Tag Archives: Mustang

HAGERTY: SALEEN MUSTANGS COMMAND A PREMIUM PRICE

Saleen Mustangs still command a premium price

By: ANDREW NEWTON on November 6, 2019
Original Article: HAGERTY.COM

Values have risen 27–34 percent in 2 years.

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that modifying your car will wreck its value. Fair enough. Doing your own “improvements” out back with a hacksaw and a hammer certainly won’t do your car any favors when it comes time to sell, and buyers are often wary of even professionally tuned cars.

However, it’s not true that deviations from factory stock always make a car less valuable in the long run. Just look at what people are paying for RUF Porsches, early AMG Mercedes-Benzes, and Alpina BMWs these days. What sets those cars apart from the average modified car with bolt-ons and custom wheels is that the RUFs, AMGs, and Alpinas are series-built by well-known, small-volume manufacturers, often with the knowledge of the carmakers, which is a far cry from your local shop.

Another, closer-to-home example is Saleen. With the contract to build the 2005–06 Ford GT, not to mention its own S7 supercar, Saleen has done some big things, but it is best known for building souped-up Mustangs since the mid-1980s. Even the early Saleen Mustangs were carefully and professionally built, and you could buy them through your Ford dealer. They even came with a Ford factory warranty. Saleen also built its Mustangs with racing in mind and in small numbers (especially by Mustang standards), so it’s no big stretch of the imagination to think of Saleens as the Shelbys of the ’80s. Saleens are already significantly more than regular Fox-body Mustangs, and their values have been growing at a faster clip, but check how much a ’60s GT350 is worth and it looks like the Saleens have plenty of room to grow. There’s a reason why we put them on our Bull Market list earlier this year.

88-0001, Saleen Mustang - courtesy of Colin Comer
88-0001, Saleen Mustang – courtesy of Colin Comer

Steve Saleen started Saleen Autosport in 1983, and he built a handful of cars in 1984. Because of emissions regulations, he left the Mustang’s 5.0 engine alone, but the addition of stiffer springs, Bilstein dampers, alloy wheels, and stickier tires were more than enough to turn the lumbering Fox-body Mustang into an entirely different car—a stiff, unapologetic, track-ready corner-carver. Nifty custom FloFit seats, a 170-mph speedo, and Escort radar detector rounded out the interior, while a body kit and bright graphics let everyone know you were driving something special.

Things only got better for Saleen. The company quickly reached an agreement with Ford to put Saleen Mustangs inside Ford dealerships, where they retailed for more than a standard 5.0 GT but less than Ford’s turbocharged Mustang SVO. Saleens also had great success in SCCA racing, including three consecutive wins at the 24 Hours of Mosport from 1986–88, and the company started building modified Ranger pickups in 1987.

1988 Saleen Mustang Convertible & 1987 Saleen Mustang Hatchback - courtesy of Colin Comer
1988 Saleen Mustang Convertible & 1987 Saleen Mustang Hatchback – courtesy of Colin Comer

Steve Saleen was finally able to combine his already effective handling improvements to the Mustang with a more potent engine in 1989 with the Saleen SSC. A larger throttle body, improved intake, new exhaust with high-flow cats, and other improvements brought power from 225 hp in the base car to 290 hp and 325 hp, crazy figures for the ’80s. A heavy-duty battery and clutch, along with larger wheels, were other upgrades. Saleen improved on the SSC further in 1990 with the SC, which makes 304 hp and features better handling and a more aerodynamic body. A Vortech supercharger arrived for ’93, but both SSC and SC were very expensive when new. Saleen sold just 161 SSCs, followed by 28 SCs. Even the normal 225-hp Saleen Mustangs are rare. Production totaled just a few dozen in some years, while even the peak years of 1988–89 produced only a little more than 700 cars annually. Meanwhile, Ford sold over 400,000 Mustangs in those two years. Hard driving, theft, and accidents have taken plenty of Saleens off the road.

