Tag Archives: Featured

SALEEN LAUNCHES S1 CUP SERIES

SALEEN RETURNS TO AUTO RACING WITH LAUNCH OF SALEEN CUP SERIES

High-performance vehicle manufacturer partners with SRO Motorsports Group
to introduce with world’s first professional-level “arrive-and-drive” series,
designed to showcase new Saleen 1 model

Five-race schedule will coincide with Blancpain GT World Challenge America,
June 7 to Oct. 20, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (March 1, 2019) – One of the most successful marques in GT racing history is returning to motorsports with the introduction of a single make series designed to showcase the world’s newest turbocharged mid-engine sports car.

Steve Saleen with Saleen 1 Cup car
Steve Saleen with Saleen 1 Cup car

The Saleen Cup, which was announced today during a press conference at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is being presented via a partnership with SRO Motorsports Group, and will run concurrently with the Blancpain GT World Challenge America. The single-make series invites drivers to be among the first in the world to experience the Saleen 1 on five iconic race tracks throughout the U.S. As the first-ever professional qualify “Arrive-and-drive” series, the five events will be supported by 20 track-ready cars maintained, prepped and transported to race venues by Saleen – offering prospective drivers and enthusiasts a turnkey, once-in-a-lifetime racing opportunity – plus a chance to win a factory seat in Saleen’s GT4 entry throughout the 2020 season.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Saleen 1 Cup Series to the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule for the 2019 season,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. “The Saleen name is instantly recognizable to every race fan and I have fond memories of the wonderful S7-R competing in the FIA GT Championship more than a decade ago. The new Saleen 1 is an exciting new project for the brand and the “arrive-and-drive” concept is the ideal way to showcase it al some of the most iconic circuits in the United States. I look forward to the inaugural event at Sonoma Raceway in June.”

2019 Saleen 1 Cup
2019 Saleen 1 Cup

“The Saleen Cup is the next chapter in our company’s return to motorsports,” and Steve Saleen, CEO and founder of Saleen Automotive. “Racing is in the DNA of everything we do at Saleen. The technology and design of the new Saleen 1 model is a direct result of extensive track-testing and development, so it’s only natural that the new model makes its debut on some of the most iconic racetracks in America.”

“Racing one of our cars on these legendary tracks will change your life – not to mention the way you look at driving – forever,” added Saleen. “The Saleen Cup Series gives racers and mainstream enthusiasts this unforgettable experience and serves as the ultimate proving ground for the Saleen 1.”

Gabriele Cadringher recently joined Saleen as director of motorsports and will lead the Saleen Cup. The former technical director and consultant for FIA and Grand-Am will use the five-race events to further hone the track capabilities of the Saleen 1.

Uniquely, the Saleen Cup is open to standard “D” licensed drivers, and offers a distinct professional-level racing experience, in which each car is equally prepared and maintained in-house, including back-up cars, plus transported to each race event. The Saleen Cup also features two racer teams, which can split the cost for participants and offer more affordable racing opportunities. At the conclusion of the five-race series, category champions in the Saleen Cup will secure a factory seat driving in Saleen’s GT4 entry for the entire 2020 season.

The Saleen Cup will consist of five racings scheduled for the second half of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America, and kicks-off at Sonoma Raceway in California Wine Country in June. Drivers who are able to compete in the five races through October 20 are now being actively recruited. Information on the Saleen Cup is available at www.SaleenCup.com:

  • Sonoma Raceway (Calif.) – June 7-9, 2019
  • Portland International Raceway (Ore.) – July 12-14, 2019
  • Watkins Glen (NY) – August 30 – Sept. 1, 2019
  • Road America (Wis.) – Sept. 20-22, 2019
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV) – Oct. 18-20, 2019

Saleen’s innovative Saleen 1 model was recently unveiled as a major breakthrough for the venerated high-performance vehicle manufacturer, headquartered in Corona, Calif. Boasting innovative chassis design and performance influenced by Saleen’s legendary S7 supercar, the 450hp turbocharged 2.2-liter, four-cylinder Saleen 1 marks the latest in the company’s Saleen Original line.

