By: BOB McCLURG on October, 1993



Whenever the name “Saleen” is spoken, either “Steve” or “Mustang” usually accompanies it. However, there is another “Saleen” that figures quite heavily into the over-all scheme of things. That particular Saleen is named “Elizabeth”, or just plain “Liz” to the legions of close friends who know her.

Elizabeth Summer is a by-product of the deep South, born into a modest household in Huntsville, Alabama. Liz and her sister – who still insists on being an “only child” were brought up around the Sixties aerospace industry (Huntsville is home to the NASA Flight Center) during a time when the names “Project Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo” were household words.

In the true Southern tradition, Liz was married at 19, and divorced with two young sons at age 25. Looking to start over again, she packed herself and her two babies into the car, and headed for the Left Coast. To pay bills, Liz took a Civil Servant’s job with the State of California, while obtaining her political science degree at night.

Eventually Summer worked her way up to an executive assistant position on the staff of California Governor Jerry Brown. Liz humorously relates that at the time “He” (Brown) drove an old beater Plymouth. I drove a 1975 Mustang!”

As a member of the Governor’s staff Liz traveled up and down the west coast between Sacramento and LA. for extended periods of time. It was during one of those flights that she met SCCA race car driver Steve Saleen. Later she took a job as Executive Assistant to Mickey Cantor (of recent Clinton Democratic Presidential Campaign fame) who had been appointed the US. Trade Representative. Because of the new job Liz relocated her family of three to LA.

By the dawn of the Eighties “Reaganism” bloomed, so this upwardly mobile young lady Democrat resigned from full-time politics to become the full-time Mrs. Steve Saleen. In 1981 the Saleens became the proud parents of Molly-Anne, one of two exciting events which occurred for them in the early Eighties. The second of course was the founding of their new enterprise, Saleen Autosport.

Operating as Elizabeth Summer, Liz became the full-time P.R. person for Saleen Autosport, Saleen Enterprises and the Saleen Racing Team. It was her job to generate publicity materials, put together brochures, function as press liaison between car enthusiast magazine editors and the company, act as a mouthpiece for the race team, coordinate travel activities, talk to sponsors, and just generally do whatever was required to make things click. By 1989, Liz had ascended to the position of Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for Saleen Autosport.

It’s been ten years since the Saleens founded the late-model Mustang specialty car business, and today Liz is busier than ever! While she still unofficially functions as the “front-woman” for the company, much of the P.R.-related activities have been passed along to a full time P.R. agent.

Instead, Liz now documents and maintains all of the historical and production data covering ten years worth of Saleen Mustang, Saleen SSC, Saleen SC and Saleen SportTruck production, as part of her “Team Saleen” activity. And, if that already wasn’t enough to do, Liz is also involved in publishing a Saleen Owner’s Registry which will be available soon! Busy hands are happy hands!