2001 Saleen S7 Press - Design



Slinky Shape Refined In Wind Tunnel

IRVINE, Calif. — There’s something about a supercar that’s different – sensuous lines, scoops and wings, an aerodynamic purposefulness that sets these cars apart. Supercar design traits must combine form and function in order to permit stable speeds in excess of 200 mph while also pleasing the eye. The all-new Saleen S7 meets both challenges.

Phil Frank, a long-time design consultant with Saleen, penned the S7’s body, using computer-aided drawing techniques. Saleen, Inc. and famed British racing house Ray Mallock, Ltd. used extensive work in a wind tunnel to add superior aerodynamics to the finished skin. The S7’s shape says “supercar” but the overall design is distinctive and not derivative of any other car.

The drag to lift ratio, center of gravity, co-efficient of drag and the downforce generated by the S7’s body were all considered as part of the refinements produced in the wind tunnel. Full underside aerodynamics help reduce turbulence below the body and improve overall stability at high speed. Traditional Saleen design signatures – like functional gills and fascia openings –provide cooling and are integrated to also provide superior airflow around, through and under the car. Example: Side scoops help cool the transmission while split radiators exhaust under the car and to the sides to create additional down force. The Saleen S7’s shape provides arguably the best overall aerodynamics of any production car ever built.

The team selected an autoclaved composite body over a space frame chassis with honeycomb reinforcement. By using the carbon-fiber composite, a significant weight reduction was possible while providing increased strength over steel.

“The carbon fiber body is so beautiful, we hated to paint it,” said Steve Saleen. “But the BASF paint we’ve selected provides smoothness and a beauty of its own.”

The body houses trunks front and rear and provides through the rear window a unique view of the engine – a feature mandated from the beginning to help define the S7’s supercar status. Steve Saleen describes it as, “American V8 under glass!”

The S7’s doors open up and away from the body, another distinctive feature designed into the car as part of its supercar pedigree. A unique and functional roof intake system feeds air to the engine, while a nose scoop supplies high volume flow-through cabin ventilation.

Electrically controlled side mirrors extend on pillars to provide optimum utility. Covered projector beam headlights meet worldwide regulations.

The Saleen S7 is certified for sale in both the United States and United Kingdom. Designed and built at Saleen’s Irvine, California manufacturing facility, the S7 is sold in the U.S. through select Saleen Certified Ford dealers and other newly added Saleen Certified dealers specializing in exotic automobiles. Vehicles for Europe and the Middle East will be produced at a satellite facility in conjunction with RML located in England. Worldwide volume is projected to be 300-400 cars over the estimated four-year production run. Work has begun on a less-expensive, higher volume model that will help achieve sales goals.

The Saleen S7 went on sale at its introduction at the famed Monterey Historic Races on August 19, 2000. First vehicles will be delivered to customers in the second quarter of 2001. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $375,000.

The 2001 Saleen S7 is a proof of concept for what Saleen, Inc. has been building for 17 years. As a federally certified specialty vehicle manufacturer, Saleen has produced over 7000 vehicles – using and perfecting the efficient Niche Manufacturing process, which is now being studied and adopted by the world’s major automakers as they strive to quickly and economically bring small volume products to market.

Saleen, Inc. facilities include total research, design, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities. The company’s line also includes the Saleen S281 Mustang, Saleen XP8 Explorer, the SR Widebody, Saleen Performance Parts, and Saleen Engineering and Certification Service.

Michael F. Hollander, Pacific Communications Group – 310.224.4981

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