After 1993, Saleen went on to build Mustangs based on the fourth-generation cars, but it’s the 1984–93 versions, with their wild body kits, that are arguably the best known. When it comes to how much these standout Mustangs are worth, it’s actually not a Saleen but Dearborn’s own ‘roided-out track-ready Fox-body—the SVT Cobra R—that carries the highest value among Fox-bodies, with a condition #2 (excellent) value of $57,450. The slightly rarer Saleen SSC and the much rarer Saleen SC are a bit behind, with #2 values of $41,450 and $47,700, respectively, while a normal production Saleen Mustang comes in at an average of $24,150. More run-of-the mill sporty Fox-bodies are worth way less. A 5.0 GT is, on average, 45-percent cheaper than a Saleen ($13,300), and a 5.0 LX is 64-percent cheaper ($8650).

While it isn’t a surprise that Saleens are pricier than base cars, they are also appreciating faster than their factory cousins. Across all 1979–93 Mustangs, values are up an average of 16.5 percent over the past two years, and Fox-bodies of all types have been among the hotter cars in the market over that time; Saleens are up anywhere from 27–34 percent over the same period.

Other than the aforementioned 1993 SVT Cobra R, of which 107 were built, no Fox-body Mustang has appreciated faster over the last few years than Saleens have. Like Shelby, the Saleen name commanded a premium price from the beginning, but that premium is getting bigger.

1989 Saleen Mustang - Sandon Voelker
1989 Saleen Mustang – Sandon Voelker

Our Marketplace Editor Colin Comer owns several Saleens and watches the market for them closely. “The production numbers are really low, in many cases much less than the 1965–70 Shelbys, and finding a really good one that hasn’t been crashed or modified or beat to death and still has original parts is already really tough,” according to Comer. “I absolutely think these Saleens will be the early Shelbys for another generation.”

He also notes that the earliest cars are particularly sought after and especially the first dozen-or-so cars, which featured some unique parts. Speaking of parts, “due to the realities of being a small manufacturer that used other people’s parts, a lot of things are tough to get,” Comer adds. “Original radios, wheels, body kit parts, shift knobs, etc. are prized, and for the 1987-and-up cars with Flofit the seat fabric is long unavailable so that’s a biggie.”

Finding a good one is, therefore, worth the wait. And given the bright future these fine-tuned Fox-bodies have on the collector market, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hang on to your Saleen for the long haul, too.

[Source: Hagerty]

1988 HATCHBACK (88-0187) TO HIT MECUM AUCTION

Lot R321 // Kissimmee 2020 // Jan 2-12

1988 Ford Mustang Saleen

88-0187 Saleen Mustang
88-0187 Saleen Mustang

Color: White
Interior: Grey

HIGHLIGHTS
– Unrestored original condition
– Saleen No. 187
– 3-owner lifelong California car
– Sold new at Citrus Motors in Ontario, California
– Original paint and decals
– Original interior
– Original factory-installed exhaust
– 1 of 708 Saleen Mustangs produced in 1988

https://www.mecum.com/

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[Source: Mecum Auctions]

1987 HATCHBACK (87-0180) TO HIT MECUM AUCTION

Lot R320 // Kissimmee 2020 // Jan 2-12

1987 Ford Mustang Saleen

87-0180 Saleen Mustang
87-0180 Saleen Mustang

Color: White
Interior: Grey

HIGHLIGHTS
– Original and unrestored with no modifications
– Saleen No. 180
– Original paint
– Formerly part of Mark LaMaskin’s PAS Collection
– 48,000 miles

https://www.mecum.com/

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[Source: Mecum Auctions]

FORMER MJ 435S DEMO (10-0012) LANDS AT KODAK MOTORSPORTS

A roadmap with over thirty-five years worth of “Saleen Mustang” production has many twists and turns. By spring of 2009, a conglomerate based in Michigan under the name of MJ Acquisitions (MJA) created the subsidiary “Saleen Performance Vehicles (SPV)” to produce, market and sell Saleen branded vehicles and equipment. Their first production vehicle was the 2010 Saleen 435S.

