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SPEEDVISION TO FEATURE EXTENSIVE SALEEN HISTORY

June 27, 2001 — With a record sales year now in progress and the recent growth of it’s high-performance parts division, Saleen Inc. is enjoying some of the greatest success in its 18-year history.  Fittingly, the Speedvision network and its highly popular “American Muscle Car” television show have assembled a 30-minute history of the company entitled: “Race Bred, The Saleen Mustang Story,” which traces the development of these special cars and their enthusiastic owners.

The show, which airs tonight (Wednesday) at 8:00 p.m. and again tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) at 3:30 p.m., was produced by Toby Murphy and Stan Rarden. Comprised of a narrative history of the Mustang-based Saleen sports cars, including interview with Steve Saleen, Saleen engineering Vice President Neil Hannemann and Saleen club president Debbie Blalock, “Race Bred” traces the high-performance car’s development from earliest versions all the way up to the latest S281 supercharged coupes and convertibles. The SpeedVision feature show also includes a comprhensive look at Saleen’s American supercar, the powerful Saleen S7.

In keeping with the show’s title and Saleen’s distinguished motorsports heritage, the program also includes select racing footage, including coverage of the Konrad/Team Saleen’s stunning GTS-class victory at the 2001 12 Hours of Sebring.

For more information on Saleen — its people and its products — visit the web site at www.saleen.com.

Click here to participate in the discussion.

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.

SALEENS S7Rs RACE TO THE FINISH AT 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

LE MANS, June 17, 2001 – ABC’s Wide World of Sports has often suggested that sports involve the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Well, that may be true for athletic adventures that last for less than three hours, some less than ten seconds. But for those participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans the emotions are more of sheer physical and mental exhaustion and the pride of finishing this momentous race.

At Le Mans, while winning is the ultimate objective for any manufacturer, the honor traditionally bestowed to those who finish this 24 hour marathon is timeless. At Le Mans, to finish is also victory.

That is why a few moments after the #1 Audi, the overall winner, crossed the finished line at 4 p.m. on Sunday, those gathered in the Saleen pit suite toasted the drivers and crews of the two Saleen S7Rs to finish the 2002 classic. Last year, the #60 Saleen/Allen Speedlab factory car gained a well-earned third-place podium finish in the Saleen S7R’s inaugural trip to Le Mans, setting the fastest lap en route.

This year, Saleen customer teams took the battle to the two factory Corvettes and a nest of Chrysler Vipers. The #68 RML/Graham Nash Saleen S7R finished fifth in GTS behind the #63 Corvette that won for the second-straight year at the 8.5-mile Sarthe Circuit. The #66 Konrad Motorsport, driven by last year’s podium mates Franz Konrad and Terry Borcheller, was seventh in class in spite of four hours lost replacing a gearbox that was
holed by a stone.

“We’re real proud of the effort put forth by our customer teams this year,” stated Steve Saleen, the creator of the S7R. “They not only had to compete against a well-financed factory effort, but also had to deal with a tremendous handicap imposed by the ACO. We are looking forward to the day that we can compete with the Vettes and the Vipers on a level playing field. We’re sure the result will be quite different.”

All three Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7Rs return to action in the British and Spanish GT Championships both of which they currently lead. The Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7Rs will battle the factory Corvettes in the next rounds of the American Le Mans series at Mid-Ohio (June 30) and Road America (July 7).

EXIDE TECHNOLOGIES NAMED EXCLUSIVE BATTERY SUPPLIER FOR SALEEN S7

EXIDE SELECT ORBITAL THE BATTERY OF CHOICE FOR AMERICAN SUPERCAR

PRINCETON, N.J., June 15 /PRNewswire/ — Exide Technologies (NYSE: EX), the global leader in stored electrical energy solutions, has signed an agreement to supply Exide Select Orbital(R) batteries to Saleen, Inc. Based in Irvine, California, Saleen specializes in the manufacture of high-performance vehicles for street and track; produces and markets a broad line of performance parts; and provides design, engineering and certification services. As a battery supplier to Saleen, Exide Technologies will provide the original-equipment batteries for all Saleen S7 street and racing vehicles.

