Tag Archives: Mustang

SALEEN’S SLEEK, SWIFT MACHINES

By: N.A. on March 28, 2004
Original Article: SUNDAY TIMES, THE (PERTH)

CALIFORNIAN-BASED Saleen has made about 8000 vehicles since it was started in 1983 by avid race-car fan Steve Saleen.

The first saleable Ford-based car came in 1986 when the marque won its first major event at the 24-hour race at Mosport Park, Ontario.

It won there again in 1987 and 1988, becoming the first Ford-powered vehicle to win three consecutive series since the Le Mans campaign in the late 1960s.

Saleen’s cars also won all four SCCA championship titles in 1987.

It raced Indy in 1989 and in 1991 won the SCCA Race Truck Championship using a Saleen Ford Ranger ute.

In 1995 Steve Saleen formed a partnership with TV actor/comedian Tim (the Tool Man) Allen to create a Saleen/Allen Speedlab race team to run Saleen Mustangs in the SCCA series.

It won in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Saleen now makes seven vehicles: The S281, the high-performance S281-E (each in coupe and convertible) and SR Mustang-based cars, the purpose-built S7 racer and more recently a Ford Focus-based N2O Focus.

It used to make the XR8 ute and a modified Ford Explorer.

Details on Saleen are available from www.saleen.com.

YOUR INVITATION: SA-20 ORDERING OPENS

2003 SA-20 invitation
2003 SA-20 invitation

Standard Features and Specifications:
Saleen S281 4.6L 2V 375 HP Engine
Torque 415 ft lb
Saleen Series IV Screw Type Intercooled Supercharges
Saleen Powerflash Performance Calibration
Differential Gear Ratio 3.27:1
Five Speed Manual Transmission
Saleen Twin Gauge Pod, Boost and Air Temperature
Saleen Performance air filter
Saleen Performance Center Exhaust System
Saleen X-pipe

Air Management Design:
Saleen Urethane Front & Rear fascia, side skirts, side scoops
Saleen S281 rear Extreme Wing
Saleen “blacked-out” front grill treatment
Saleen Lightweight vented composite hood
Saleen 20th Anniversary Tonneau

Racecraft Suspension:
Saleen Variable Rate front and rear springs
Saleen front struts (N2) and upper strut bushings
Saleen rear shocks (N2)
Saleen front sway bar and pivot bushings
High performance Pirelli P7000 tires 255/35ZR18 (Front) 265/35ZR18 (Rear)
Saleen Five spoke Special 20th Anniversary Custom Painted pearl white 9″ wheels
Saleen Valve Stem Caps
Saleen high performance wheel alignment and tuned chassis

Styling and Interior:
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special leather sport seats
Saleen 200 MPH speedometer with white face gauges
Saleen performance driving pedals
Saleen close ratio shifter
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special S281 Graphics and Identification
Saleen Windshield graphic
Saleen Fender Badge
Saleen Serialized engine bay plaque
Saleen Serialized bumper number
Saleen Serialized 20th Anniversary console plaque
Saleen Championship wreaths
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special custom carpet door panels
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special custom floor mats
Saleen 20th Anniversary Special key fob
Saleen “Eagle One” detail kit
Saleen owners document portfolio

Color Combination:
Saleen Factory Paint: Pearl White
20th Anniversary Special black and yellow graphics
20th Anniversary Special custom painted Pearl White wheels

Special Anniversary Delivery:
Airfare
Lodging (one night)
Dinner with Steve Saleen
Presentation during 7th Annual Saleen Car Show (September 13th 2003)

Performance Upgrade Options:
Saleen 13″ Brake System
Saleen Performance Cooling Package
Saleen Maxgrip Differential

Exterior Upgrades:
Wheel and Tire Upgrade with 18″ x 10″ Rear Wheels

Click here to participate in the discussion.

REVVING UP FOR FILM ROLES

By: ANDY SEILER on May 21, 2003
Original Article: USA TODAY

‘Terminator 3’ Pops The Top On A Lexus

The hot movie cars of summer range from affordable to inconceivable to downright illegal:

Mini Coopers, which should have star billing in The Italian Job opening May 30, start at $16,975.

A Ferrari 575 Maranello, driven by Will Smith in Bad Boys II, will set you back more than $200,000. Galpin Motors in North Hills, Calif., is selling the Saleen S7 supercar that’s capable of 200 mph driven by Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty for about $500,000.

Some of the cars in 2 Fast, 2 Furious are not street legal in the USA — at any price.

USA TODAY’s Andy Seiler profiles some of the summer’s wild cars, with stries on how they got there.

