Tag Archives: Parnelli Jones Edition


By: CHUCK CHIANG on January 23, 2007
Original Article: BULLETIN, THE (BEND, OR)

Bend, Ore. Area Engineer Devises Machine Solutions

Jan. 23–For someone who has worked with machines all his life, Wes Hoekstra’s hobby isn’t surprising.

Hoekstra, owner of S & W Engineering Co. located about 10 miles northwest of Bend, recently acquired a 2007 Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang, one of only 500 produced by the sports car customizing company.

“That seems to be the weakness for us engineers,” he said regarding his Mustang, the newest in his collection of eight cars.

Hoekstra’s affinity to moving metal is understandable. For 30 years, he has designed and produced intricate machines — some as large as a cube 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide — capable of producing anything from firearms engravings to airplane brakes.

The machines take roughly three months for Hoestra’s permanent staff of three to complete

from scratch, and are used by manufacturers mainly for cutting material into specific shapes, which would then be combined with other components for an end product.

Last year, S & W produced 21 machines for Beaverton-based Nike Inc. at roughly $200,000 each. The machines produce the nitrogen air-bubble soles used in the company’s new Air Max 360 line of shoes.

“We had to make sure we can make parts for shoes that would fit (Miami Heat all-star basketball center) Shaquille O’Neal, whose shoe size is 24,” said Hoekstra, 69.

The machines, which helped Nike streamline its manufacturing operations, have garnered attention for Hoekstra and his company. Industry news source Sporting Goods Intelligence ran an article on S & W in December, and Hoekstra is now talking with The Boeing Co. about making machines for the Chicago-based aerospace giant.

Hoekstra, a native of Minnesota, credits his father for the career path, which led to S & W Engineering and the products, which have been nicknamed “incredible machines.”

“My dad was a master machinist,” he said. “I guess I’m just in that image.”

QUESTION: How did you start working with Nike?

ANSWER: What happened was, Nike found me. They said they’ve been looking for about a year for someone who can work on a concept of a new shoe that they are about to do, and the parts involved cutting out materials ultrasonically.

When Nike came to me, I gave them a lecture on the machine design I had in mind, and they called me two days later, saying that I won (the contract). It was a big job to get, and these machines are the most state-of-the-art, sophisticated ones Nike now owns.

Q: You started S & W 30 years ago. Why?

A: At the time, I was in the aerospace industry, and the (sector) was on a downswing. I had a lot of ideas (about manufacturing machines) that I wanted to develop, so I began making them.

Someone started calling them “incredible machines,” and that’s where the name came from.

I’ve done this for 50 years.

It’s my niche. It would take hours for me to get through all the processes involved in making machines with such high levels of precision, and for operations as complex as this, it usually takes a large team (to develop these machines). The advantage I have is that I can do it all.

Q: What’s driving you to produce these machines, besides your expertise for electronics and mechanical engineering?

A: My whole emphasis is that I am a big proponent of keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States. Had Nike not have ordered these machines, the job (of making these components) would have gone overseas to China, and it would have taken 150 Chinese workers to replicate the work being done by one of my machines, operated by one person.

To me, (keeping manufacturing in the United States) is extremely important. It’s imperative that American manufacturing increases its efficiency, because we’ll lose it if we don’t. We have to be competitive in the global market, and if we don’t take some labor-intensity out of the jobs, they’ll go overseas where labor is cheaper.

Q: Is Central Oregon’s location a problem, since many of your clients are not local?

A: I personally drive the machines over to Beaverton, so it isn’t a problem. We can go anywhere (with the machines).

When we lived in Santa Barbara, (Calif.), 15 years ago, (Central Oregon) was where we vacationed, and we knew that Bend was going to get discovered one day. Everything’s here. You have the rivers and the lakes for fishing and white-water rafting, and you have the mountains for hiking, biking and skiing. That’s why we bought 49 acres of land out here 15 years ago.

Q: What’s next in S & W’s plans?

A: Right now, we’re in the process of getting the certifications done for Boeing, because we’re getting ready to make some machines for them. The machines will make components for their 787 Dreamliners, and that’s huge. They already have 500 planes sold, and their manufacturing has to get up to 10 planes a month.