The agreement calls for Exide Technologies to supply the Exide Select Orbital(R) — the world’s only original-equipment approved spiral-wound lead-acid battery — for use in Saleen’s top-of-the-line vehicles, including the Saleen S7, an American supercar, and the Saleen S7R, the racing version of the S7. Further, Exide Technologies will be an associate sponsor of the Saleen/Allen Speedlab race team starting with the prestigious 24 Hours of LeMans event on June 16 and 17. And Saleen will specify the Exide Select Orbital(R) as the preferred replacement battery for all Saleen S7 vehicles.

Saleen offers a full line of consumer vehicles as well as a wide array of parts and accessories designed for improving performance. Saleen’s S281 naturally-aspirated and supercharged models, available as coupes, convertibles or speedsters; the XP8 Performance Utility Vehicle; and the race-bred SR coupe are mainstays of the company’s high-performance vehicle line.

The crown jewel of Saleen’s vehicle lineup is the 2001 S7 supercar, one of the most exotic supercars in the world, capable of speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour, with a zero-to-60 time of under four seconds. The Saleen S7 redefines high-tech and modern racing technology with its 7-liter V-8 engine, advanced suspension system and aerodynamic design.

“We chose the Exide Select Orbital(R) because it is the only spiral-wound, sealed, absorbed glass mat lead-acid battery that has withstood the rigors required for original-equipment certification,” said Steve Saleen, Founder and President of Saleen. “In addition, Exide Technologies supports its products with a high-quality global service network.”

The Exide Select Orbital(R) features a highly efficient design and construction of tightly wound plates that provide unparalleled power among conventional automotive batteries. It holds its charge longer — and has a shelf life three times longer — than conventional batteries. The battery can be recharged in a fraction of the time, has greater power output and resists vibration better than any other lead-acid battery. Because the Exide Select Orbital(R) is completely sealed, it eliminates leaks and spills. It is extremely resistant to vibration, heat and cold and offers greater safety because it contains no free liquid electrolyte and does not produce gas.

“The Saleen signature on a vehicle signifies the state-of-the-art in design, performance, engineering and manufacturing,” said Craig Muhlhauser, President and Chief Operating Officer of Exide Technologies. “The Exide Select Orbital(R) is the only spiral-wound, sealed, absorbed glass mat lead-acid battery in the world that can meet these exacting, high-performance criteria for the Saleen vehicle line.”

Note:
Exide Technologies is the global leader in providing electrical energy storage solutions. The company has operations in 89 countries, serving the industrial and transportation markets.

Industrial applications include network-power batteries for telecommunications systems, fuel-cell load leveling, electric utilities, railroads, photovoltaic (solar-power related) and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) markets; and motive-power batteries for a broad range of equipment uses, including lift trucks, mining vehicles and commercial vehicles.

Transportation uses include automotive, heavy-duty truck, agricultural, marine and other batteries, as well as new technologies being developed for hybrid vehicles and new 42-volt automotive applications. The company supplies both aftermarket and original-equipment transportation customers.

Further information about Exide Technologies, its financial results and other information can be found at www.exide.com .

Media contact: Tim Yost, 734-827-3282; tyost@exideworld.com
Investor contact: Thomas J. Smith, 609-919-4946, tsmith@exideworld.com.

Certain statements in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements as defined by the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. As such, they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results of the company to be materially different from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These are enumerated in further detail in the company’s Form 10-K.

MEDIA CONTACTS at LeMans:
Frederic Guyonneau for Exide: 678-361-7321
Jack Gerkin for Saleen: 714-814-9901

MEDIA CONTACTS in U.S.:
James Chew for Exide: 610-698-4458
Tim Yost for Exide: 734-827-3282

INVESTOR CONTACT:
Thomas J. Smith for Exide: 609-919-4946

[SOURCE: Exide Technologies]

FELLOWS PRAISES PIT CREW

By: N.A. on May 29, 2001
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

The Saleens were faster in the pre-qualifying session for next month’s 24 Hours of LeMans. But when it comes to the famed twice-around-the-clock race, Ron Fellows is confident his pit crew will carry the day for Corvette Racing.