Ferraris cut to the chase in ‘Bad Boys II’

“There are some epic, massive car chases in Bad Boys II ,” says director Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor , Armageddon ). “I started to get nervous because we were getting very close to shooting, literally a month away, and we did not have a lead car. It’s very important to get the right car.” When Porsche turned him down, Bay decided to make his own car the star: a Ferrari 550 Maranello.

“When you do this, you need three cars, because otherwise you could be shutting down production. I had a Maranello. But Ferrari doesn’t need to put cars in movies. They make something like 250 a year worldwide. People put themselves on lists that are years out from getting one.”

Luckily, Ferrari lent the production two even grander 575s. “I swore on my life that I wasn’t going to damage these cars,” Bay says. “We used the 550 for the heavy stunt work where we could have totaled it so easily.”

Near the end of shooting, “the Maranello was perfect, not a ding. Then Martin Lawrence was driving, and he suddenly rammed this car into a concrete block. I’m like, ‘Martin, dude, what’s going on?’ ”

The ding was “not bad,” he says.

* Other cars in the film: Hummer H2, Cadillac CTS and Buick’s Blackhawk prototype. Bad guys drive vintage cars: 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle and ’70 Nova, 1971 Dodge Super Bee and 1971 Pontiac TransAm.

Supercar, muscle car for “Angels’

The Angels’ cars express their personalities, says Cyril O’ Neil, who as car wrangler for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle has dealt with every car on the screen. His next project is the Spider-Man sequel.

Demi Moore , as a “fallen (former) Angel,” drives a Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari’s newest supercar. “They are essentially barely street legal Formula One cars,” O’Neil says. “The sticker price on the Enzo, if you could find one on a waiting list, is over $600,000.” Only 399 of these next-generation supercars, which can go 217 mph, are being made. “Like Demi’s character, it’s just pure and raw, but somehow distinctly refined power. It is speed, elegance, and there’s nothing like it in the world.”

Lucy Liu does not drive a car in this second episode of the big-screen series, but the other two Angels make up for it: “Drew Barrymore’s character is a rough-and-tumble let’s-go-get-’em kind of woman, so she drives a classic muscle car, a 1970 Chevelle LS6. It’s actually a clone, which means that it is exactly the same car but not a factory-assembled car. It’s a tough car — we blew the thing probably 10 feet in the air when it exploded.

“Cameron Diaz’s character is, of the three, the motoring and automotive aficionado. She’s a vehicle expert, so she drives a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. That is one of the rarest cars in the world. There were only 100 ever made between 1959 and 1962. There are a handful of them in the United States. We got it from a private collector, and it’s since been sold for $1.3 million.”

* Other cars in the film: 1967 Shelby Cobra, 1967 GTO Pontiac Special Edition, 2003 Maserati Spyder and an unstoppable Osh Kosh M977 HEMTT (heavy expanded mobility tactical truck). There are Suzuki and Yamaha motorcycles in the film, too.

Mini Coopers get the ‘Job’ done

Director F. Gary Gray jettisoned all the characters and much of the plot from the cult 1969 Michael Caine movie The Italian Job.

But he wanted to keep the heist that could be executed only with Mini Coopers during a traffic jam.

“When I read the script, I wasn’t actually sure that they were coming out with new ones,” says Gray (Set It Off, Friday). “I thought we might have to use the old” Minis, as last summer’s The Bourne Identity did. “It was actually a coincidence that they were going back into production. Now I wish I had stock in BMW (which now makes the cars). I love the old ones, but I really love the new ones.”

Mini USA, which first showcased the car in last summer’s Austin Powers in Goldmember (Caine got to drive one again), provided Gray with 30 cars, including three special electric Minis that aren’t available to consumers for a subway system chase scene. “No combustion engines could be used,” Gray says.

Gray preferred wrecking real cars to simulations because he says audiences disengage when they suspect action is not real.

The Minis turned out to be frustratingly safe. “We had to disconnect all the safety features,” Gray recalls.

In one remarkable shot, Charlize Theron screeches into a small parking space between two SUVs. And yes, that really is Theron driving.

“When we sent our cast into training, it was less about training Charlize than trying to hold her back,” Gray says. “I saw her do two reverse 180s with two cameras mounted on the car. She would test the car beyond its limits — and I would totally freak out.”

‘Terminator 3’ pops the top on a Lexus

Villainous Terminatrix Kristanna Loken drives a Lexus SC hardtop convertible in this movie, which just happens to be the same car driven by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines director Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown ).