For more information on the Saleen Cup, visit www.SaleenCup.com. For more information on the Saleen 1 model, visit www.Saleen.com, or follow Saleen on social media using Facebook at Facebook.com/Saleen , or by using @Saleen on Twitter and @Saleen on Instagram.

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[Source: Saleen Automotive]

ALPHALUXE: SALEEN S7 ALL-AMERICAN HOLISTIC SUPERCAR

Saleen S7 All-American Holistic Supercar

By: JOSH LOWE on February 13, 2019
Original Article: ALPHALUXE.COM

Saleen Automotive
The Saleen brand was established in 1983 originally as Saleen Autosport. Steve Saleen is a racer: a former professional Formula Atlantic race driver. Racing is at the heart of what Saleen has been doing for more than 30 years: Building fast cars and trucks that can compete on both street and circuit. Simple enough, it seems. But there’s more to it than that. Being fast isn’t just about closing the gap between points A and B. It’s about balance and consistency. And it has to be accomplished within the rules. It requires a “big picture” perspective because a driver’s car is more than just a collection of systems.

Saleen Supercar S7 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S7 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Building a well-balanced sports car, be it for the track or for the street, requires a holistic approach. This was demonstrated in August 2000, when Saleen unveiled the S7. The first successful American supercar that also became a successful race car, securing a class win at the 2010 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as an upset victory at Imola in 2004, in front of Ferrari’s executives, VIPs, and journalists.

Saleen HQ

Saleen Automotive (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Automotive (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

We arrived at Saleen’s Corona, California headquarters on a rainy January morning. After amiable introductions, we were given a guided tour of the facilities by the man himself. As we passed through the workshop filled with Mustangs and trucks in various stages of completion we’re given an overview of the company. A dark red Saleen Mustang from the 1980s is parked in one corner and a pre-production example of the upcoming S1 sports car reposes nearby.

Steve Saleen shows S7 LM engineering (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Steve Saleen shows S7 LM engineering (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Saleen guides us through the workshop, describing the extent to which they alter the cars and trucks that are eventually offered for sale. Saleen not only has to deliver improved performance, it also must be tested and certified for use on public roads. The Mustangs that Saleen sells are extensively changed from their factory configurations. Only the doors and quarter panels remain unchanged, according to Saleen. But, he also points out that designing the S7 from the ground up freed them from having to implement the workarounds associated with re-engineering an existing platform, such as the Mustang.

S7 Development

Saleen Supercar S7 back black (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S7 back black (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

As we move through the R&D area, Saleen recounts the early development of the S7. The green light to build the car was given in December 1999 and it was formally unveiled in August 2000. It was first visualized in one-fifth scale foam, then in CAD. It was wind-tunnel tested at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Assembly took place at Saleen’s previous facility in Irvine, California. The original iteration of the S7 was powered by a naturally aspirated, 7-liter, aluminum small block V8. The final product was a head-turning, mid-engine, 550 horsepower, American supercar. If not the absolute first of its kind it’s certainly more credible and successful than the Vector W8 and M12. The S7 promised a 3.3 second 0-60 time and an 11.3 second standing quarter mile. It also promised a future on the race track.

Saleen Supercar S7 LM cockpit (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S7 LM cockpit (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

When asked if the 24 Hours of Le Mans was specifically taken into consideration when designing the S7, Saleen’s answer is short and direct: “Racing was taken into consideration.” Not a specific race or circuit, not even a track with the unique demands of the Circuit de la Sarthe. This comment resonates. It’s not about specific numbers. It’s the whole picture. The S7 was built to be both a street legal supercar and a race car that could compete at the highest levels. Relatively little separates the two. The S7 was made to go racing and that’s exactly what it did.

The racing variant of the S7, dubbed S7-R, made its racing debut at Laguna Seca in October 2000. Less than six months later, the S7-R won its class and finished sixth overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Then came a podium finish and an 18th place overall finish at Le Mans. The S7-R went on to compete and succeed in multiple sports cars and endurance racing series for nearly 10 years.