“We were a couple of seconds faster than we were last year,” said Fellows, who will be honoured on June 7 as Mississauga’s athlete of the year. “But the Saleens were two seconds faster than us.”

“I’m not that worried, though. I think the Corvette is a faster car. And in the race we’ll have a far superior race team. At (the 12 Hours of) Sebring I think we would have been faster than the Saleens if it were not for the starter motor problems. We were 10 seconds faster than them in our pit stops and that’s a huge edge.”

Fellows will share the wheel with Johnny O’Connell and Scott Pruett. Pruett, a former CART driver who had an ill-fated, one-year run in NASCAR’s Winston Cup series last season, replaces Chris Kneifel, who retired as an active driver to become CART’s chief steward.

ASARO THIRD:
Unionville’s Billy Asaro, who won three consecutive U.S. Formula 2000 series races, settled for a third-place finish in Sunday’s rain-delayed “Night Before The Indy” event at Indianapolis Raceway Park, not to be confused with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Asaro, who qualified seventh, managed to work his way up to third place and a spot on the podium for the fourth consecutive race, but was unable to catch Mexico’s Piero Rodate, who took his first checkered flag. Tommy Constantine of Greece was second.

BURTON CONFIDENT:
“I don’t want to sound facetious or cocky, but it felt normal,” NASCAR driver Jeff Burton said after Sunday’s win in the Coca-Cola 600. “Winning is what Roush Racing is all about.” Burton’s teammates Mark Martin and Kurt Busch were fourth and 12th respectively in the race.

TRIPLE HEADER?
When asked about second-place 600 finisher Kevin Harvick’s tongue-in-cheek plan to run 1,400 miles next Memorial Day weekend (the Grand National race at the speedway Saturday, then the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday), Tony Stewart said Harvick was fit enough to do so. “They just need to keep him out of bars,” Stewart quipped.

INDY FOLLOW-UP:
When Team Penske duo Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran finished 1-2 in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 it marked only the third time teammates have crossed the finish line in that order. The last time was in 1999 when Arie Luwendyk won and Treadway Racing teammate Scott Goodyear, the Toronto native, was second. . . . Castroneves’ victory, following last year’s win by Juan Montoya, marked only the second time in race history that rookies have won in back-to-back years. . . . Scott Sharp was the fifth pole-sitter to finish last. Greg Ray ended up last a year ago after taking the pole. . . . Sharp was only the second pole-sitter not to complete even a lap of the race. The other was Roberto Guerrero. . . . Michael Andretti, who finished third but led briefly, became the only driver to lead the 500 in three different decades.

NEXT FOR CART:
Helio Castroneves and the five other CART drivers who raced in the Indy 500 return to the CART series this weekend with Sunday’s event at the Milwaukee Mile.

NASCAR TOPS:
NASCAR dominated a new ESPN poll measuring fan response to the favourite type of auto racing in the U.S.A. NASCAR won 55 per cent of votes while drag racing, with 12.2 per cent, outdistanced both open wheel (CART – 9.1 per cent) and F1 (3.9 per cent). Drag racing makes its only Canadian national event stop this weekend when the International Hot Rod Association tour visits the Grand Bend Motorplex. More than 30,000 attended the three-day event’s Canadian debut last June.

LATE RACING NEWS

By: N.A. on May 21, 2001
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 51, ISSUE 22

Weaver out at Bentley
James Weaver will not race for Bentley in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Weaver pulled out of the recent pre-race test day for what the team described as personal reasons, and it will be confirmed this week that the 46-year-old has decided against taking his place in the second Bently EXP Speed 8. Speculation insists that he has expressed safety concerns in the wake of Audi driver Michele Alboreto’s death at the Lausitzring last month, a test at which Weaver was present with Bentley. Weaver is believed to be unhappy that the car is not fitted with tire-pressure sensors. Perry McCarthy appears the most likely replacement to team with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. He was on hand at the test day as a so-called reserve but didn’t drive.

