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KEVIN HEFFERNAN MAKES BID FOR GTP NATIONS CUP WITH SALEEN MUSTANG

On February 23, 2000 at 11:45 PM
Original Article: MOTORSPORT.COM

Another hot contender for the new Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup motor racing series has been confirmed with the launch of a supercharged Saleen Ford Mustang for former V8 privateer Kevin Heffernan.

Heffernan unveiled the car at the Gold Coast this week, featuring the familiar red and white livery of his long-time sponsor, hair-care retail group Price Attack. Fudge hair products will provide additional sponsorship .

The Mustang is one of around 25 ultra-high performance production GT cars that series organizer PROCAR Australia expects to have on the grid for the first round in Adelaide on April 9th.

Others include Monarch Motors’ Lamborghini Diablo SVR, which will arrive from Italy this week for driver Paul Stokell, four new competition-specification V10 Dodge Vipers and a Jaguar XK-R under construction in the United States for Queenslanders Mark Trenoweth and Bob Thorn.

Two Porsche 911 GT3s, a Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge, a Chevrolet Corvette C5 and a Toyota Supra RZ already have competed in pre-season races.

Heffernan is confident the Price Attack Mustang, bought new from a California Ford dealer, is a potential front-runner.

“It should have around 500 horsepower and our racing weight will be 1425 kg. It’s got a six-speed gearbox, four-spot front brake calipers and has been ordered with the optional 18 x 9 and 18 x 10 wheels,” he said.

Heffernan mentioned he was looking forward to the eight-round series, which will feature some of the world’s fastest and most desirable production cars. “We thought Nations Cup would be able to give us a good television package for our sponsors.” He continued, “I still love V8 touring cars, but I don’t think we’re stepping back from them so much as side-stepping into an elite car market. I think the fans will relate strongly to a name like Ford Mustang.”

GTP Nations Cup manager Steve Bettes has been advising Andy Kritikos, of AKG Motorsport, in Zion, Illinois, on the specifications required to build Trenoweth’s Jaguar supercharged V8 coupe.

[Source: motorsport.com]

ALL-NEW 2000 SALEEN SR PROVIDES ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE

FOR RELEASE AT 3 P.M. PST, JANUARY 7, 2000

SR Blends High Performance With Race Technology

IRVINE, Calif. – There’s a new car from America’s best-known performance car manufacturer. The 2000 SR from Saleen takes “street performance” to its ultimate.

With an energizing 505 horsepower from its 5.8 liter Saleen Centrifugal Supercharged V-8 engine and a Saleen Racecraft designed independent rear suspension, the SR takes curves with the same force as it does straightaways.

“We’ve used our racing experience on the track and adapted this technology in the engineering of the SR to create the ultimate street performance vehicle,” said Steve Saleen, president and founder of Saleen lnc. .“The SR goes frdm 0-60 mph ‘very quickly’ and hits a quarter mile speed ‘very fast.”

The 2000 SR is highlighted by Saleen’s 5.8-liter Ford-based engine producing 505 hp and 500 lbs of torque mated to a Saleen six-speed transmission. A custom Saleen driveshaft leads to an IRS differential system at a gear ratio of 3.55:1. Braking is through 14.4” front rotors with four-piston calipers. Rear brakes are 13.0″ metallic discs with four-piston calipers. Unibody construction features a complete roll cage and suspension reinforcement system. A refined Saleen Racecraft suspension includes independent uneven length double wishbones with Saleen N2 triple adjustable shocks and adjustable sway bars in the front and a Saleen-designed push-pull Independent rear suspension.

The SR also includes power assisted rack and pinion steering. Additional features include race inspired seats and a white instrument gauge cluster with a 200 mph speedometer.

The Saleen SR boasts exterior aerodynamic refinements beyond the base complete body panels of the Saleen S281, including a specially-designed composite hood, composite rear bodywork and underbody tunnel. The SR was wind-tunnel tuned at Lockheed-Martin’s full-size tunnel in Marietta, Georgia. The SR comes standard with 18” wheels and Pirelli P-Zero tires. Every body part is unique to the Saleen SR, with the exception of the windows.

The Saleen SR is available as a coupe only. The retail price for the Saleen SR starts at $150,000. Like all Saleen vehicles, the 2000 SR is available only at Saleen Certified Ford dealers nationwide. For a list of Saleen Certified Ford dealers, contact Saleen at 9 Whatney, lrvine, CA 92618, call 949-457-9100 or go to www.saleen.com.