Winning Ways

Saleen S7 LM (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

In 2004, the S7-R raced at the FIA GT 500 km of Imola. Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo had convened a gathering of motoring press and VIPs to celebrate the racing debut and “inevitable” victory of the Maserati MC12. The MC12 was essentially a rebodied Ferrari Enzo and the team running the two entries at Imola was comprised of elements of Ferrari’s factory Formula 1 team.

“They brought everyone in from the Formula 1 team to run [the MC12] with the exception of Michael Schumacher. Jean Todt, who was the [F1] team manager, oversaw the operation. All of their mechanics, and they even had Mika Salo as their main driver.” – Steve Saleen

During what was supposed to be an easy win for Ferrari, the Vitaphone Racing Team had intentions of their own. Drivers Michael Bartels and Uwe Alzen powered the #5 Saleen S7-R to an overall victory at Imola, in front of Ferrari’s home crowd. The all-American S7-R supercar clinched overall victory at Ferrari’s home track Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari against two Maserati MC12, three Ferrari 550, three Ferrari 575 and two Lamborghini Murciélago in the GT Class.

Di Montezemolo issued a public mea culpa, crediting the competition for a clear-cut victory. In 2010, the S7-R went on to achieve an LMGT1 class victory and 13th place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The S7-R had proven itself to still be competitive at a high level nearly 10 years after it was originally designed. Considering the rate at which sports and endurance racing cars age into obsolescence, this was a remarkable feat.

Back to the Future

Saleen S7 LM assembly area (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM assembly area (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

At this point of the tour, we’re led to an enclosed workshop occupied by three S7 chassis in various stages of completion. They are part of the final run of 7 cars, called the LeMans Edition. These cars boast an output of 1,100 horsepower on California 91 octane fuel. But they have a trick up their figurative sleeves, too: They can also run E85 flex fuel. The S7-LM has a sensor that detects if E85 is present and automatically raises the output of the twin turbo V8 engine to a staggering 1,300 horsepower. The weight of the car is nearly unchanged, thus giving the S7-LM a serious power-to-weight ratio.

Saleen S7 LM wheel hubs and brakes (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM wheel hubs and brakes (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Two of the S7-LM are in the early stages of construction and the third appears to be a finished car. It’s a bit of heaven for car nerds. Suspension components, crash structures, and other components that aren’t easily seen on completed vehicles can be closely examined. We’re given an opportunity to see just how beefy and well-machined some of the mechanical pieces like the wheel hubs are. At one point, we’re handed a carbon composite door. Even with glass installed the entire door only weighs about 13 pounds.

Saleen S7 LM Door (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM Door (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Saleen then described the process of testing and re-testing the crash box at the front of the car. Not only does it protect occupants, it also protects the suspension. Saleen explains that the S7 was designed to withstand a significant front impact without compromising the suspension. This kind of durability is a benefit on both a street or a race car, and it harkens back to the holistic approach to building cars that Saleen uses.

Saleen Supercar S7 LM protection cell (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S7 LM protection cell (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Finishing Line

Saleen Supercar S1 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S1 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

Motorsports fans may look back at the days of Ford vs. Ferrari at Le Mans with fondness and nostalgia, but it’s worth noting that the fight didn’t end in the 1960s. The names and participants may have changed, but that racing spirit lived on and will hopefully continue to do so as the Saleen S7 becomes eligible to participate in historic racing. There are discussions about an S7 Reunion to be held in Monterey, in 2020.

Saleen intends to design and manufacture cars under the Saleen name. Unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Saleen S1 is due to launch in 2019. The S1 sports a 450 horsepower, mid-mounted, turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. While it’s not a monster like the S7, the S1 clearly shares its lineage. There racing plans for the S1 too. Hardly a surprise when looking back to the start: Steve Saleen is a racer.