Saleen to FIA GT?
Steve Saleen says his Sebring-winning S7R will be produced in sufficient numbers for it to be eligible for the FIA GT Championship next year. But a possible rule change could legislate away any possibility of his radical contender contesting the European-based series. Championship boss Stephane Ratel reckons that the present requirement for 25 road versions of each race car should be increased. “This series should be for high-volume production cars with which the public can identify, so to my mind 25 cars is not enough,” he said. The plan will be discussed in the coming weeks.

Prodrive illegal
Race and rally specialist Prodrive’s new Ferrari 550 Maranello racer has been declared illegal for the FIA GT Championship. The car was meant to debut in last weekend’s Silverstone round, but it was found to contravene the series rules on the eve of the meeting. The new car runs a transverse Xtrac racing gearbox in place of the road car’s longitudinal original, but the rules stipulate that the orientation of the transmission must remain the same. Prodrive insist that only the orientation of the gear cluster has been changed and that the gearbox still runs fore and aft and therefore is legal. A clarification was being sought ahead of this weekend’s round at Zolder, Belgium.

Donlavey taps Simo
Winston Cup team owner Junie Donlavey has hired TransAm Series champ Brian Simo to drive Donlavey’s Ford at Sears Point in June and Watkins Glen in August. Simo will replace Hut Stricklin for those two Cup races. “We’ll be doing some testing prior to the Sears Point race,” Simo said. Donlavey is hoping to get the team’s road-course car ready to test at Virginia International Raceway before Sears.

FELLOWS HOPES CORVETTE TAKES REVENGE AT LE MANS

By: N.A. on March 20, 2001
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Ron Fellows wants another shot at the competition he calls “the thing” and this time with a healthy Corvette C5-R.

But he’ll have to wait until June 16-17 when he crosses the pond to France for the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The “thing” is the U.S.-funded, British-built Saleen S7R, a newcomer to the American Le Mans series, which will also contest the event, after which the U.S. series run by Don Panoz is named.

The Saleen beat the Corvettes for the first time this season in the 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.) to capture the GTS class. A prototype Audi won the overall race.

While he concedes that the Saleen is “pretty fast,” Fellows doesn’t believe it belongs in the GTS class.

“But it’s there and so we have to figure out a way to beat it,” said the Mississauga native. “There’s nothing like a challenge.”

Fellows attempt to beat the Saleen at Sebring was hampered by a faulty starter motor which had to be changed twice during the race and cost the team 10 laps.

Fellows knows both he and the second Corvette, which finished second in the class at Sebring while Fellows was third, will have their work cut out for them at Le Mans.

“It’ll have a big advantage at Le Mans because it’s narrower and lower and it’s a proper race car,” he said. “It looks a lot like the Porsche GT1. It sure looked like it in my rearview mirror and following it, too.”

CYCLING FATALITY:
The auto racing world is mourning the death of champion driver Bob Wollek who was killed when he was struck while riding his bicycle near Sebring International Raceway last Friday.

He was in Sebring for the 24-hour endurance race on Saturday, which he won in 1985.

The 57-year-old native of Strasbourg, France, won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times and two class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year, he won five American Le Mans Series events.

Wollek was riding his bike near the track late in the afternoon when he was hit from behind by a car. The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

RETIREMENT SUPPORTED:
Readers of the U.S. racing publication AutoWeek 69 per cent in favour of NASCAR breaking with tradition and retiring the No. 3 of legendary Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt, who was killed in a crash during last month’s Daytona 500.

Even many among the 31 per cent opposed to retiring the number expressed the view that removing the number from view on the track would cause people to eventually forget Earnhardt’s contributions.

SUPER SUB:
Oakville’s Kenny Wilden, substituting for injured American driver Leighton Reese, finished a strong third in Trans-Am Series 100, a support event of the 12 Hours of Sebring, this past weekend.