“I wanted a cool convertible that hasn’t been too overexposed in the movies,” Mostow says. “I like the idea of a Terminator driving my car! The car suits her personality. It’s sleek, it’s sexy, it’s powerful and it’s fast — which are all traits that fit the character.

“It was a very strange sensation to destroy a car you own,” Mostow says. “Same color, same interior, same exterior colors. I take good care of my car. I love my car.”

Two of the convertibles were destroyed, but Mostow felt less sentimental about the loss of a dozen Toyota Tundra pickups. They were wrecked, and shot from every angle, to create the illusion of just one being destroyed.

“That’s how warped Hollywood filmmaking has become,” Mostow says. “I tell the car company, ‘We’ve got to destroy $150,000 worth of cars.’ And they said, ‘No problem.’ ”

These cars are ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

“The Mitsubishi Evo that Paul Walker drives is an extension of him,” says 2 Fast 2 Furious director John Singleton.

“It’s kind of cool, because the Evolution VII is the dream car of a lot of people who are into import racing,” Singleton says. “There’s a whole culture of people who are into the whole scene of import racing. The cars are too fast, and they don’t meet U.S. standards, but some people get the cars anyway.

“I think you can get the Evo in the States, but you can’t get a Nissan Skyline GTR, another car Paul drives, because it’s not U.S. street legal. The Skyline has right-handed steering, and it’s like 500 horsepower.”

Walker also drives a Chevrolet Yenko Camaro.

Because the characters in the film are themselves car fanatics, their cars are meant to look like a vehicle they would have designed themselves.

“While Paul’s car is more subdued, more of a racing car, Tyrese Gibson plays a flashy guy, so Tyrese’s car (a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder) is flashier: more rims, a flashier paint job.”

Gibson also drives a 1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi.

“Suki, played by Devon Aoki , is a live-action girl who looks like an anime character. So her car is a Honda S2000, supercharged and tricked out, with pink neon trim and everything.”

Other cars in the film: 1994 Toyota Supra, 1995 Mazda RX7, 1994 Acura NSX and a 2003 Dodge truck, making this manna for car mavens for the price of a movie ticket.

WILD HORSES: SALEEN S7S, MODIFIED MUSTANGS

By: GERRY MALLOY on August 31, 2002
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Supercar, Muscle Car Combo Drives Early Racing Success

Steve Saleen stunned the automotive press at the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca when he not only announced that he was going into the supercar business, but unveiled a sleek prototype.

That was two years ago. Much has happened since.

The high-performance, mid-engined supercar is the purest form of the modern automobile.

Exemplified by such exotica as the Ferrari F50, Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1, it is a barely tamed race-car, adapted for use on the street.

Predominantly a product of Europe, the genre has been the subject of numerous North American concept cars. The few attempts that have been made to build and market such cars on this continent have ended in ignominy.

Saleen aims to break that pattern. If anyone outside the Big Three can do it, he is probably the one.

He is already well on his way. When I visited the Saleen assembly plant in Irvine, Calif., his fabricators were working on chassis number 19 in the company’s S7 lineage.

Not only does he have the facilities and expertise to achieve his production goal of 15 to 20 vehicles a year, he has the critical mass to support it; he is also building 20 Saleen Mustangs a week in the same plant.

Total production of those highly modified Mustangs has approached 10,000 units over the 19 years since he began the business.

Saleen himself is a racer at heart. He competed in everything from autocross and Formula Atlantic to Trans-Am and Indy cars.

He is a businessman, with a degree from USC and a flair for promotion. He is the most successful private North American auto manufacturer in modern history.

Because most of his creations are Mustang-based, many regard Saleen as little more than a tuner. But the changes he makes to the Mustangs are such that the cars must be individually certified for both emissions and crash-test performance.

So Saleen’s operations are afforded full-fledged manufacturer status.

Everything about his 14,000-square-metre plant, located in the heart of California’s aerospace and automotive community, supports that designation.

The Mustangs are disassembled as they arrive from Ford, then they go on dollies through a 13-station assembly line, each with its own team and tasks, for reconstruction.

Saleen supplies three body styles: coupe, roadster and speedster for each of three models, designated S281, S281 Supercharged and S281-E.

The number 281 derives from the displacement, in cubic inches, of the Ford 4.6-litre SOHC V8 that serves as a base for modification.

In S281 trim, the Saleen engine is rated at 285 hp. Adding a supercharger bumps that figure to 365, and the E-model raises it again, to 425 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque – which is delivered through a six-speed, quick-ratio manual gearbox.