But what we’re really trying to get into is in-factory automation. It’s heavy in specific designs because every step of a manufacturing process is different, depending on the application.

I don’t care to get (S & W) huge, but we may have to.

And if we that happens, we may have to move to a larger commercial space, probably something in the area’s three cities (Bend, Redmond or Sisters).


By: MARK VAUGHN on January 22, 2007
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 57 ISSUE 4

Parnelli just wanted a paint job for his ’70 ‘Stang, instead he got 500 new ones with his name on the side

You could count the American racers with the credentials of Parnelli Jones on one hand (assuming no band saw accidents): Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Carroll Shelby. They are an elite bunch, with championships in diverse arenas as well as enough engineering smarts to start their own car companies, which a couple of them did.

It’s not necessary to review Jones’ accomplishments, but just in case you were born in the video-game age, here we go: He won the Indy 500 in 1963 in a car called “Old Calhoun” and almost won it again in 1967 in that whooshing-cool turbine car; won the Trans-Am championship back in 1970 when it was a bigger deal than NASCAR, by only a single point over the formidable Mark Donohue; won the Baja 1000 twice in that wild “Big Oly” Bronco with the huge wing on top; and took a class win at Pikes Peak in 1963 driving a Mercury stock car. That’s in addition to numerous sprint car titles, USAC championships and a career begun as a jalopy driver on the dirt tracks of Southern California.

He was even more successful as a team owner with business partner Vel Miletich, winning 53 Indy car races and the Indy 500 twice with Al Unser driving. He ran his own Formula One team from 1974 to 1976.

His business sense, with that of Miletich, meant most of Southern California at one point drove around on the Firestone tires he sold. (“Get Your ‘Stones From Parnelli Jones,” the bumper stickers said.)

So last year, when Jones inquired at Saleen about getting his personal 1970 Mustang repainted, it wasn’t like just your average 5.0 reader had wandered into Saleen Inc.

Steve Saleen, meanwhile, is no slouch, with a long racing resume of his own that includes nine championships and an even longer carbuilding CV, first as a “tuner” (a word Saleen now abhors), then as an increasingly bigger manufacturer of everything from S281 Saleen Mustangs to Ford GTs and the all-conquering street-blaster twin-turbo S7.

So when these two automotive forces came together, they almost had to produce more than just paint.

“At first I just wanted a paint job,” said Jones. “Then we got to talking.”

Long story short, since we only have two pages, they made the Mustang you see here, a car inspired by Jones’ Trans-Am championship-winning Boss 302 of 1970.

“The whole purpose is really a tribute to Parnelli,” Saleen said. “We tried to capture all the things that were memorable in that period of time.”

Those memorable things come in cues both subtle and obvious from front to rear on the car, including, Saleen said, “…the stylized headlights with that ’70s slant, the chrome detail that was so popular at the time, the sports slats on the rear glass, the wing, and the big number 15 on the side.”

The cosmetics are just the beginning.

“To be authentic, it had to have an honest-to-goodness 302 motor.”

That motor starts as a 4.6-liter modular three-valve sohc V8. Saleen strokes and bores it to 5.0 liters, adds 24 pounds/hour injectors, ported aluminum heads, performance camshafts and dual exhausts. The engine management is recalibrated to make the most of those improvements, and then the stock internal parts are replaced with forged-aluminum pistons, forged-steel con rods and a forged-steel crank so the whole thing doesn’t blow up.

“That’s an honest blueprinted engine with 400 hp and 390 lb-ft,” Jones added.

The transmission is a five-speed manual with a short-throw shifter routed to an 8.8-inch differential with a 3.73 final drive.

To get all the power to the ground and be able to drive around a corner with it, the Saleen crew went to work on the suspension. The heart of the setup is the Watts linkage in the rear, which replaces the Panhard rod found in the stock ‘Stang.

“A Panhard rod works well for NASCAR where you’re always going left, but it’s not real good for going over bumps and transitioning,” said Bill Tally, vp of engineering at Saleen.

While the Parnelli/Saleen rear is still built around a solid-beam axle (an IRS would have been too complicated and expensive), it is kept on the ground by two cleverly placed Watts links on each side, swiveling from outboard body mounts directly onto the back plate of the diff.