Originally planned as a continuation to the Racecraft brand introduced by ASC/Saleen in 2008, this 2010 435S became the entry-level Saleen Mustang under SPV. Much like their 2008-09 Racecraft siblings, every 435S featured the Saleen Series VI supercharger, short-throw shifter, performance mufflers, upgraded suspension, 18″ wheels, gauge overlays, with interior and exterior model identification. As with the earlier model there was an available “aero package group” consisting of a front spoiler and rear wing. New for the 2010 Saleen 435S were optional 19×9″ and 19×10″ wheels first seen on the 2008 S302 Heritage Edition Saleen Mustang.

SPV introduced their 435S package during July 2009 at the popular Mustang Week car show in South Carolina. Based on the newly restyled 2010 Ford Mustang GT, the Saleen 435S enjoyed a brief production run spanning an estimated duration of 4-to-6 months with assistance from Alternative Automotive Technologies in Troy, MI. To date, records indicate MJA/SPV sold 13 examples of their 2010 Saleen 435S to both dealers and customers during 2009 and early 2010.

When we review these 13 production vehicles, we find 11 were based on the coupe body while only two were convertibles. One was painted Ebony while the other was Torch Red. Both cars were equipped with manual transmissions and had the optional Saleen 19″ wheels and 435S aero package.

Our feature car, serial number 10-0012 435S, has the distinction of being used as a sales and promotional demo for Saleen Performance Vehicles. -DB


2010 Ford Mustang Saleen 435S Convertible
Price: $28,900.00

Year: 2010
Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Trim: Saleen 435S Convertible
Mileage: 35,456
Trans: 5-Speed Manual
Vin: 1ZVBP8FH9A5151713
Stock #: P242
Engine: 4.6L V8 SOHC 24V
Interior: Leather
Color: Red
Drive Train: RWD
Type: Convertible
State: TN
https://kodakmotorsports.com/

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[Source: Kodak Motorsports]

TERLINGUA PRESERVATION SOCIETY 2019 RUN

From our friends at Saleen Automotive

We love supporting The Terlingua Preservation Society, an organization who shares a love for all makes and years of Mustangs. At their 11th annual community fundraising event, 40 cars, including our Orange Fury Black Label and silver White Label, made the trip to far west Texas to enjoy 1/4 mile runs and a 250-mile cruise including a 10.2-mile closed road high-speed run.

The event raised more than $30,000, bringing the 11-year total to just over $250,000 in total, LOCAL giving. Congrats, TPS!

[Source: Saleen Automotive]

RARE 1991 MODEL YEAR SALEEN MUSTANG (91-0002) HITS eBay

Price: $50,000.00
VIN: 1FACP44E0MF152665
Vehicle Title: Clear
Year: 1991
Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Sub Model: Saleen Mustang
Body Type: Convertible
Number of Cylinders: 8
Engine: 5.0L 302 Cu. In. V8
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Transmission: 5-speed Manual
Exterior Color: Bright Red
Interior Color: Black
Mileage: 14,200
For Sale By: Private Seller
eBay #: 233368515160

91-0002 Saleen Mustang
91-0002 Saleen Mustang

91-0002 Saleen Convertible , number 1 of 1 Car built by Saleen in California during the 1991 Model Year. All standard Saleen Mustangs were manufactured by Cars and Concepts in the 1991 model year except for this Car. This Car was made for a personal friend of Mr. Steve Saleen , and is autographed in several places.

This Car was not used in Rain or Snow by the original owner from which we purchased it, and we have not used it at all. Absolutely no paint work ever , Car was never damaged.