Suspension, drivetrain, brakes, interior, wiring, front and rear fascias, hoods, and, in some cases, even external body panels, are replaced by Saleen-designed and, in many cases, Saleen-produced components.

Many of the cars are fitted with full roll cages.

A separate finishes-and-composites division, soon to be integrated into the main plant, is responsible for manufacturing many of those parts, and for finishing them and the cars themselves in a range of exclusive and evocatively-named Saleen colours, including Lizstick red, named for his wife.

The combined operations employ more than 150 people, including a support team for Saleen-owners’ many racing efforts.

The success of Saleen’s Mustangs on the track have pushed him and his cars into the limelight, and supported the success of the manufacturing business..

The real excitement these days lies on the other side of the shop in the eight race-car bays where the exotic S7s and S7Rs (the racing versions) are assembled.

Developed with Ray Mallock, a British race- and specialty-car builder of considerable repute, the original protype supercar was as stunning as its Laguna Seca announcement.

Long and low, with the engine amidships and air vents everywhere (every one with a purpose, Saleen says), its silhouette showed the influence of cars such as the Jaguar XK 220 and Lamborghinis and Bugattis.

But it had its own distinctive form.

It remains powered by a 7.0-litre, OHV V8, which had its genesis as a Ford service-parts aluminum racing block, but is now all-Saleen.

The engine is rated at 550 hp at 6400 rpm, and 525 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm – more in racing trim, and more than enough to make it a supercar.

Just as impressive are the rest of its credentials, which resonate pure race car: lightweight tubular-steel space frame with aluminum honeycomb structural panels; carbon-fibre body panels; double-wishbone front-and-rear suspensions; six-speed transaxle; and gigantic Brembo brakes.

Some members of the automotive press, who had seen such hopes raised and dashed before, dismissed the idea as a publicity stunt or a dream.

Saleen made believers by fielding a racing version of the prototype – which showed considerable promise – before the end of the year.

In 2001, an S7R won the 12-hours of Sebring, beating GM’s Corvette C5-Rs, qualified on the GTS class pole and finished on the GTS podium at Le Mans, and propelled lead driver Terry Borcheller to the ALMS GTS driver’s championship, beating out Ron Fellows (who’s dominating this season).

Saleen S7Rs won four separate championships in Europe and North America in their first full year.

Some people, Saleen says, have suggested that he is in the production car business just to support his racing habit – a motivation Enzo Ferrari openly admitted. But he claims it is the other way around; he races to support his production car business.

The production cars reflect this. They have high quality materials throughout, impeccable workmanship and a host of premium features, including a custom-fitted driving seat, an integrated DVD/GPS/TV/NAV-system, and custom-fitted luggage by Mulholland Brothers.

Would you expect less for US$395,000? Automobiles Bugatti of Montreal has been appointed Canadian distributor for the S7, which, Saleen says, will comply with all Canadian regulations, but price and delivery details have yet to be determined.

POWER PASSION DOESN’T GO FOR A SONG

By: ROB GUEST on June 15, 2002
Original Article: HERALD SUN (MELBOURNE)

I LOVE cars. At the last count, I have owned 85 since I began driving in New Zealand at the age of 15. That works out to about two different cars a year.

But I would have to go a long way to beat my latest, a 2001 Saleen Mustang Speedster.

I bought the Mustang, fully imported from the US, on impulse one afternoon while driving around North Sydney.

I just traded in the BMW on the spot, because I loved the Mustang the minute I saw it.

I have owned Jaguars, Porsches, BMWs, a Lotus Esprit and Mercedes but one thing is certain: my passion has cost me a lot of money.

Probably the worst deal I have made was when I bought a black Lotus Esprit Turbo S4. It had been first prize in a raffle. It was worth $215,000 on the road, so I said I would buy it if the highest offer was less than $130,000.

I was doing Phantom of the Opera at the time and my mobile phone rang during the interval to say I had been successful.

I had to sell my Mercedes 500SL Convertible to pay for it and the Lotus proved to be a very unwise investment.

I later sold it for $115,000 with only 3000km on the clock. It was a great car to drive. It would go from nought to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, but to reach the handbrake I had to rest my head on the windscreen.

My mum has seen at first hand my impulsive nature. I was out with her one day in my black Jaguar XJ6.

I saw a Triumph Stag on a stand at a car dealership. I pulled over, worked out the difference in the changeover, had the stereo moved into the Stag and half an hour later we were off again, in the new car.

The problem is, you never make money on cars. Luxury cars are just that… you never make money on them.

But I just love cars and I always will.