It allowed a stiffer rear antiroll bar and a generally stiffer setup without any great compromise to ride quality.

The rest of the setup includes RaceCraft Suspension pieces like stiffer springs, shocks and bushings front and rear, none of which is shared with any other Saleen Mustang.

We drove a short route with Jones himself over the twisting hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula where he lives.

The car is smoothly improved over the stock ‘Stang in every department. You feel the extra power and torque, naturally, but you also get much better steering feel and quicker cornering. The whole thing works together well; it’s not like a crude aftermarket setup with a monster blower and no brakes.

“I call the car ‘happy,'” said Jones. “It’s a lot of fun to drive, it’s a real balanced car, exceptionally balanced.”

Your checkbook better be exceptionally balanced if you want to buy one, though, since the price is $59,015. There will be only 500 made, and more than half of those are already ordered. If you want one, you’d better log onto www.saleen.com pronto.

Or maybe there’s no rush. Saleen points out that Jones’ teammate on that 1970 Trans-Am team was George Follmer, who drove an almost identical Boss 302 Mustang and has indicated he is not averse to a commemorative Mustang of his own. So you never know.

BASE PRICE: $59,015 (plus $1,300 gas-guzzler tax and $1,550 transportation)
DRIVETRAIN: 5.0-liter, 400-hp, 390-lb-ft V8; rwd, five-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 3550 pounds
0 to 60 MPH: 4.5 seconds (est.)


By: N.A. on April 15, 2006


LEXUS has unveiled its LS 600h hybrid – which combines a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine and a pair of electric motors – at the New York International Automobile Show.

Billed as a high-performance car with extra electric boost rather than a fuel-sipping eco-warrior, it has a total output of about 324kW.

No fuel consumption figures have been released as yet, but Lexus promises ‘power and performance on a par with modern 12-cylinder engines, with fuel efficiency that matches a conventional V8 unit’.

Also flying in the face of higher oil prices are two higher performance versions of the Ford Mustang which went on show in New York.

Saleen dished up its Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang, named after the legendary US race car driver. Its V8 engine produces 275kW.

The Shelby GT-H version of the same was unveiled with a promise it will be available for rental at some US Hertz locations.

Named after another racer, Carroll Shelby, it has 25 per cent more power than the Mustang GT.


Design Celebrates Racing Legend, Parnelli Jones, and Delivers 370 bhp

April 13, 2006, New York, New York – Specialty automobile manufacturer, Saleen, (www.saleen.com) expands its product lineup and celebrates legendary racecar driver, Parnelli Jones, by announcing the Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang.

Parnelli Jones and Steve Saleen, New York Auto Show
Parnelli Jones and Steve Saleen, New York Auto Show

Steve Saleen, President & CEO of Saleen, said, “Parnelli Jones is an American racing icon. In the fifties, sixties, and seventies Parnelli won just about every race that he appeared in, including the Indy 500. 1970 was the year that the SCCA Trans Am Series boasted the most competitive field ever, and Parnelli Jones and his Boss 302 Mustang competed against the likes of Mark Donahue and Dan Gurney, and there he captured the championship. Our relationship began in 1987 when Parnelli raced for me on the Saleen team, and helped us win our first SCCA Manufacturer’s Championship at Sebring, Florida. I can’t think of any other individual that brings with him the unique connection between championship winning Mustangs and Saleen.”

Parnelli Jones commented, “It’s a true honor to have a special edition Saleen wearing my name. This impressive car takes me back in time – it makes me want to take it for a run around the track. I’m sure that this car will be an adrenaline-pumping experience for anyone who has the chance to own or drive one. I think that this car is going to evoke nostalgia not only for Steve Saleen and myself, but for everyone that lays their eyes on it.”

Advanced & Authentic

In 1970, spectators wore bell bottom pants and mood rings and watched Parnelli in his Grabber Orange Boss 302 Mustang with black striped hood, cross the finish line to take numerous checkered flags and overall championship.