In the Side-View Mirror by Michael Gallardo

Our visit to Saleen was a great experience. Steve broke down the two major sides of business: “Signature” and “Original.” The Signature side consists of chassis delivered from an existing manufacturer being modified to Saleen’s specifications including the S302 and the Sportruck. The Original side of the business is where the really special stuff happens such as the S1 and the almighty (no pun intended) S7.

Saleen S7 LM assembly 2 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM assembly 2 (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

We were shown the process of the S302 builds and were able to see all of the detail that Saleen puts into their cars. Steve told us “Everything on the cars has a purpose…” and proceeded to point out various aspects of aerodynamics that were focused on when designing the new generation of Saleen Mustang. Saleen offers three levels of builds on the S302: White Label, Yellow Label, and Black Label. Each one comes with a warranty and plenty of options to choose from.

After showing us the Signature side, we went to a separate building where the Original side of operations is. We were shown the new S7 Le Mans Edition in three different forms.

Saleen S7 LM cockpit assembly (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen S7 LM cockpit assembly (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

The first form was essentially bare chassis and we were shown how the design is extremely safe as it was meant to have the driver survive a crash at an extreme rate of speed rather than just being designed to pass the typical safety standards. Next to it was another chassis with interior bits and some other things added, then finally the complete car.

Saleen Supercar S7 LM front (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe
Saleen Supercar S7 LM front (photo by Josh L) @alphaluxe

When asked about the future, Steve said, “We have two other cars [besides the S1, S7, etc…] beyond the drawing board that you’ll see here in the future…”

It is very clear that the company has some new tricks up their sleeves and it will be exciting to see what comes next for Saleen.

[Source: AlphaLuxe]

2019 SALEEN CLUB OF AMERICA NATIONALS: JUNE 26-30, 2019

16th Annual Saleen Club of America Nationals2019 Saleen Club of America Nationals
* Featuring all Saleen Special Paint Vehicles!
* The 2019 Saleen Club of America Nationals will be held in Deadwood, South Dakota June 26-30, 2019.
* Host hotel information here.
* Meet Saleen Automotive executives & sales staff

 

THE SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY
* Morning – Bus Tour of Historic Deadwood
* Evening – Early Bird “Meet & Greet” at host hotel Bar and dinner on your own.

THURSDAY
* Morning –  Cruise to Mount Rushmore (Parking fee is $11.00 per car)
* Lunch with the Presidents! (on your own)
* Afternoon – Cruise to Crazy Horse ($12.00 per person)
* Evening – Cocktail Hour and dinner on your own
* Slot Tournament

THURSDAY EVENING
* Evening group dinner at the Tap Room in the Omni Hotel

FRIDAY
* Morning – Cruise to Devil’s Tower ($25.00 per car)
* Lunch on your own in route
* Free Time

FRIDAY EVENING
* Evening – Welcome Bash at The Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis, SD. This will be a pizza buffet with a cash bar.
* Local Show
* “Trailer Talks” in the parking lot of the hotel

SATURDAY
* National Car Show

SATURDAY EVENING
* Awards Dinner – Stay tuned for menu

SUNDAY
* See Ya Breakfast…
* Cruise to Badlands ($25.00 per car)

LOCATION
Deadwood, South Dakota

Hosted By
Saleen Club of America
PO Box 274
Odenville AL 35120

Event Website
https://www.facebook.com/events/248388342537305/

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: Saleen Club of America]

SALEEN SSC (89-0025SSC)

With humble beginnings of long ago Saleen Autosport, it is easy to forget how momentous their achievement was with bringing the 1989 SSC to market. This high-performance 5-liter Mustang was a juggernaut of excitement to 1980s performance vehicle communities. Evidence of this can be seen with the many period cover stories, feature articles and road reviews for Saleen’s new SSC Mustang.

89-0025SSC - Brad Bowling
89-0025SSC – Brad Bowling

Beyond the infamous 89-0002 (former 01) SSC and Steve’s personal 89-0001 SSC, there were an exclusive number of privately owned Saleen SSC Mustangs running through reviews of supercharger and nitrous kit installations was well as basic performance data collecting for various enthusiast magazines. The Saleen SSC was a media king for 1989.