Wilden, driving the Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, passed Johnny Miller’s Jaguar XKR on lap 26 to gain a spot on the podium behind winner Boris Said and runner-up Paul Gentilozzi.

CART GRADS:
Brazilian Tarso Marques, whose top finish in 17 CART races last year for Gerald Forsythe Racing was seventh in the final race of the 2000 season on the California Speedway super oval, finished 14th in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Two former CART champions, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Montoya, both failed to finish the race.

SALEEN S7 SUPERCAR TO USE NEWTECH’S HIGH-PERFORMANCE BRAKE SYSTEM AS ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT

DETROIT, March 6 /PRNewswire/ — NewTech Group International today announced that its revolutionary new full-contact brake system will be installed as original equipment on the 2002 Saleen S7 supercar, making Saleen, Inc. the brake company’s first OE customer. The system will also be available as an option on the high-performance 2002 special edition Saleen Mustangs (S281 and SR). The announcement was made at the 2001 SAE World Congress in Detroit.

The full-contact brake system, fully developed by NewTech and its French affiliates, is composed of sensors and an Intelligent Braking System (IBS) and a radically different single, circular pad that distributes pressure over the full 360-degree surface of the disc. Compared to conventional brakes that use pads to apply pressure to only a small percentage of the disc, the NewTech brake is much higher performing, virtually fade-free, costs less to install and produce and is much more durable. NewTech’s technology can even enable the automotive industry to offer lifetime warranties on the product.

Under the agreement, Saleen will handle the certification process by conducting an extensive road-testing program. NewTech, meanwhile, will continue to develop its braking system to meet the needs of its customers, to whom it sells the system under licensing agreement.

The 200+ mph Saleen S7 is the first true American supercar, a category that includes Ferrari and Lamborghini models. Saleen expects to build 400 S7 vehicles over the next four years.

More than 1,000 Saleen Mustangs were sold in 2000. The California-based manufacturer is aiming to boost its 2001 sales by 20%.

NewTech/Saleen

About NewTech:
NewTech Group International is an independent Quebec-based company offering a full range of research and development, design and full-contact brakes to the automotive and heavy truck industries. NewTech’s mission is to develop the best brake system in the world.

To this end, the company has hired 50 of the top researchers and engineers from Europe, Asia and North America. Including technicians, communication personnel and administrators, NewTech employs about 120 full-time staff.

About Saleen, Inc.
Saleen, Inc. was founded by Steve Saleen in 1983. The company, which recently marked its 18th year of operation, specializes in designing and producing high-performance sports cars. Saleen is the largest American manufacturer of specialty cars. The company’s goal is to build the highest-performing cars, at the most competitive price, in its category.

The Saleen partnership is the first automobile original equipment supply contract that NewTech has signed with a car manufacturer, and second with a vehicle manufacturer. Four months ago, NewTech signed a deal to supply Renault’s truck division with a brake system adapted to its Class 8 heavy-duty vehicles.

SOURCE: NewTech Group International

ENGINEERING AN AMERICAN SUPERCAR

By: AMY HIGGINS on March 1, 2001
Original Article: MACHINE DESIGN, VOL. 73, ISSUE 5

A space-age chassis and an engine fit for both racing and street cruising take Saleen’s “supercar” to new levels.

Zero to 60 in under 4 sec. A top speed North of 200 mph. Ground effects that would let the car cruise at 160 mph — upside down. Suffice it to say, the new S7 super car from specialty carmaker Saleen Inc., Irvine, Calif., would surely blow the doors off Herbie. Throw in sleek lines, smooth curves, and Delorean-style doors, and you’ve got one fine-looking ride that gives “supercar” a new meaning.

Incredibly, Saleen’s new beauty was designed, engineered, manufactured, and ready for delivery in just 18 months. But development wasn’t a one-man gig. Saleen worked closely with OEMs from around the globe including Italian brake manufacturer Brembo, British racing house, Ray Mallock Ltd. (RML), and a host of other specialty suppliers.