The original build included a Roll Bar which was almost immediately substituted with a factory Light Bar, possibly the first Fox body Saleen with such an accessory. We have that Roll Bar along with any piece of the Car that was replaced with more modern parts such as Headlamps.

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1995 RIO RED S351 SPEEDSTER (95-0050) LANDS ON eBay

Price: $27,750.00
VIN: 1FALP45T8SF119679
Vehicle Title: Clear
Year: 1995
Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Sub Model: Saleen S351 Speedster
Body Type: Convertible
Number of Cylinders: 8
Engine: Original 1995 Saleen S351 V-8
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Transmission: 5-speed Manual
Exterior Color: Rio Red
Interior Color: Black
Mileage: 16,000
For Sale By: Private Seller
eBay #: 183992886192

Seller Notes: “This vehicle is an AUTHENTIC and UNALTERED, extremely low mile, 1995 SALEEN Mustang S351 Convertible Speedster, T-code that is truly one of the few 1990’s collectible High Performance Mustang Muscle Cars. The Saleen Speedster, I is Saleen’s “flagship”. This model, the Saleen Speedster was the representative model on all Saleen Performance Part Booklets and even covered the front and back of the Saleen Book and Owners Registry. Saleen incorporated lessons learned from the track to the street in these mustangs, becoming a four time SCCA Champion by 1998. From original production records at corporate Saleen, the originating dealer was Archway Ford in Baltimore, MD with a manufacture date of May 12, 1995. An authentication letter signed by Liz Summar verifies this Saleen #95-0050 as Rio Red tinted clear coat exterior with black Saleen Recaro leather interior convertible with Silver graphics and Silver Wheels manufactured with the optional Speedster Package and T Code package.”

95-0050 Saleen S351
95-0050 Saleen S351

Vehicle Description & History

A. Vehicle Description

This vehicle is an AUTHENTIC and UNALTERED, extremely low mile, 1995 SALEEN Mustang S351 Convertible Speedster, T-code that is truly one of the few 1990’s collectible High Performance Mustang Muscle Cars. The Saleen Speedster, I is Saleen’s “flagship”. This model, the Saleen Speedster was the representative model on all Saleen Performance Part Booklets and even covered the front and back of the Saleen Book and Owners Registry. Saleen incorporated lessons learned from the track to the street in these mustangs, becoming a four time SCCA Champion by 1998. From original production records at corporate Saleen, the originating dealer was Archway Ford in Baltimore, MD with a manufacture date of May 12, 1995. An authentication letter signed by Liz Summar verifies this Saleen #95-0050 as Rio Red tinted clear coat exterior with black Saleen Recaro leather interior convertible with Silver graphics and Silver Wheels manufactured with the optional Speedster Package and T Code package. Further, this letter indicates that this particular Saleen is 1 of only 3 with these colors and options.

1995 Saleen Production consisted mainly of eighty-nine S351 Coupes and forty-three S351 Convertibles.

Optional Saleen Packages included:

  • the R Code (mainly Vortech supercharger equipment);
  • the T Code (13-inch Saleen slotted racing front rotors, Saleen/Alcon four-piston calipers, 3.27:1 rear axle, and Saleen Recaro Leather interior; and
  • the Spyder or Speedster Package (convertible only, Saleen sports light bar, soft top cover, and hard light weight exterior color matched tonneau).

Engine: Saleen spec. 351-cid (5.8-liter) Windsor electronically fuel injected V-8 manufactured by engine-builder Billy Wages, Jr. of AER in Texas.

Horsepower: 371@5100 RPM

Torque: 422@3500 RPM

** These numbers were extreme for the 1990s and quite respectable even today for a naturally aspirated engine **

Headers: Saleen ceramic-coated

Transmission: Tremec quick-ratio five-speed manual

Suspension: full Saleen Racecraft suspension – springs, shocks, struts, quad shocks, urethane bushings, G-load brace

Other Performance Enhancements: Saleen high-performance pressure plate and clutch; Balanced and customized driveshaft; three-core radiator; and high perf. (high flow) 2 ½” stainless four-way cat exhaust

Saleen Authenticity maintained by: serialization numbers on front bumper, Saleen console plaque, and Saleen engine bay plaque, and other not so visible locations on the Saleen.

