281 and the supercharged S281 and S281 E.

At the California International Auto Show two weeks ago, Saleen President Steve Saleen said he wants 150 dealerships on board by next spring, up from 75 now. He also said the company is starting a training program to teach dealers how to sell performance vehicles.

All three models will be equipped with 4.6-liter V-8 engines.

The base model, which will be launched this month, makes 325 hp and 240 pounds-feet of torque, compared with 290 hp and 330 poundsfeet of torque for the 2004 model.

The supercharged S281 goes on sale in January. It makes 400 hp, up from 375 last year. Torque is 420 poundsfeet, compared with 415 last year.

The E model will arrive in the spring. It is expected to make more than 500 hp, compared with 445 for the current engine.

Prices will be about $39,000 for the base model, $45,000 for the supercharged model and $55,000 for the E.

2005 SALEEN MUSTANG DEBUT

Photos by: Jim Dvorak
Event: California International Auto Show, Anaheim Convention Center

New Saleen Mustang debuts during
2005 California International Auto Show, Anaheim, CA

2005 S281 Supercharged Saleen Mustang
2005 S281 Supercharged Saleen Mustang

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ANY COLOR YOU WANT, AS LONG AS IT’S ORANGE

Automotive Design & Production
May 2004, Vol. 116 Issue 5

Although some people might think that the long-awaited Ford Escape Hybrid* in actual operation was the big news from the Blue Oval at the New York Auto Show, let’s face it: horsepower rules. So it has to be the Ford Mustang GT-R concept, a bright Valencia Orange 440-hp beast that was the real showstopper–even if Kevin Bacon didn’t have the opportunity to pilot it. About the vehicle, J Mays, Ford group vp, Design, remarked, “We think the Mustang GT-R is an appropriate tribute to the car’s 40th anniversary, and a hint at what’s to come.” (See the cover story of this issue for further clues.) Whether it’s “to come” from Ford or not is probably somewhat of a moot point in that there was care in developing this concept to use lots of existing ’05 Mustang: e.g., 85% of the body components are stock (well, will be when the car comes out this fall) and the Ford Racing “Cammer” crate engine that’s available to racers right out of a catalog (if you have $14,995 that you’d like to put under a hood). The GT-R was built at Saleen Special Vehicles (Troy, MI).

The concept differs from the forthcoming Mustang with items such as fulsome fender flares, giant side air scoops, aero effects, and an unfinished carbon fiber hood with appropriate bulge. And there’s a comparable composite rear spoiler to balance things out. What’s more, there are carbon-fiber belly pans. Inside, there is also carbon fiber, on the IP. As this is a race vehicle, there is a Formula One-style steering wheel fitted: it contains most of the gauge information, with the oil pressure and water temperature gauges being the only two in the IP. Explains Doug Gaffka, design director, Ford Performance Group, “Most racers cobble together interiors. The Formula One-style steering wheel significantly reduces dash gauges to help preserve Mustang’s powerful instrument panel, which is the next evolution of our interior design leadership.” Another thing that isn’t inside: seats other than the driver’s–although there are seat mount tracks on the passenger’s side, just in case.

* Ford executives have been talking about the Escape Hybrid for a long time. Less time, however, than the 37-hour drive around Manhattan that was used to launch the real vehicle (finally). The drive was to prove the fuel efficiency of the Escape Hybrid, which proved that it could get 38 mpg. Among those driving were the soon-to-be mentioned Kevin Bacon. Perhaps if all of the people who have six degrees of separation from him buy one…

SALEEN’S SLEEK, SWIFT MACHINES

By: N.A. on March 28, 2004
Original Article: SUNDAY TIMES, THE (PERTH)

CALIFORNIAN-BASED Saleen has made about 8000 vehicles since it was started in 1983 by avid race-car fan Steve Saleen.

The first saleable Ford-based car came in 1986 when the marque won its first major event at the 24-hour race at Mosport Park, Ontario.

It won there again in 1987 and 1988, becoming the first Ford-powered vehicle to win three consecutive series since the Le Mans campaign in the late 1960s.

Saleen’s cars also won all four SCCA championship titles in 1987.

It raced Indy in 1989 and in 1991 won the SCCA Race Truck Championship using a Saleen Ford Ranger ute.

In 1995 Steve Saleen formed a partnership with TV actor/comedian Tim (the Tool Man) Allen to create a Saleen/Allen Speedlab race team to run Saleen Mustangs in the SCCA series.

It won in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Saleen now makes seven vehicles: The S281, the high-performance S281-E (each in coupe and convertible) and SR Mustang-based cars, the purpose-built S7 racer and more recently a Ford Focus-based N2O Focus.

It used to make the XR8 ute and a modified Ford Explorer.

Details on Saleen are available from www.saleen.com.

YOUR INVITATION: SA-20 ORDERING OPENS

2003 SA-20 invitation
2003 SA-20 invitation

Standard Features and Specifications:
Saleen S281 4.6L 2V 375 HP Engine
Torque 415 ft lb
Saleen Series IV Screw Type Intercooled Supercharges
Saleen Powerflash Performance Calibration
Differential Gear Ratio 3.27:1
Five Speed Manual Transmission
Saleen Twin Gauge Pod, Boost and Air Temperature
Saleen Performance air filter
Saleen Performance Center Exhaust System
Saleen X-pipe

Air Management Design:
Saleen Urethane Front & Rear fascia, side skirts, side scoops
Saleen S281 rear Extreme Wing
Saleen “blacked-out” front grill treatment
Saleen Lightweight vented composite hood
Saleen 20th Anniversary Tonneau

Racecraft Suspension:
Saleen Variable Rate front and rear springs
Saleen front struts (N2) and upper strut bushings
Saleen rear shocks (N2)
Saleen front sway bar and pivot bushings
High performance Pirelli P7000 tires 255/35ZR18 (Front) 265/35ZR18 (Rear)
Saleen Five spoke Special 20th Anniversary Custom Painted pearl white 9″ wheels
Saleen Valve Stem Caps
Saleen high performance wheel alignment and tuned chassis

Styling and Interior:
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special leather sport seats
Saleen 200 MPH speedometer with white face gauges
Saleen performance driving pedals
Saleen close ratio shifter
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special S281 Graphics and Identification
Saleen Windshield graphic
Saleen Fender Badge
Saleen Serialized engine bay plaque
Saleen Serialized bumper number
Saleen Serialized 20th Anniversary console plaque
Saleen Championship wreaths
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special custom carpet door panels
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special custom floor mats
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special key fob
Saleen “Eagle One” detail kit
Saleen owners document portfolio

Color Combination:
Saleen Factory Paint: Pearl White
20th Anniversary Special black and yellow graphics
20th Anniversary Special custom painted Pearl White wheels

Special Anniversary Delivery:
Airfare
Lodging (one night)
Dinner with Steve Saleen
Presentation during 7th Annual Saleen Car Show (September 13th 2003)

Performance Upgrade Options:
Saleen 13″ Brake System
Saleen Performance Cooling Package
Saleen Maxgrip Differential

Exterior Upgrades:
Wheel and Tire Upgrade with 18″ x 10″ Rear Wheels

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