Saleen manufacturing facilities include complete research, engineering, design and assembly capability. Saleen is certified by the federal government as a specialty vehicle manufacturer. Saleen manufactured vehicles meet all the same Federal government regulations as those of large automobile manufacturers, and come with a full factory warranty.

Since the company’s inception in 1984, Saleen has produced over 7,000 vehicles, more than any other specialty manufacturer. The company’s line includes Saleen S281, S351 sports cars, Saleen XP8 sport utility and Saleen Performance Parts, the latter a complete line of performance and appearance products for Mustangs and Explorers.

Contact: Michael F. Hollander, Pacific Communications Group 310.224.4981

9 Whatney Irvine, CA 92618
t 949 597 4900
f 949 597 0301
www.saleen.com

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SALEEN MUSTANG S281

By: DUTCH MANDEL on November 11, 1999
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 49, ISSUE 46

Saleen: the world’s largest tuner or the smallest manufacturer?

350 hp @ 5000 rpm; 410 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Base price, $29,900; as tested, $40,344

When is a tuner not a tuner, and is instead a manufacturer?

It’s a question not of semantics nor philosophical debate, but of pride. It is also a question Steve Saleen begs to ask. Saleen argues that by definition tuner companies get cars or trucks and bolt onto them go-fast, look-trick, be-pretty parts. On the other hand, Saleen gets a car virtually as a body in white and puts it together from the ground up. In this way the company is able to tune suspension, drivetrain and many other parts-all while maintaining quality control-unequalled in the tuner car world.

That question asked, even the government identifies Saleen as a specialty vehicle manufacturer, which requires the Southern California-based company to build cars under the same strict governmental guidelines for safety, emissions and quality as those that regulate DaimlerChrysler or General Motors.

Saleen has a point. One of the first things you notice in getting behind the wheel of the 2000 model year S281 Mustang is the fit and finish; everything seems to fit and it looks finished, neither of which can be said for fly-by-night jobbers. The white Saleen gauges integrated in the instrument panel match a pair of supercharger boost gauges tucked in a dash-mounted housing that appears to have come from Dearborn. It has not, of course, and this is where Saleen’s argument begins to bear weight.

Take a look at some of the other interior details attributable to Saleen: An extremely close-ratio gearbox moves in shifts that can’t stretch more than four inches, whether from first to second, or second to third. The shifter isn’t fitted with a knob so much as a form-fitted thick stalk which begs to be grabbed and directed. Even the throttle, brake and clutch pedals are cleanly customized with Saleen identification. Subtle Saleen identification.

Which seems another touchstone for tuners: the insistence on making it known to the free world This Car Is Tuned By (Fill In The Blank). Please guys-including you, Saleen-learn a softer, gentler touch. We understand the want to brand a car, but the overuse of over large, bright graphics is closer to scarification. This Saleen would be best with the exterior graphics removed-let the exceptional, almost sinister profile grab attention, and the S281’s mighty performance do the talking.

It is amazing what 350 supercharged horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque will do for the Mustang-even a Mustang without the Cobra’s independent rear suspension. But this suspension works. It’s a hybrid MacPherson strut front with Saleen Racecraft struts and variable rate springs. Keeping the front end locked down is a serious 1.38-inch antiroll bar. In the back is the tried-and-true live axle, this with lower trailing arms, stabilizer bars and a Quadra Shock system, also fitted with Saleen-calibrated units.

The fun is in the driving. And if you need to crank up the fun quotient a bit, find some moist pavement with newly fallen leaves. All we can say, after the heart stops its fibrillation, is thank goodness for traction control and ABS, both of which are on the S281.

When driving the S281 on clean, dry pavement, the car’s mature behavior is immediately noticeable. It doesn’t want to dart and shoot willy-nilly. It sets a track and takes the line. The ride, while not luxury-sedan smooth (nor should it be), is not at all uncomfortable as many high-performance cars can be. The question, of course, is could you own and drive this as a daily commuter?

Sure you could. The likelihood is that for its 25-percent premium over the base Saleen Mustang (the S281 we tested topped out at slightly more than $40,000, which includes dealer destination) you’ll want to keep it in the garage for special cruising. You wouldn’t be alone as in the 16 years since Saleen first plied his trade, he’s produced more than 7000 vehicles. And that’s a far step ahead of where tuner cars-or perhaps better and more accurately said, specialty vehicle manufactured cars-once were.

MW: 4th ANNUAL SALEEN SHOW AND OPEN HOUSE

Editor Note… From our friends at MustangWorld.com.