Today’s Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang reflects the same authentic vintage attitude but comes complete with a new Saleen 302 cid V-8, 3-valve engine. This engine produces a whopping 370 horsepower at 6000 RPM, and with 370 ft-lb of torque at 4000 RPM. The high compression engine transforms a normal drive into an exciting thrill ride. Awakening the senses, the new Saleen engine is equipped with a high compression, high revving valve train, utilizing forged pistons, rods, and crankshaft and a lightweight, aluminum flywheel. Top-performance calibrations are thanks to Saleen’s PowerFlashTM technology.

Also included in this Limited Edition are new Saleen 302 valve covers. Completing the authenticity and providing additional high performance capabilities is the new exhaust system that provides a low-resonating sound that is a legacy of Saleen.

Classic & Contemporary

“We designed this commemorative vehicle to capture the raw, aggressive feel that Parnelli raced with, and created a racing revolution,” continued Steve Saleen.

The new Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition comes in one color, Grabber Orange. Period correct details include a black striped “shaker” hood, race-style hood pins, black trunk deck, and 302 side stripes.

Completing the overall effect, the new Limited Edition comes with Saleen performance styling including front fascia with racing-style air dam, side skirts, rear fascia, rear 1970 replica wing, trunk insert license plate panel with chrome trim, rear window quarter panels, and a racing-style billet gas cap. Demonstrating further the authenticity of this retro-beauty, Parnelli’s racing number, 15, removable and reusable static cling race decals, and the Ford blue oval are displayed – just like the one that appeared on Parnelli’s 1970 Boss 302 Mustang.

Signature decals of both Steve Saleen and Parnelli Jones show above the door roof rails, and an all-new Saleen Parnelli Jones logo appears throughout the exterior and interior. Borrowed from the seventies are the restyled rear window louvered sport slats, which is an essential part of the overall styling.

Saleen Racecraft Suspension

Keeping with both Steve Saleen’s and Parnelli’s race ancestry, the Limited Edition is designed utilizing Saleen’s own precision suspension. However this all new, yet classic Watts-Link suspension is derived from racing and performance applications, and offers the purest in race-type handling. The superior springs, shocks and swaybars provide even greater performance capabilities enabling the tires to remain firmly on the road even in extreme cornering.

Rounding off the Limited Edition are the Minilite-style 19”x9” front and 19”x10” rear racing wheels which prominently display the Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition center cap, which reflects the cool racing heritage from which they were bred. The car is outfitted with high-performance Pirelli 275x40x19 front, and 285x40x19 rear tires, and offers race-car-like stopping with Saleen 14” brakes.

Racetrack Revisited

Strap yourself inside the Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition and you’re back in time! A time when driving meant extreme passion for the car, the race – and all about the win! Experience the beautifully coordinated orange and black racing-style seats which envelop the driver and the passenger. Grip the steering wheel, grab the special Limited Edition gear shift knob, view the integrated twin gauge pod that reflects oil pressure and temperature, and vintage instrumentation panel with its black background and white characters, and you’re there! Turn the key, blip the throttle, take her for a couple of laps around the track, or around the block, and you can easily imagine you’re at Laguna Seca driving with a racing legend – and the checkered flag is yours!

Feel the Spirit

“Parnelli Jones is an extraordinary example of a legend maker. Even after nearly four decades, his abilities and visions for the sport has very few equals. I anticipate that Parnelli’s racing spirit will come alive in every Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition that we manufacture. Capping on our motto, ‘Power in the Hands of a Few,’ we will produce a limited number – up to only 500 – in honor of Parnelli winning the Indy 500 in 1963,” said Steve Saleen.

Inspired from Parnelli’s original 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, the ‘Saleen / Parnelli Jones Limited Edition’ lives and breathes all things inherently Parnelli – and all things Saleen!

Availability and Pricing

Certified Saleen Ford dealers throughout the United States are now taking orders for the Saleen Parnelli Jones Limited Edition that will be distributed this Fall as a 2007 model. MSRP is estimated to be in the mid-to-high $50,000 for this limited production vehicle. Taxes, designation charges, and other fees may apply. For complete information about the Saleen / Parnelli Limited Edition please see: http://www.saleen.com/S302.htm. For a local Saleen dealer please visit: http://www.saleen.com/dealerLocator/DealerLocator.aspx.

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