Many of these print publications would mention or proclaim how Saleen’s SSC was the “unofficial” 25th anniversary edition Ford Mustang. Given how Ford Motor Company lacked offering a special edition of their own. This “media stir” caused superfluous attention from customers towards SSC serial number 25. A new era of modern collector cars was gaining momentum by the late 80s.

Here we are thirty years later. As expected, a few Saleen SSC editions are no longer accounted for and have positively left the earth. Though, 89-0025 SSC still exists. Perhaps the noise of time diluted their fanfare, but this “Super Saleen” broke the obstacles for a continuing stream of exciting product from an intimate Southern California company. -DB

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Continue below for 89-0025 SSC sales details and photos.


1989 Ford Mustang
cylinders: 8 cylinders
fuel: gas
odometer: 18000
paint color: white
title status: clean
transmission: manual

Selling my 1989 Mustang Saleen SSC. This is only 1 in 160 SSCs ever created. This is a early production #25 with only 18k original miles. 5.0 engine and manual transmission are quiet and smooth.

Original paint that still has the pinstripe laser etching. No accidents. Interior is near perfect.

Car is in excellent condition, runs and drives great. Near mint interior. Still has the Saleen installed pioneer radio with eq and speaker box in the backseat.

Well documented as well.

Just ready to move onto something. Asking $35,000. Serious people only.

https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/cto/6760226177.html

FORD NATIONALS, CARLISLE, PENNSYLVANIA MAY 31 – JUNE 2, 2019

Carlisle Ford Nationals, May 31 to June 2, 2019

SOEC weekend hospitality tent

Vehicle Classes:
131: MUSTANG – 1984 – 1993 SALEEN
133: MUSTANG – 1994 – 2004 SALEEN
135: MUSTANG – 2005 – 2014 SALEEN
137: MUSTANG – 2015 – Present SALEEN
139: SALEEN POWERED (truck, Focus, S7, etc)

CLUB:
Choose SALEEN OWNERS AND ENTHUSIASTS CLUB in the club drop down menu on registration to help us help you.

Carlisle Events Website:
www.carsatcarlisle.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carlisle Holiday Sale November 23rd – January 2nd

This year the sale returns and kicks off on Black Friday, November 23; running through Wednesday, January 2 at 5 p.m. For more than one month, fans of Carlisle Events and the 10 events produced by the company (plus four auctions backed by Carlisle Auctions) can secure all types of access at a 20% discount. This 20% discount includes season passes and showfield registration; again all at a 20% discount.

https://store.carlisleevents.com/

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SPP PRE-ORDER FOR 1999 THROUGH 2009 WHEELS

From our friend Spring Hebler.

Saleen Performance Parts to Reintroduce Wheels for 1999 through 2009 Saleen Mustangs

Breaking News!

Saleen Performance has just announced they are taking pre-orders for these long-obsolete and much-in-demand Saleen Mustang wheel sets for your 1999-04 and 2005-09 Mustang.

Whether it’s the 1999-04 5-spoke, 18″x9″/10″ wheels, or the 2005-09 7-spoke “Wagon Wheel” style, 20″x9″/10″ wheels, pre-order yours today!

Pre-orders must be prepaid, with a production forecast of 5-6 months. Sold in full sets only. Available in standard silver metallic or chrome.

For details and to provide payment information, please contact Spring Hebler at Saleen Performance via email, shebler@saleenperformance.com or call 800-888-8945 with your name, phone number and desired vehicle fitment.

You can also join Spring’s list on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spring.c.hebler

Be sure to mention you saw it on the Saleen Forums at soec.org!

Remember, you must pre-order and pre-pay to help make this happen and to guarantee you get your wheels!

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RESTORATION COMPLETE: SALEEN S7 03-031R

By: FLORENT MOULIN

We are very proud to present a selection of pictures of the Saleen S7R GT1 chassis 031R after its in-house restoration by Art & Revs. It was a real joy and moment of pride to put the car in our studio after working so hard for such a result.