TEXT: MUSTANGWORLD
PHOTOS: GLENN MOLLER

Buckle your seat belts! There were some amazing stangs at the ’99 Saleen show. We got some pics from different sections of the show including a supercharged 2000 Saleen Mustang! Let’s cut to the chase and check out the pics:-)

The show took place at Saleen Headquarters in Irvine CA.

[Source: MustangWorld.com]

LEADER OF THE PACK

By: DAVID CZURAK on May 10, 1999
Original Article: GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS JOURNAL, VOL. 17, ISSUE 19

Keller Picks Up Speed With Vehicle Line, Pace Car

It was a match made in Gasoline Alley. Well, not really, but close enough. Keller Ford and Saleen Performance Cars inked their deal after bumping into each other in the grease- and oil-stained paddock area of the West Michigan Grand Prix after last summer’s inaugural race. Now Keller Ford is an exclusive seller of two of Saleen’s high-performance Fords, with another beefed-up model on the way.

Saleen Performance Cars, based in Irvine, Calif., has carved out a niche for itself in the specialty manufacturing field by taking showroom vehicles and turning them into road runners, sporty cars with more style, power and range than the production models. Sports Car Club of America driver Steve Saleen started the business in 1984. Today Saleen has five divisions, including design and engineering, and a national network of dealers. In between, the firm has converted over 6,000 vehicles.

Keller Ford, on Alpine Avenue NW, became one of those dealers last fall. The Walker dealership has two thumpers for sale; the Saleen XP8 Explorer and the Saleen S281 Mustang. The Mustang, a sleek and shiny black machine with hot-pink piping that was co-designed by Saleen and Keller Ford, is the official pace car for the second running of this summer’s Grand Prix. A pumped-up Saleen F-Series pickup truck will arrive at Keller later.

Going back to July, Keller Ford provided all the cars and trucks for last summer’s Grand Prix. Saleen was there, too. His firm is a partner with TV star Tim Allen, who raced a Saleen Mustang here last summer. After the racing was done, the two companies met.

“Steve was very impressed with the job that we did. He approached us after the race and wanted to know if we wanted to be one of the exclusive Saleen dealers in West Michigan and we accepted,” said Rob Keller, owner of Keller Ford. “They’re considered a very specialty vehicle manufacturer that converts models into more of a high-performance vehicle.”

The Saleen 281 Mustang comes with a standard 4.6 liter-engine – capable of producing up to 285 horsepower – racing suspension and 18-inch wheels. Add a Saleen “Roots” Supercharger and the horsepower jumps to 350, and 19-inch wheels also are available. The “standard” model starts at $28,590.

If that’s not enough Mustang, there is the Saleen S351 that does 0-to-60 in 4.6 seconds and reaches 122 miles-per-hour in a quarter-mile run. The S351 can crank out 495 horsepower and comes as a coupe, convertible or speedster. Prices start at $50,445.

“With Saleen’s experience racing in the world’s premier motorsports events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we have truly created the fastest vehicle on the ground,” Saleen said. The Mustang was bred at the Saleen/Allen “RRR” Speedlab, a partnership between the racer and “Home Improvement” star.

Saleen also offers an Explorer XP8 at Keller’s, a bulkier version of the popular Ford sports utility vehicle. The XP8 has a standard 5.0 liter V-8 with 222 horses that can be souped up to 286 horsepower. It has a special carbon fiber hood and racing brakes with 13-inch discs. The XP8 sells for about $37,000.

Once again, Keller Ford is providing the track trucks and pace car, 14 vehicles in all, for the race, which runs from Aug. 27-29.

“All of the vehicles are for sale,” said Keller. “Some, like the pace car and a few of the other Saleens, have commitments made on them. But there are others available.”

Besides Keller Ford, Grand Prix sponsors include the Gainey Corp., Meijer Inc., Pepsi, CenturyTel, Speedway gas stations, Johnson Controls, Country Fresh, MichCon, Budweiser, Purple East, Michigan National Bank and BF Goodrich.

The early corporate response to Grand Prix II has pleased race officials, especially West Michigan Grand Prix Association President Sam Cummings. “We believe that through our awesome partners and sponsorship sales, we will see a strong interest in early ticket sales,” said Cummings. Race tickets are on sale now.

The Business Journal honored last summer’s three-day event by presenting Cummings and WMGPA Chairman Dan DeVos with its annual Newsmaker-of-the-Year Award in March.