FELLOWS’ WIN BREAKS BAD LUCK SPELL AT SEBRING

By: RICK MATSUMOTO on March 17,2002
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Ron Fellows has finally captured the elusive 12 Hours of Sebring.

The Mississauga driver brought the Corvette C5-R across the finish line at Florida’s 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway last night at the head of the GTS class.

The victory came in the fourth attempt by Fellows and Corvette Racing to win the Sebring race, which along with the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona, is considered one of the three major endurance events of world sports car racing.

“Finally, we finally did it,” said a relieved Fellows on the victory podium.

While Fellows, who had put the Corvette on the pole in qualifying, started and finished the race, he shared the driving with long-time co-driver Johnny O’Connell and newcomer Oliver Gavin.

Fellows’ car finished ninth overall, after covering 317 laps, 29 laps behind the winning Audi.

Interestingly, Gavin was one of the three drivers in the Saleen Mustang that upset Fellows and Corvette in last year’s Sebring race. This year, the Saleen S7R placed second with 309 laps.

Fellows had been the surprise overall winner of the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona a month earlier and had been the heavy favourite to win at Sebring. However, major mechanical problems allowed the Saleen to take the checkered flag in the GTS class.

This year Corvette Racing decided to pass up the Daytona race and concentrate its efforts on producing a reliable, as well as quicker, car for Sebring.

Audi, with lead driver Johnny Herbert driving the last hour, won the Prototype 900 class and the overall title for the third consecutive year.

PENSKE TOPS IRL: Helio Castroneves, a pilot for the IRL-interloper Marlboro Team Penske, captured pole position for today’s 200-lapper at Phoenix International Raceway by turning in a blistering lap of 20.0124 seconds around the one-mile oval – a speed of 179.888 m.p.h.

Castroneves nipped defending race winner Sam Hornish Jr. by 0.017 of a second to capture his first IRL pole.

TARGA RALLY TALLY A RECORD 150 ENTRANTS

By: N.A. on June 22, 2001
Original Article: WAIKATO TIMES

This year’s Dunlop Targa New Zealand rally will be the largest competitive rally held in this country with 150 entries so far.

The six-day tarmac rally is the seventh to be run and will be held from October 23 to 28.

The 2000 event was taken out by Australia’s Craig Dean in a Saleen Mustang with most of the 11 Australian cars that crossed the Tasman acquitting themselves well.

The 2001 Targa, which runs in central North Island, has a mixture of old and new stages over 600km of closed roads and 1300km of touring.

Since the 1999 event the emphasis of the event has changed away from contemporary 4WD cars (only six are accepted), which has brought out a larger number of interesting cars.

Among the entries there is a 1963 Sayer lightweight E Type Jaguar, two ex-group B MG Metro 6R4s from the 1980s, 10 Ford Escorts, both MK1 and MK2 with two being RS1800s from the 1980s, a Mini Cooper powered Mini Marcos, two 1960s Sunbeam Rapiers, several MGBs and a lone Audi Quattro.

Also entered is Robbie Francevic, the charismatic Kiwi who has been winning national and international events since the 1960s. Francevic won the 1967 national championship for sedans in the Custaxie, the inaugural Wellington street race with a Volvo 240T in 1986, and the following year the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Francevic is running in a 1969 Pontiac GTO.

In the more modern categories there are four Mazda RX7 Batmobiles, seven Porsches and seven Peugeots, two Nissan Skylines and the latest Ford Mustang Cobra R. There is also a yet-to-be released 2001 Honda Integra Type R.

Ex-Tasman Motorsport Indy Car Team owner Steve Horne has put to one side his normal management role and is driving the Integra.

Some of the more quirky vehicles include a 1955 Chevrolet Pickup with a 5-litre V8, a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado ute, a Subaru Legacy GT Station wagon and a Ford Anglia with Nissan running gear.

Already entered from Australia are a Tasmanian team in an EH Holden and a MGB Roadster from NSW. Andrew Bryson from Western Australia has teamed up with Kiwi Rootes Group specialist Brian Bradshaw in a Hillman Imp. From Queensland there is a 1970s Datsun H510.

HARRY DRIVES ‘EM WILD

By: NEIL DOWLING on March 28,2004
Original Article: SUNDAY TIMES, THE (PERTH)

People lust over this car and for good reason. It’s the only one of its type in the state and costs more than $100,000. Neil Dowling reports on a rare import

Harry Martin is used to people admiring his rare car. One day, at a concourse for Fords in Perth, he returned to his display car and found a woman sitting behind the steering wheel receiving stern words from her husband.