The great 031R was ordered together with 029R in late 2003 by ACEMCO, an important US company in the motor car industry in the US. The aim was to compete at the highest level in ALMS and Le Mans, notably against the factory Corvettes ran by Pratt & Miller. ACEMCO had by this time built up a fantastic racing team around Ron Mack and Jim Bell.

This legendary car raced in the 2005 ALMS including an 8th overall finish at Sebring 12 Hours and it finished second in the Championship. The pinnacle of its history came certainly in 2006 when it raced at Le Mans 24 hours, finishing an impressive 11th place overall, making 031R the first Saleen to ever finish the world’s most prestigious endurance race. This important result bears testimony to the car’s performance and reliability.

The car was not used in 2007 and 2008, and was sold to Europe in 2009 to be raced in the FIA GT Championship with K Plus K, driven by Karl Wendlinger and Ryan Sharp, notably winning Silverstone’s Tourist Trophy among other motorsport firsts. Back then the competition between Maserati, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Saleen was at its height.

Very few know the S7R’s history and that the first series of S7Rs were actually engineered and built at RML in UK. However the « Evo » version was totally re-engineered by Saleen in their all new factory at Irvine in California, this is where they also built the 4,000 Ford GTs on behalf of Ford. 029R & 031R were the first Evo cars built and accordingly benefited from all new chassis, suspension, gearbox and aero. The Saleen S7 7.0 liter engines were in fact built from Ford`s 5.0 liter « small » block and reliability has always been a real issue. It has to be said that the engines built at Roush-Yates have always been disappointing and notably deprived most of the S7Rs from finishing Le Mans.

In the first stages of their Saleen project, ACEMCO being generously funded, contracted Panoz ( Elan Technologies ) to build up a 7.0 liter version of their largely proven LMP900 engine, originally a 6.0 liter. The Elan 7.0 liter was a total success and ACEMCO would never retire because of an engine failure. In unrestricted specifications, 031R’s engine recently shown 728 HP on the dyno at Elan after its rebuild. Only the two original ACEMCO cars would actually be equipped with the fantastic Elan engine and four units were built.

031R was completely stripped down to its bare components by Art & Revs and meticulously restored and reassembled by our highly skilled staff, most of whom have a large experience in Formula 1 or Endurance.All of the car’s components were reconditioned or replaced in close collaboration with the original suppliers wherever possible, just like the engine which was rebuilt at Elan. For safety purposes, the major components were crack tested.

This highly iconic silver S7R is now ready for new adventures on the historic racing scene and more widely in the classic car world. This is a great part of the Saleen S7R legend, the first all-American supercar to ever compete at Le Mans and in major international championships.

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[Source: Art & Revs]

22nd ANNUAL SALEEN CAR SHOW & OPEN HOUSE

PHOTOS: SOEC MEMEBERSHIP

2018 marked the 22nd year of our annual Saleen Show and Open House. This year, attendees were treated to a special presentation for the 2019 SA-35 Mustang. This 35th anniversary edition will exclusively be available in black paint with yellow and white accents. The SA-35 will be limited to a production run of 10 units.

A number of special Saleen vehicles were on display from past model years. Unique and custom paint vehicles as well as previous anniversary editions.

Our festivities closed with an award presentation recognizing attendees with the “longest distance traveled” and top three vehicles in each show class. A festive Saturday enjoyed by all!

We thank the Saleen community for your continued support. See you next year.

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: SOEC Membership]

FMM: SALEEN’S 1988 R-MODEL RACER

MUSTANG BIO
Fox Afire – Saleen’s ’88 R-Model Racer

By: MARK LAMASKIN & KEVIN ADOLF on March 2014
Photos: KEVIN ADOLF
Original Article: FOX MUSTANG MAGAZINE

Collection of General Tire Saleen Mustangs
Collection of General Tire Saleen Mustangs

Race on Sunday; sell on Monday. It’s an old adage that’s been around for decades, and it has worked for car manufactures all over the world, including Saleen.