S351 RATED AMERICA’S FASTEST “STREET-LEGAL” RACE CAR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Top-Of-The-Line Saleen Mustang S351 Smokes The Competition,
Blends Sleek Styling With Ultra-high Performance

“This is a car that does everything the way God intended it to.” AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE

IRVINE, Calif. – Faster than a speeding bullet, Saleen’s S351 Mustang is a combination of superior engineering and sleek styling, making it the quickest sports car on the road today. Besides speed, the S351 offers optimum handling and comfort.

“We’ve used our racing experience on the track and adapted this technology in the engineering of the 351 to create the ultimate performance vehicle,” said Steve Saleen, president and founder of Saleen Inc. and the Saleen/Allen “RRR” Speedlab. “The S351 goes from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and hits a quarter mile speed at more than 122 mph, making it the fastest sports car in America.”

The S351 is highlighted by Saleen’s 351 cu. in. Ford-based engine and six-speed transmission, producing 495 hp and 490 lbs of torque, 13” front brake rotors with four-piston calipers and a refined Saleen Racecraft suspension. Additional features include race inspired seats and a white instrument gauge cluster with a 200 mph speedometer.

The Saleen Mustang S351 boasts exterior aerodynamic refinements from the base Saleen Mustang S281 including a specially-designed composite hood, composite rear wing and rear fascia. The 351 also comes standard with 18” wheels and Pirelli tires.

The Saleen S351 is available as a coupe, convertible or ultra-exotic Speedster. The suggested retail price for the Saleen S351 Mustang starts at $55,990. Saleen vehicles are available at Saleen Certified Ford dealers nationwide. For: list of Saleen Certified Ford dealers, contact Saleen at 9 Whatney, Irvine, CA 92618, call 949-457-9100 or go to www.saleen.com.

Saleen facilities include total research, engineering, design and assembly capability. Saleen is certified by the federal government as a specialty vehicle manufacturer. Since the company’s inception in 1984, Saleen has produced nearly 7,000 vehicles, more than any other specialty manufacturer. The company’s line includes Saleen Mustangs, Saleen Explorers and Saleen Performance Parts, the latter a complete line of performance and appearance products for Mustangs and Explorers.

Contact: Michael F. Hollander, Pacific Communications Group 310.224.4981

9 Whatney Irvine, CA 92618
t 949 597 4900
f 949 597 0301
www.saleen.com

INTRODUCING: SALEEN POWERFLASH

The quickest, most effective performance improvement for Mustangs is now available from Saleen. PowerFlash, the first and only automotive performance computer, provides immediate improvements in horsepower and torque for your Mustang. The PowerFlash does what no “chip” can do because it’s not a chip. PowerFlash is a completely new program for your Mustang, which is loaded directly into your vehicle’s PCM computer. It doesn’t try to modify the stock code within the PCM computer; it replaces it with new performance programming.

Your car’s PCM computer contains the logic to control the powertrain. Within this code, there exists over 4,000 variables. By utilizing the Ford Research Console, which is the implementation tool of the Vehicle Data Acquisitions System, Saleen calibrates the code for maximum performance at every aspect of engine operation. PowerFlash is custom calibrated to each vehicle application, and also eliminates the speed limiter. This new performance calibration delivers an additional 8 horsepower and 10 lbs.-feet of additional torque across the full power range. It additionally includes an option that modifies automatic transmission shift points for stronger upshifts and an option that will correct the speedometer for either a 3:55 or 3:73 gear ratio.

The base retail price of the Saleen PowerFlash is $199.99, plus shipping and handling. The automatic transmission shift point option and speedo correction for different axle ratios option are $50.00 each. The price includes special packaging and one-day turnaround by professionally trained Saleen technicians.

Responsiveness by the millisecond. The new Saleen PowerFlash performance calibration gives the Mustang more performance, more driveability and more reliability, with none of the driveability issues of chips.

NORTHWEST’S LARGEST AUTO COMPANY EXPANDS WITH MERGER

Damerow Ford Joins Thomason Auto Group Under Asbury Auto Group Banner

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 14, 1999–Damerow Beaverton Ford, the Pacific Northwest’s largest Ford dealer, has announced a merger with Asbury Automotive LLC (Asbury), whose headquarters is located near Philadelphia.

In May, 1998, Thomason Auto Group of Portland, the largest automobile multi-dealership in the Pacific Northwest also merged with Asbury and formed Asbury Oregon Automotive (Asbury Oregon).

Scott Thomason said the two local dealerships, operating under the Asbury umbrella, will have sales nearing $1 billion by the year 2000.