B. Vehicle History

This Saleen S351 Speedster is fully documented and authenticated from Saleen, Ford, and the original dealer.

  • It comes with congratulatory letter signed by Steve Saleen and Team Saleen verification letters signed by Liz Summar;
  • all dealer delivery documents, manuals, Ford and Saleen window stickers;
  • photographs from the original dealership showroom floor, the first owner and myself; and copies of bill of sale, original title, and other purchase transactions between first owner and myself.

If you have been searching for the right Saleen S351 at the right price, this is it! If you research price of Saleens I suggest NADA Classic Car Guides. However, one problem with the Saleen Speedsters is that they are “not referenced or priced as such” only convertibles, so look at the original Saleen MSRP and current retail value as a guide. Just remember, the original Saleen MSRP of this Speedster was $54,534, near that of a Saleen S351SR. This is understandable considering its light weight racing additions.

Should you have any questions call me at (860) 537-9183 to secure this rare find to add to your collection!

Thank you for looking, and good luck bidding!

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HOT ROD: A SALEEN MUSTANG COLLECTION TO DIE FOR

A Saleen Mustang Collection to Die For
Power in the Hands of… One?

BY: MARYBETH KICZENSKI on OCTOBER 2, 2019
Original Article: HOTROD.COM

We’ll wager a bet that you’ve heard the name Steve Saleen, and we’ll bet the farm that every Mustang enthusiast knows the name, as the builder of the infamous Saleen Mustangs. Coming from a Formula Atlantic open-wheel racing background, Saleen began turning out modified Fox-body Mustangs in the 1980s, from 1984 to 1993. Roughly 2,700 of the Saleen Mustangs were built during the Fox era, and a bunch more from ’94 to today. The Saleens were among the first “tuner” Mustangs on the market, and with their modified (sometimes Vortech-supercharged) engines and suspensions, they were a bright spot in the often dismal mid-1980s performance scene.

Saleen’s tagline, “Power in the hands of a few,” definitely means a bit more to Scott Warren of Highland Park, Illinois. As an avid Mustang enthusiast, the performance capabilities of the Saleen-modified ones always peaked (piqued) his interest. Scott’s first Mustang was a black-over-grey 1987 GT that would go on to both fuel his addiction to black cars, as well as the quest for a real Saleen.

For Scott, what stood out about the Saleen cars was their track record. Saleen took home the driver, team, and manufacturer’s championships in SCCA Escort Endurance series in both 1987 and Saleen’s winning continued in 1988, including a 1-2-3 in the 24 Hours of Mosport in ’88 with a three-Mustang team, a first for Ford since the GT40 tromping of Ferrari at LeMans in 1966.

Saleen Mustangs are special in that every vehicle is serialized, like Shelbys were and still are. This appealed to Scott, as well. Not only does serializing make each car unique, they also come with a story that can be tracked throughout a car’s history. Scott used this to his advantage in searching out cars from limited-production runs, super high-performance offerings, press cars, test mules, or Saleen’s personal cars—that unique serial number and bumper number tells the story. Scott learned that the cars with low bumper/serial numbers tend to be these special builds or in-house company demos; the ones sold to the public typically begin at number 10 but the numbers also don’t always follow in sequence.

After nearly 20 years from his first encounter with a Saleen Mustang, Scott purchased his first one, a black 1987 convertible. While this car started his journey into actual ownership, it would be the special ones mentioned above that he would ultimately end up with.