“I can’t get her out,” the husband said, “and she says she won’t leave until she gets one.”

She didn’t get one because there’s just one in WA, possibly only one in Australia, and it cost Harry $110,000 six years ago. So she left.

But that’s the attraction of the rare Saleen Mustang or to give it its full title, the S281 Speedster.

“It always draws a crowd because it is a mix of retro and modern, and people clearly see it’s not a Mustang Cobra, even though it’s based on one,” Harry said.

“Once I reckon I spoke to 600 people at one car show. It was great.”

Harry’s passion for the Saleen goes beyond owning a rare car.

When his car goes on show it collects much-needed donations for the Special Air Services’ resources trust, an organization involved in funding community projects such as mobile work camps. Harry heads the SAS Trusts not-for-profit Administrative Training Services Unit.

When the car is on display the trust holds raffles of rare-model Saleen cars signed by the car’s maker, Steve Saleen, as prizes.

“We’ve raised about $11,000 for the trust through car appearances and raffles,” Harry said.

Harry’s charitable example of an S281 is No. 10 of a limited edition of just 100 cars. It is the most popular model of a seven-car line-up produced by the Californian-based specialist vehicle builder, Saleen.

“It has the smallest engine of the V8s but Saleen has worked on it to produce 213kW (285hp) and a 0-100km/h time of only 5.2 seconds,” Harry said. “It is not only quick but I regularly get 11-litres/100km on standard unleaded petrol.”

“That’s a lot better than a quad-cam Mustang Cobra previously sold here through Tickford.”

To create an S281, Saleen buys Mustangs from Ford’s Dearborn factory at Michigan and strips them back in its Californian workshop in Irvine, Orange County.

Parts replaced range from suspension to brakes, body kits to woodgrain trim, and a new engine, differential and exhaust system.

It is numbered, in Harry’s case 9810 for the year of manufacture and its production number, and has flank graphics to bang the point home that this is no Mustang.

It’s unusual for a Saleen to be exported. Harry’s car was converted to right-hand drive in Australia. The high cost of his convertible is attributed mainly to the handmade components used to change it to right-hand drive and the import and state stamp duties.

His purchase was also influenced by the poor exchange rate in 1998. “It would be a lot cheaper to buy one now,” he said.

“Saleens are hard to get hold of and they’re very scare on the second-hand market in the US.”

They also hold their value. Three US magazines, Road & Track, Car & Driver and Motor Trend, rated the Saleen Mustangs as having the highest resale value of seven sports cars, including the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar XK8, Firebird Trans Am and Corvette.

“In this year, my 1998 model has an 84 per cent retained value. That’s pretty hard to beat for a six-year-old car.” Harry’s car may even be worth more. It recently won gold in its class at this year’s 40th anniversary Mustang show held by the Mustang Owners Club.

It looks, and drives, like brand new. The interior is flawless leather, the chromework is unblemished, the Eagle tyres barely show wear and the Laser Red paint mirrors the devotion given to the car.

That it’s covered just 26,000km since Harry bought it also improves its value and appeal.

“It’s my job,” he said of the low odometer reading. “I’m away 260 days of the year, so I don’t get to drive it as often as I want.”

The mesh-covered intake holes in the front spoiler and on the flanks seem to be for aesthetics.

“No, they’re for real,” Harry says. “The front ones lead to ducting to cool the front brakes and the intakes on the side, behind the doors does the same thing for the rear brakes.”

In the flesh it looks great. Smaller than the specifications indicate but well-balanced and distinctive.

“If it wasn’t as fast as what it is, I’d still have bought it,” he said. “It’s just a great car to drive.”

“At 110km/h that engine is only spinning at 1800rpm in fifth gear. Generally, I’d only use up to third gear, sometimes fourth, on a drive.”

This weekend Harry leaves to again visit the Saleen factory and catch up with a few good Ford guys, including racer and Cobra originator Carroll Shelby.

He may even have a look over the Saleen S7.