“Niche manufacturing is about using the best available from the world’s high-quality suppliers,” explains Steve Saleen, president and founder of Saleen Inc., “It’s a nontraditional way to build a car, but for small-volume manufacturing, it’s the most effective and efficient method to bring a quality car to market with minimal cost.”

In designing the supercar, the objective was straightforward: Design a vehicle that could easily compete with the fastest, most luxurious, and best-handling grand touring cars in the world, yet comfortably tool around on highways, autobahns, or country roads. The first step–a chassis and suspension fit for racing and street cruising.

Space-age chassis
Saleen tapped RML’s expertise in designing and engineering the S7’s futuristic chassis, suspension system, and overall look. RML built the preproduction chassis and body in Wellingborough, England, while the final prototype was assembled at Saleen’s plant in Irvine, Calif.

A lightweight steel, space-frame chassis is reinforced with a honeycomb-composite-carbon fiber that cuts weight but adds stiffness. Fully independent unequal-length “A” arms and lightweight aluminum dampers with coilover springs make up the basic suspension. Special CNC-machined aluminum uprights with a spider weblike structure direct cooling air to the brakes and wheel bearings.

Other components include specially tuned Brembo-supplied aluminum brakes: six-piston, 15-in. ventilated discs on the front, and 14-in. in the rear. Center hub-mounted wheels are shod with Pirelli P-Zero Rossa tires, size 275×30-19 upfront and 355×25-19 in back.

The S7 has a relatively large footprint with a 106-in. wheelbase and 68.75-in. front track. According to Saleen, the car’s presence is “amazing.” It stretches to 188 in. long and just over 78 in. wide. In true sportscar fashion, the S7 rides low, its body perched just 4 in. above the ground. At 41 in. high, it sits 3 in. lower than a Lamborghini Diablo, and at 2,750 lb, weighs 650 lb less. “We wanted a ‘form-follows-function’ look, but also one that was beautiful,” says Saleen. “I’d say we succeeded.”

Engineers also made safety a high priority. For starters, the S7 fuel tank sits at chassis center. This reduces changes to the car’s handling with fuel load, and improves overall packaging, says Saleen. A front-suspension antiroll bar, carbon-fiber rocker panels and doors, and three-point seat belts with automatic pretensioners add to the mix. Aluminum honeycomb panels add strength to the steel chassis and absorb impact. The same material makes up the front crush structure and rear crumple zones.

Built for speed
Powering the supercar is a 7-liter (427 in.3), normally aspirated, aluminum V-8 that generates 550 hp at 6,400 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Torque transfers to the rear wheels through a new-generation, six-speed transaxle.

Interestingly, the huge powerplant is just slightly over-square in that the stroke length is actually shorter than the bore size. Over-square engines are typically used in racing because they develop more power at higher rpm. On the other hand, they tend to lack torque at lower speed, which makes them less suitable for cruising down the highway. The S7 spans both worlds with a 4.125-in. bore and 4-in. stroke.

Though the S7 engine block is cast according to a traditional Ford design, Saleen completely reengineered it 8 in. shorter than the original block. A compact front engine accessory drive system with a side-mounted water pump streamlines the engine and helps distribute weight.

Further improving weight distribution and CG is a midchassis-mounted engine. This arrangement also allows for an especially tall “true” downdraft induction system. Here, air flows through a carbon-fiber air box leading to a magnesium throttle body and intake manifolds. Fuel feeds through matched trumpets in a straight shot to the intake ports.

The use of space-age materials makes engine components lighter and more reliable. Take the high-strength piston rods, for example. They are forged from a new EN40B billet steel. Beryllium exhaust valve seats effectively transfer heat away from the all-aluminum, CNC-machined cylinder heads. Stainless-steel valves and titanium retainers toughen the valve train. And a specially designed crankshaft is crafted from 4340 forged billet steel.