While the core of his collection consists of Fox Saleens, his many years of driving and collecting them have led him to appreciate all the body styles. Scott is also an active member of The Saleen Club of America which, as he says, has brought together so many people from across the country who share a passion for Saleen automobiles. Even though the Fox Mustang started it all for Saleen, there are highly desirable variants spanning across various generations of Mustangs, many of which he has in his collection. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

1993 SC #02

Saleen released its first Mustang in 1984 and to celebrate its five-year anniversary in 1989, produced the Saleen SSC, a special edition of 161 Mustangs with specially modified engines that made 292 hp. The ’89 SSC was the first Saleen to receive full EPA certification. These cars proved popular so in 1990-1993 the model was referred to as the Saleen SC, (for Super Car). The production was skipped in ’92. This car, of which only 26 were built, was designed to showcase how far the Fox platform could be pushed while retaining a warranty, something that’s critically important to anyone purchasing a new car. The production numbers of this top of the line Saleen SC can be broken down like this:

SALEEN SC PRODUCTION
1990 13
1991 9
1992 0
1993 4
TOTAL: 26

All of them, except one, sported unique interiors. They were fitted with unique wheels and a larger diameter exhaust. Engine-wise, Saleen fitted them with a Saleen-specific intake and other engine parts. Some received adjustable suspension bits, and some later models were Vortech-supercharged. In 1990, the SC cars were rated at 315 hp, which was a lot of power for the early ’90s. Saleen offered the package for 1992, but there were no takers. For 1993, four cars were ordered. Of these cars, one was a convertible. What makes this batch special is that they came with a 450hp rating. These cars were identical in performance to the SA-10 models except for paint scheme and interior seat stitching. The ’93 SC cars even had the carbon hood originally offered on the SA-10. Scott’s ’93-’02 SC is the lone hatchback produced with this 450hp combination. What does this equate to in performance numbers? Off the showroom floor the car would bolt 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. Again, for the early ’90s that was fast!

Scott’s 1993 #02SC originally stickered for $39,990 and was used as a daily driver during the first part of its life, where it was traded between collectors. Later it spent several years on display at Performance Autosport in Richmond, VA. Scott was adamant about telling his friend there how much he loved that particular car and this communication proved beneficial when the car came up for sale a few years back. Scott was able to scoop it up with 54,000 original miles.

1993 SA10 #01

The Fox-body Mustang came to an end in 1993 which coincidently was also Saleen’s 10th year of production. To celebrate, the company decided to offer the SA10 model. In order to purchase one of these special edition cars, you had to be a member of the Saleen Owners and Enthusiasts Club. What makes the SA10 models special was that these were the first cars to use sequential serial numbers from Ford. All 10 of the black LX hatchbacks came off the line in order and were shipped to Saleen for the conversion. Exterior wise, the black cars were marked with yellow and white accent decals, a carbon fiber hood, and flat-lipped Stern wheels. Scott notes that these wheels are often copied, and stresses that only 10 or 11 Saleens ever came with them. Interior wise, all but one car received Recaro leather seating. From this point, the customer could pick and choose his/her vehicle’s options from the Saleen Performance Parts catalogue and as such, no two cars are exactly the same. The SA10’s base car, a supercharged Saleen but not an SC, came with 325 hp. Obviously, based on which additional performance goodies were ordered, the car could leave with 450 hp. Less than 10 Fox-body Saleen Mustangs with 450 hp were ever produced—four were the Saleen SC flavor, and the remainder were the SA10 cars.

SA10 #01 was originally built for John McCauley, President of the Saleen Owners and Enthusiasts Club. Like all original purchasers of these special cars, John met with Saleen to discuss the additional details of the build. John enjoyed racing so he wanted this to be a race car. While some collectors would frown upon this decision, others would applaud it—after all, these cars were born from a racing heritage. SA10 #01’s performance story began with a balanced and blueprinted engine fitted with ported cylinder heads. This is the only SA10 with a Saleen-specific intake for more horsepower. From there, a Tremec five-speed and a 3.55 gear with an Auburn differential transferred that horsepower to the ground via heavy duty racing springs and shocks at all four corners. Interior wise, John had the rear seat deleted, and a four-point roll cage installed. A custom Pioneer stereo with a 10-disc changer rounded out the build because, you know, street car! Because of the racing intent for this particular SA10, it would become the most-optioned build, and was built by Joe Gosinski and his team at Saleen. Joe, for those not up to speed on Saleen history, was the man behind the infamous 1994-1999 S-351R but met a tragic end a few years ago—more on that later.