Most know that Steve Saleen began building custom street cars in the mid-’80s. What many don’t know is that by 1986 Steve was building and racing Saleen R-models. Saleen built 16 factory R-models, fewer even than Shelby’s 26 R-models. Because as few were built, it’s even rarer to see one in person, let alone four under one roof.

The most recognized Saleen race cars are nicknamed the “bumble-bee” cars from 1987 to 1989. Saleen built only eight of these R-models from brand-new cars, and they were destined to be race cars from day one.

1987 Race Team
1987 Race Team

Saleen campaigned these cars from 1986 to 1989 in an endurance race series, constantly testing them at 12- to 24-hour races with multiple drivers. The venue, the SCCA Escort Endurance Race Series, was sponsored by the Escort Radar Detector company. Escort and Saleen had other partnerships throughout the Fox-body ages, since an Escort radar detector was an option when purchasing a Saleen from the dealer. The Escort Endurance Series was intended to showcase the best that all the manufactures had to offer and was better known as Showroom Stock, meaning the cars had to be raced in the same trim as if you purchased the car off the showroom floor. Keeping the cars mostly stock was to deter “ringers” from being custom built by the manufacturers. All cars had to have a production VIN, and only minor modifications were allowed.

88-0020R Saleen Mustang
88-0020R Saleen Mustang

The only allowable engine modification was engine blue-printing and balancing for durability, while for the suspension, shock and spring changes were about it. As for interiors, all cars had to have a SCCA-approved roll cage, fire system, and race seats. Other than those few changes, the cars were stock inside. The passenger seat was a stock Saleen Flofit. The door panels were still stitched with the Saleen logo. The dash was stock. All of the interior panels were truly Showroom Stock. That’s about where “stock” ends with these cars, though.

As with any form of racing, Showroom Stock or not, if you want to be out in front you need to push the boundaries a bit. Saleen went one step further by hiring Dave Dixon, a former F1 engine builder, to head up their engine program. A factory-stock Mustang 5.0 would put down about 200 rwhp on a chassis dyno, but a Dixon-built motor put down 265 rwhp, giving the Saleen team a distinct advantage over its competitors.

Dixon had the task of finding a little more horsepower out of the completely stock power plant while keeping the overall appearance as stock so the SCCA officials would be none the wiser. One way he found extra power was to use a set of preproduction GT-40 cylinder heads with a stock E7 casting equipped with a set of factory-appearing, stamped rocker arms with a larger ratio. During a visual inspection, they looked completely stock. Another trick was a then-new process called Extrude Hone, running an abrasive material through the intake runners under pressure to open them up without creating visible porting marks as with grinding. This increased the flow to match the GT-40-style cylinder heads.

88-0020R Saleen Mustang
88-0020R Saleen Mustang

To help hide the unapproved modifications that Dixon had done to the cylinder heads, he had them shot-peened to look like factory castings. Inside the engine, one last mod was a custom camshaft that Dixon spec’d with stock life values, but with custom overlap and duration which was optimized for the high rpm seen during road racing. Another trick Dixon found was a Lincoln LSC speed-density intake tube, which flows more air than the stock Mustang piece. As well, he took the stock Ford headers and slightly ported them to increase exhaust flow. Behind the headers, all R-models used a Ford Motorsport off-road pipe and 2 ¼-inch DynoMax mufflers.

Another thing you may notice is that ALL of the ’87-’89 Saleen R-models are Speed Density and not Mass-Air. Dixon found that the stock Speed Density computers worked better with these modifications but needed to be upgraded to 24-pound injectors to compensate for the increased airflow. Dixon would actually have Saleen try dozens of ECUs to find the best one for each motor since they had to be factory sealed and never tampered with. This may sound like a lot of work to go Showroom Stock racing, but… well, welcome to racing.