Yet another performance feature is Saleen’s dry-pump, oil-delivery system. The system cuts power-robbing viscous friction, improves ground clearance, and thwarts oil starvation in hard cornering. Innovation doesn’t end there. The S7’s huge muffler has a twofold purpose: It cuts noise and acts as part of the rear impact crumple zone. Surprisingly, the supercar meets all federal and California emission-control standards as a transitional low-emissions vehicle.

A true drag diffuser
Advantages gained in the wind tunnel are priceless, something not lost on S7 designers. They spent considerable time at Scotland’s University of Glasgow wind-tunnel facilities refining drag-to-lift ratio, center of gravity, drag coefficient, and downforce. With the S7, what you see is not all you get. Full underside body sculpting helps cut underbody turbulence and boost overall stability at high speeds.

Gills and fascia openings add to the S7’s exotic beauty while serving a functional purpose. For example, side scoops let air move through the vehicle to cool the transmission while split radiators exhaust under and to the sides of the car to produce downforce. A roof intake system supplies additional air to the engine, while a nose scoop helps ventilate the cabin.

Moving inside, creature comforts are as impressive as the exterior. Connolly leather upholstered seats and surfaces, air-conditioning, adjustable pedals, and a six-disc CD player are just a few of the features.

Tall drivers might find the S7 incredibly considerate to their plight with the removable steering wheel for easier entry, as well as an asymmetrical cockpit. Here, drivers sit more toward the center of the cabin than passengers, improving both visibility and weight distribution.

The supercar also sports a special, live-video rear-view “mirror” that uses a video camera concealed in the rear of the car and an LCD mounted where a traditional rearview mirror would sit. Analog gauges and a center-mounted tachometer are highlighted with brushed aluminum and body-color accents adding to the S7’s elegance.

Car enthusiasts lucky enough to get their hands on a 2001 Saleen S7 will pay handsomely. The supercar retails for $385,000. However, all hope is not lost for those with less dough. Saleen says it will build a less-expensive, higher-volume model to meet its goal of selling 300 to 400 cars worldwide through the S7’s four-year production run.

MATERIALS OUTLOOK

By: N.A. on January 8, 2001
Original Article: AMERICAN METAL MARKET, VOL. 109, ISSUE 5

Metals in Motion

Titanium, magnesium in powerful V-8
DETROIT — Titanium valve retainers and magnesium intake manifolds and throttle bodies are employed in the aluminum-block/aluminum-head 7.0-liter V-8 engine used in the high-powered Saleen S7 sports car built in Irvine, Calif., by Saleen Inc. The low-slung, 200-mile-per-hour sports car will be built in very low volumes for sale in the United States and England, initially. For the continental European and Middle East markets, the 550-horsepower cars will be assembled in the United Kingdom. The first models will show up in the U.S. market in the second quarter of 2001 priced at $375,000 apiece.

Plastic car bodies seen making gains
DETROIT — Regular production of car bodies made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics may begin in Europe by 2005. Low-volume production already is undertaken by some sports car builders, but higher output levels for family car applications should be reached in four or five years, according to a number of BMW AG engineering executives and managers. Research and development subsidiary BMW Technik, Munich, Germany, recently started operating a pilot plant for the production of composite car bodies making extensive use of carbon fiber technology.

Lotus Elise Sport 190 off to the races
DETROIT — A few dozen Lotus Elise Sport 190 cars with aluminum spaceframe chassis have been purchased by U.S. citizens at $56,000 to $57,000 apiece for use on the race track–the only way the car owners are allowed to use the extremely lightweight (1,480 pounds) two-seaters, which aren’t certified for regular street use in this country. The Sport 190 is a four-cylinder-engine-equipped, 190-horsepower track version of the Lotus sports car built in Norwich, England, by Lotus Cars Ltd.

Chrysler hopes new Jeep SUV scores
DETROIT — The Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG is hoping that its new steel-body Jeep sport utility vehicle, the Liberty, due out in the summer, will boost Jeep sales and get its overall market performance back on track. The Toledo, Ohio.-built Liberty SUVs will join the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler models in Chrysler’s Jeep lineup.