With the addition of Damerow to its other 90 franchises, Asbury becomes the third largest auto retailer in the nation with 1998 annualized revenues of $3.2 billion.

When the merger is completed, Thomason Auto Group and Damerow will hold the number one local market sales position in every one of the following brand categories: Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

Thomason is president and chief executive officer of Asbury Oregon. Roderick Livesay is chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Asbury Oregon. They will work with John Francis who remains as senior vice president and general manager of Damerow Beaverton Ford. Francis also will be responsible for the Ford Motor Company relationship for Asbury Oregon.

Thomason said the merger will strengthen the position of Thomason and Damerow, giving customers greater selection, lower costs and better service.

Damerow executives George R. (Randy) Francis, long-time president of the company, and his son, John Francis, were instrumental in the merger decision. Financial terms were not disclosed regarding the merger, which should be completed by March 31, 1999.

Damerow’s 1998 sales were nearly $175 million, making it the leader among Ford dealerships in the Pacific Northwest. The company employs 280 and occupies 15 acres of property at its various dealership sites in Beaverton. The Damerow dealership headquarters is located at 12325 S.W. Canyon Road in Beaverton.

Asbury Oregon Shows Significant Growth

Together with Thomason Auto Group, Asbury Oregon projects $850 million in sales in 1999. The combined companies will have approximately 1,200 employees.

“The goal of the merger is to provide customers with lower prices and better service,” said John Francis.

“In addition to advantages for our customers, it will bring more opportunities for many of our employees,” Francis continued.

Thomason said, “Our merger with Asbury Auto Group gave us the capital needed for expansion. This is the first step in our expansion plans and we are very excited about it.”

“Consolidation is occurring in the auto sales industry,” Thomason said. “We can offer our customers economies of scale and we can maintain strong local sales, marketing and services with less threat of domination by an outside force.”

In addition to strengthening Asbury’s position in the Northwest, the Damerow acquisition also provides Asbury with a major entry into the growing Beaverton market.

Damerow: Beaverton Success Story

The Francis family has been involved in the automobile sales and service business since 1913 when the Francis Motor Company opened its doors on Grand Avenue in northeast Portland. The company was founded by Randy Francis’s uncle, C.E. Francis. Randy’s father, George L. Francis, later joined his brother and became general manager. The company eventually grew into one of the largest Ford dealerships in the nation.

In 1952, Herb Damerow was awarded the Ford franchise in Beaverton and asked Randy to join him. The Damerow location appeared to offer a better career opportunity and Randy accepted a management position there in 1955. Herb Damerow died in 1958 and Randy Francis purchased the dealership.

“It’s been my life. I’ve always been fond of the industry and it has always fascinated me, even in the beginning when I was involved as a race car driver,” Randy Francis said.

John Francis has been in the auto sales and service business for 31 years. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in business and returned to the family’s dealership to advance from assistant new car manager to new car manager. He then joined a business partner to purchase Gresham Ford and they sold that business to Brian Bickmore in 1989. Francis returned to Damerow to become a partner, senior vice president and general manager.

Thomason Ranks Nationally

Thomason Auto Group began as a single Ford dealership that Scott Thomason purchased from his father. Since that time, the company has entered the top tier of dealerships in the nation. Last year, the company sold over 27,500 vehicles. Net annual sales have climbed from $240 million in 1993 to approximately $545 million in 1998. Thomason ranked number 32 among the nation’s 22,000 dealerships in 1997.

[Source: Business Wire]

TIM ALLEN TO DRIVE IN WEST MICH. GP

By: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on July 7, 1998
Original Article: AP ONLINE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) Tim Allen will be behind the wheel this weekend at the first-ever West Michigan Grand Prix.

Allen, who plays Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on the popular sitcom “Home Improvement,” will drive a Saleen Ford Mustang Sunday in the World Challenge Championship series’ Touring 1 division race. He’s also expected to take a few practice laps on Friday.

“There couldn’t have been a better time to get the news that Tim Allen is coming,” said race spokesman Tim Wondergem.

While more than 33,000 people have purchased tickets for the weekend event, Allen’s appearance is expected to boost attendance by as much as 25 percent.

Allen’s driving has been in the news for two reasons. He has raced professionally for four years in the World Championship T1 series, and is part-owner of the Saleen-Allen RRR Speedlab racing team. He also pleaded guilty in 1997 to drunken driving and checked into a rehabilitation clinic as part of a court-ordered sentence.