Collection of General Tire Saleen Mustangs
Collection of General Tire Saleen Mustangs

The cars ran stock T-5 transmissions, but they too were blueprinted to ensure reliability under 24-hour abuse. Ratios remained stock, but Saleen would use 3.55:1 and 3.08:1 rear gear ratios, depending on the track. The rear differentials were prototype parts from Auburn. The “Pro” differentials they currently sell was prototyped on the Saleen race cars. This a cone-type differential that gave the Saleen Rs a better launch off the corners.

These completed engine packages also included hidden stamps on all of the parts. Each engine was issued a specific number, so when they were rebuilt none of the parts got mixed up.

The tricks of the bumble-bee cars did not end with just the drivetrain. Saleen also massaged the body to accommodate 8-inch-wide wheels in the front with one inch of added track width. This additional front track kept the cars square with the additional inch of rear track from the Saleen rear disc brakes with 8-inch rear wheels. The ’86-’88 cars ran the stock Saleen brakes on all four corners, but the ’89 cars ran a set of upgraded JFZ front brakes because Ford offered them in the Motorsports catalog. Saleen’s tire sponsor was General Tire, and they provided the team with G-compound race rubber that was much wider than the tire size branded on the side of the tires – another advantage Saleen.

Suspension was also not quite stock. Saleen installed harder bushings in a few of the control arms, and each car had specific springs to account for the driver’s weight and to optimize corner balance and cross weights. The ’88 cars had 750-pound fronts and 300-pound rears, depending on the track, but the later ’89 cars ran 1,000-pount front. With all of these modifications the cars were still close to factory weight due to the addition of the roll cages, but they started lighter than stock due to the lack of A/C and other power options.

The racing history for each car is unique because there could be as many as five drivers at any one race. The list of drivers for these Saleen R-models reads as a “who’s who” of late-80s’ big name drivers, including Tommy and Bobby Archer, Calvin Fish, Rick Titus, Pete Halsmer, George Follmer, Desire Wilson, Lisa Caceras, and of course, Steve Saleen. The tracks they raced are also renowned: Road Atlanta, Mosport, Mid-Ohio, Sebring, Sears Point, Portand, Road America, and Brainerd.

ABOUT OUR FEATURE CAR
Today, its racing days are over, this rare racer resides at Performance Autosport in Richmond, Virginia, part of a set of four General Tire bumble-bee Saleen R-models. Owner Mark LaMaskin and a Performance Autosport customer have carefully preserved this part of Fox Mustang history. But even as pedigreed R-model racers with obvious collectability, these cars still get exercised at the track now and then – keeps ’em happy.
88-0020R Saleen Mustang
88-0020R Saleen Mustang

SPECIFICATIONS:
PRODUCTION
Saleen R-Model 1987-89 8
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase (inches) 100.5
Overall length (inches) 179.6
Overall width (inches) 69.1
Height, hardtop and hatchback (inches) 52.1
Front track (inches) 57.1
Rear track (inches) 57.0
Curb weight (pounds) 2,890
Base price $21,500 (est) – Street Model
Current est. value depending on race history $60,000-$90,000
ENGINE
Type V-8
Bore and stroke (inches) 302
Displacement (CID/liters) 5.0
Compression ratio 9.2:1
Horsepower, factory rating 225 @ 4200 rpm
Torque, factory rating 300 @ 3200 rpm
Horsepower, actual rwhp on chassis dyno 253 @ 5000 rpm
Torque, actual rw torque on chassis dyno 308 @ 3600 rpm
Induction EFI
Camshaft single, in block
Valve size, intake/exhaust (inches) 1.78/1.46
Exhaust dual pipes/mufflers, off-road H-pipe
SUSPENSION
Front suspension modified MacPherson hydraulic shock struts with coil springs and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension four-bar link and coil spring system, w/anti-sway bar
Steering power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Brakes, front power-assisted 11-inch rotors – single piston calipers
Brakes, rear SVO rear disc – single piston
Tires General XP2000Z – 245/50/16
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission, manual (standard) T-5 five-speed
Axle Ratio 3.55:1
PERFORMANCE
Quarter-mile (seconds) 13.9
0-60 (seconds) 5.8

[Source: Fox Mustang Magazine]