“I wouldn’t sell my car. Well, perhaps for an S7,” he says, of the purpose-built Saleen racer. “Maybe an SR. No, no. I’d only sell my car for the S7.”

specs
Saleen S281 Speedster
Price: about $120,000
Engine: 4.6-litre, V8, SOHC, 16-valve
Power: 213kW @ 5100rpm
Torque: 449Nm @ 4100rpm
0-100km/h: 5.2 seconds
Top speed: 260km/h
Fuel: Standard unleaded
Fuel tank: 59 litres
Fuel economy: 11.5-litres/100km
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Drive: Rear
Suspension: Front — MacPherson struts, variable-rate springs; Rear
— live axle, four-link, variable-rate springs on trailing arms,
four gas shocks
Brakes: 4-wheel discs, ABS
Wheels: 17-inch alloys, 245/45R17 tyres
Spare tyre: Full size
Length: 4630mm
Width: 1828mm
Height: 1305mm
Track: Front — 1493mm; Rear — 1538mm
Wheelbase: 2533mm
Weight: 1645kg

KEVIN HEFFERNAN’S COMPETITION S351 READY FOR GT-P NATION’S CUP SERIES

By: MICHAEL KNOWLING, Pictures: JULIAN EDGAR
Original Article: AUTOSPEED.COM

Ride ’em Cowboy

A Y2K Mustang that’s been breathed on by Saleen to the tune of over 450hp and then fully prep’d for GT-P Nation’s Cup series. Yep, this bucking horse is a real traditional-routes type circuit racer…

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

In a racing world that’s becoming increasingly filled with turbocharged, multivalve, DOHC techno screamers, it’s nice to occasionally see a traditional style grunter out there on the starting grid. Amidst a field of Porsches, Ferraris, a supercharged NSX and a Diablo SVR, Kevin Heffernan’s Ford Mustang is a real standout attraction in the Nation’s Cup series, the elite GT-P class exclusive to high performance exotic cars. This wild horse doesn’t pretend to combine the very best modern suspension design with the most efficient engine – it’s a big thumper of a fast car and that’s that!

Kevin Heffernan’s an experienced tin-top racer, having started off with Minis when he was barely 15, then moving onto a Gemini, Group C Commodore, VL Group A and, finally, VP and VS V8 Touring cars. His decision to step over to GT-P Nation’s Cup series for this year was heavily swayed by the relatively high level of television coverage there is per dollar. We spoke to Kevin at the 2000 Adelaide Clipsal 500 just before the Mustang’s very first competitive outing in the newly formed Nation’s Cup series.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

Carrying over his existing primary financial backing from Price Attack, Kevin recalls choosing the right car. “A Porsche was out of the question and a Corvette with all the jewellery wasn’t in my direction – but I still wanted a muscle car. Something a bit different.” The rulebook says you must have a manufacturer’s car, which can be tuned by their in-house high performance divisions – but it definitely cannot be just an aftermarket job. So it was the Ford-backed Saleen Mustang that won the ticket. After preparing freight and all the paper work to have a brand-spankers car brought over from the US, it arrived on the wharf like an unclaimed baby. An $84,000 baby.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

So what exactly is a Saleen Mustang? It’s a US package available to upgrade the average Mustang. And believe it or not, this car left the Santa Margarita Ford dealership powered by a mere six pot – now look at it! It came back from Saleen pepped up with a Vortech V1 supercharged 351 that’s packed with forged pistons, high performance alloy heads, roller rockers, hydraulic roller cam and lifters, Saleen upper and lower intake manifold sections and a 65mm throttle body. A high volume fuel pump and larger injectors are used for the fuel delivery side of things – incidentally, no high octane race fuel is allowed in the Nation’s Cup. Everyday PULP is the regulation brew.

These good bits combine to give “what they say in America is 495hp”, but this one’s actually been dyno’d here at 460 horses. However, it varies slightly from the usual Saleen spec sheet by having a MoTeC M8 programmable management system, which has seen the Saleen 80mm airflow meter replaced by a MAP sensor.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

The reason for the conversion is that “the MoTeC is more usable here (in Australia) and there’s limited local knowledge about Saleen system,” says Kevin. And other than that, the only other mechanical change post-Saleen is to the exhaust, which is carried on from their beautiful ceramic coated extractors. Having to comply with a regulation noise limit, a dual 3 inch exhaust system is muffled by four custom mufflers (no cats are required).

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

The driveline was beefed up by Saleen through the fitment of a 6-speed Borg Warner gearbox (complete with a short shifter), high performance clutch and pressure plate, custom “whopper” tailshaft and a Detroit 3.27:1 locker diff. Eighteen inch Saleen rims and a full body kit rounded out the cosmetic department. An aluminium radiator and an oil cooler were also fitted at Saleen as calculated safety measures – but the latter has since been beefed up in capacity given the car’s 100% racing role.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

With the massive Saleen upgrade fitted to the shiny new red Mustang, the Aussie guys then focussed on taking it that little step further. Making it a racecar. The factory suspension design was brought up to level with a Proflex fully adjustable combo. This gives 3 way (slow bump, fast bump and rebound) adjustable dampers complete with external reservoirs and coil springs only slightly softer than those in the V8 Tourers. Kevin chose the Proflex product safe in the knowledge that they’ve performed very well on his Touring Car, his wife Carol’s GT-P (Class E) Honda Civic VTi-R and even a hottie Monaro. Interestingly, he says that the overall suspension set-up of the Mustang actually feels similar to a V8 Touring Car.