Being the first prototype build, SA10 #01 has a few other details that make it different from the reminder of the SA10s. The graphics are slightly different and the wheels have unique polished center caps. The car also spent time on the show circuit, including being Vortech’s booth car at SEMA. What was the original cost for this special Saleen? MSRP was over $50,000 for this race-ready Fox. Gosinsky would later open Chicane Motorsports in California, A subsequent owner of #01 took the car to Joe’s shop where he refreshed the entire drivetrain and brought the car back to collector-original quality. Scott eventually purchased the car from Mark LaMaskin who owns Performance Autosport in Richmond VA (and helped us with some technical information on this story). The car had been in the Roger Rodas’ collection. Roger was a good friend and client of Mark’s, after Roger’s death Mark helped the family place all of his collectable Mustangs. The SA10s, due to their storied history and performance prowess, firmly place them as one of the most sought-after Fox-body Mustangs. Of the 10 offered, only nine were ultimately built due to a customer backing out on the deal. This car is one of Scott’s most prized possessions, the other being the aforementioned legendary S-351.

The Non-Saleen: 1993 SAAC MKII #01 Convertible

Scott may be a die-hard Saleen owner but that doesn’t limit him from appreciating special cars built by other notable builders. Carroll Shelby, as everyone knows, made history with some of the most incredible Mustangs ever to grace the planet. The SAAC MKI and MK2 cars of the early 1990s have an interesting history due to the fact Shelby was under contract with Chrysler at the time, building the crazy pocket rockets for Dodge. This project was a secret between a few Ford engineers and Shelby, so secret that the first few cars were built in the garage of one of the original people involved in the program. Production was eventually moved to Watson Engineering in MI. Scott’s car was the last one built, and it was assembled at Kar Kraft (home of the Boss 429 Mustangs). The goal was to create a modern day G.T. 350 and they almost pulled it off, but right around the launch of the MK1, Chrysler issued a cease and desist order against Shelby. The cars were quickly rebranded as SAAC (Shelby American Automobile Club) instead of Shelby. Production-wise, 37 white-with-blue-stripes MK1 cars were built. MK2s saw a mix of hatchbacks and convertibles and the colors were expanded to include red and black. Out of the approximate 21 cars made, 12 were convertibles.

The MK cars came with nearly 300 naturally-aspirated horsepower with the GT40 package that consisted of different heads, larger throttle body, and a tubular GT40 intake. The brakes were upgraded to four-wheel discs and three-piece Simmons wheels finished the look. In order to assist with brake cooling, the fog lights were removed in favor of air ducts. Interestingly enough, some believe that without this secret project the 1993 Cobra would have never happened. Ford sold some back-room parts to get the cars built and also used it as the test bed for EPA certification. Also note the lack of fake air scoops that the GT body had.

Scott’s ownership of this car came through an eBay auction—goes to show that sometimes you really can find awesome things on the site. Sitting at around 10,000 original miles, this drop-top Fox is a wonderful example of this complicated three-way relationship that left a sour taste in one manufacturer’s mouth.

1997 S351 #026R

The “R” designation on any Saleen means something special. The S351 series was built from 1994 until 1999, and these legendary cars were the first ones in which Saleen changed out the entire driveline. There were less than 300 produced throughout the entire production run. Some of these cars started out as basic V6s while others were V8s and after Saleen’s swap, power output ranged from 371 hp on the naturally aspirated models to the 505hp fire-breathing supercharged variants. Again, this is the mid- to late-’90s so that kind of power for a car with a warranty was incredible at the time.