After only a couple of brief familiarization laps, he says the car feels workable and has great turn-in – but it does lack a bit mid-corner. “There seems to be a geometry problem in the centre of the corner – which maybe probably something to do with the steering.” Unfortunately, at this early stage, not very much fine-tuning has been able to be done – the car’s barely finished being assembled. But all the right ingredients are there for a good result.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen MustangKevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

Braking wise, the Mustang holds onto its 4-pot Alcon/Saleen calipers, but the front discs are now up-sized substantially to 14 inches. Gone too are the Ford rear discs, and in their place are 4-pot Brembos biting 13 inch discs. No ABS is fitted. The heavily worked fronts are helped by a pair of fat convoluted ducts that feed cooling air to the eye of the hubs. And another indication that the car is harsh on the front brakes is reflected in the selection of front-to-rear pad materials. Pagid 14s go on the front and cooler temp 9s go on the back. The rules state that normal rubber brake hoses must be kept in service, however fluid is free. This car uses proven Castrol SRF.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

The ‘Stang is technically allowed to have 18×9 rims at the front and 18x10s at the rear, but it makes do with Saleen 18 by 9s all ’round. “It’s not so bad,” says Kevin, “you don’t really notice the difference.” There’s no control tyre used in Nation’s Cup and Kevin was free to go for Michelin 270/65 slicks all ’round. And, like brake fade, Kevin was unsure if high temperature wear of these soft rubbers was going to be a problem. “It is a bit heavy,” he comes back to once again.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

Inside the car, there are also regulations that have to be met. A car must retain its full interior, with the exception of the door trims (which enables the installation of a roll cage). The rear seat (if factory fitted) must also be retained. Virtually anything else can go. Kevin’s removed the factory airbags, stereo and the air conditioning system (there’s no compressor or any other part left). The heater is still hooked up for demisting purposes though. Things that went into the cockpit include a Saleen steering wheel (unfortunately there’s no non-airbag boss available) and Saleen knob, drilled pedals, fire extinguisher and a battery kill switch. A data logger (mainly for revs and boost) is also installed so that the scrutineers can keep an eye on what competitors are doing.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

For added safety inside the Mustang, there’s a Sparco carbon-fibre driver’s seat and a Velo passenger’s pew, plus a Willans harness for each. A full chrome-moly cage protects the whole cabin. Oh, and being from the US, it’s left hand drive too!

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

So how’s the big bill looking now? Well, add about another 20-30 grand and that’d be about right – bringing the grand total up to $104,000-114,000! More than most people’s piggy bank can hold, that’s for sure. Plus then there’s the expense of a huge team truck, racing fees and charges and maintaining the car. Here we’re talking tyres, fuel, pads, etc. In terms of spares, Kevin has only a windscreen, two axles and some replacement lower control arms. He does plan on getting some more parts behind him though, but at the moment there’s a possibility Ford Australia might decide to bring in guards.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

So you can see why sponsorship is so important. Cost is a killer. It’s actually Price Attack and various other sponsors that really own the car, truck and equipment. And, of course, sponsors want to see their products being paraded around on a top lookin’ car. The Mustang keeps its factory red paint work but it’s now crazed by crisscrossed silver pin-striping, sponsor logos and a black/yellow bonnet.

Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang
Kevin Heffernan’s S351 Saleen Mustang

So if Price Attack owns just about everything, what’s Kevin’s position? He’s the mechanic, truck driver and race driver – that’s what! He’s a very dedicated man. But he’s up against some tough opposition in the Nation’s Cup series. As he puts it, “The Porsches are breeding like rabbits and there’s some incredible cars here.” And when we asked him where on the track he’d like to be running, he jovially replied “hopefully just running on the track!” Kevin’s not expecting to be an outright contender – not just yet anyhow. The near future will see the team develop improved handling, more hp and solve a chronic fuel starvation problem.

Footnote:
While running at the Clipsal Adelaide 500, the Mustang was forced to retire due to it “melting a couple of pistons”. The cause is thought to be related to that dreaded fuel surge, or excessive combustion temps. Either way, Kevin says they’ll probably miss the next round, but they’re aiming to be back for Canberra. That’s racing.

[Source: autospeed]