Scott acquired S351 #026R after the untimely murder of Chicane Motorsports owner Joe Gosinski in 2010. The car found its way to Joe’s shop with intentions of being turned into a track car. The customer ran out of money, so Joe acquired it as a personal project. A Maximum Motorsports suspension and Global West subframe connectors were installed just prior to Joe’s untimely passing, so when Scott took possession his job was to reassemble and install the original drivetrain and Tremec six-speed. Currently sitting at 15,000 miles, this was one of four cars built with every available option. Those options were the 10-inch rear wheels, 3.55 rear end, two-point chassis brace, and the Recaro leather interior. All S351s received Alcon brakes as a standard feature in 1997. S351 #026R is Scott’s favorite car to drive on the street. He said that the combination of the chassis and suspension work with the sheer power from the supercharged engine make it an absolute beast. Because of his connection with Joe, this car holds a special place in his heart and he never plans on selling it.

1997 S281 Cobra #173

The Supercharged Extreme Rainbow Cobra Speedster Saleen is a mouthful to describe. It is one of 182 cars built on the Cobra chassis and the only convertible ever painted this color—less than 20 Saleens in total were painted this color. Often confused with Ford’s Mystic, this is a completely different color as BASF was a partner of the Saleen/Allen racing team and manufactured the paint for them.

The story of S281C #173 began as a custom build for a customer in Colorado. He insisted on a white top, and the only way to get one was to order a red car, so this car started life as a red cobra convertible. Why is this significant if the car needs to be repainted? Well, Saleen preferred black cars because then they didn’t have to paint the engine bay. A bill for an additional $4,000 for labor was added to the customer’s build in order to remove the drivetrain to paint the engine bay. With an original sticker price of $58,287 and the additional labor costs, plus $4,286 for the supercharger install, this car topped out at $66,573! The original owner supplied a disposable camera to document the build and some photos are said to show the test-fitting of the Vortech supercharger at Saleen’s production facility but Saleen records show that the car was shipped off to a dealer for the supercharger install.

This was another eBay score for Scott. He came across the auction 12 years ago and immediately called the seller to end it. This was his second Saleen and the one he has owned the longest. As it sits today, the car only has about 4,000 miles on it. With the eye-catching paint and unique build details, the car remains one of the most recognizable Saleens out there.

2011 Black Label #01

With all these rare and special Saleen vehicles, what does Scott drive daily? Why a Saleen, of course! True to his collector roots, this also isn’t just “any old Saleen.” The 2011 Black Label (2011-01BL) that serves daily duty started out as a car for Liz and Steve Saleen to use as a commuter for work. At some point, the car was then used as a test mule for what was going to be “George Follmer” editions. A modified engine in addition to suspension tweaks were installed and tested at the track. The car was then shipped to Charlotte to celebrate the Mustang’s 50th anniversary where Steve Saleen gave test rides in the car on the track. Then in 2014, the Black Label body kit was installed and the car was shipped to China as a marketing tool to help launch the brand there. When the Mustang switched body styles in 2015, Saleen sold it to Scott with 26,000 miles on it. Modern Saleens use a “label” to designate the trim levels: White Labels are base models, Black Label is the top trim, and Yellow Label is a White Label with a supercharger. As a true daily driver, Scott has driven this car to over a dozen states and has taken it to two different Saleen Nationals plus Ponies in the Smokies.

There we have it! A somewhat brief history into Saleen as told through the stories of one dedicated owner and his collection of rare and unique Mustangs!

Factoid

In 1985, Steve Saleen’s secretary miscounted the vehicles produced that year, omitting vehicle number 6. Since 1985, Saleen has had the tradition of not issuing the #6 bumper number on any of its vehicles. And now you know.

[Source: Hot Rod Network]