Tag Archives: Saleen


More Power, More Torque for 2004

JANUARY 5, 2004 – CHICAGO, Ill. – Saleen is justifiably proud of the S7. It has been a success in the showroom and on the race track where it has compiled an enviable list of victories in just three years. But the S7 didn’t achieve pole position just by showing up, and Saleen is not an organization that believes in simply resting on its laurels. During the past two years the S7 has undergone an extensive internal design and engineering evaluation. And the team at Saleen has also listened carefully to feedback from their delightfully satisfied owners. As a result, the 2004 S7 incorporates many engineering changes, seen and unseen, that raise the international supercar bar another large notch — and the press attending the 2004 Chicago Auto Show got a first look at America’s only true supercar.

What’s new for 2004

Horsepower and torque have both been increased, 25 bhp and 45 lb-ft, respectively, up to 575 bhp @ 5500 rpm and 570 lf-ft of torque @ 4700 rpm. But these increases were not the point of the exercise strictly by themselves. Rather, they are a happy consequence of responding to their customers’ desire, not for more performance, but for improvements in around-town drivability.

In analyzing this request, Saleen engineers made three important changes. The transmission’s 1st gear ratio and the final-drive ratio are shorter (higher numerical ratios). These gear changes, in conjunction with a revised clutch, make for much smoother takeoffs from rest. Most engineers probably would have stopped right here. But not Saleen’s engineers. In the course of their analysis, engine tuning also came under scrutiny. And by playing with cam timing and airflow and the engine’s PowerFlash™ computer, they managed to broaden already broad power and torque curves for smoother and more flexible performance. And to extract even more power from the S7’s already very potent 7-liter V8. In true supercar fashion, the S7 is capable of speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour, with a zero-to-60 time under three seconds. And thanks to its extreme ground effects engineering, at 160 mph the car could be driven upside down and still maintain contact with the road. It is well known that a lack of downforce has never been an issue with the S7. But as a result of wind tunnel testing, Saleen engineers have made some tweaks at the rear of the car. A revised rear spoiler has replaced the previous design. In addition, the rear diffuser, which channels air smoothly from under the rear of the car, has been redesigned. It is slightly larger and has a winglet in the middle. Collectively, the new spoiler and revised diffuser have a noticeable effect on reducing drag (for a higher top speed) while also increasing down force at the rear of the car.


The Saleen S7, America’s first true supercar, has captured the imagination of the automotive world since its introduction in August 2000 at the prestigious Monterey Historic vintage car races. Designed to compete with the fastest, quickest, best handling and most exotic sports cars, the S7 provides a distinctly American driving experience for the fortunate few who will own one. It also reflects Saleen’s 20 years of performance and engineering excellence in manufacturing fully-certified high-performance automobiles.

The exotic S7 is designed, engineered, manufactured and marketed by Saleen, Inc., a high-performance vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Irvine, California — in a region of the state where North American automotive design is a flourishing industry. Working with some of the world’s most respected and technologically advanced automotive suppliers, the Saleen S7 went from prototype to first customer deliveries in less than two years.

Dual Personality

The Saleen S7 was conceived to combine the performance of a track-only racecar with the driving pleasure of a road car. As a result, while the S7 would be at home on any race track, it is also a car that can be driven with pleasure on highways, Autobahn and back roads.

“With the improvements made in gearing, engine tuning and aero, the S7 is not only easier to drive at ‘normal’ around town speeds, but also it’s more fun,” says Saleen President, Steve Saleen. But don’t expect less of the Saleen “attitude.” The S7, like every Saleen, is a product of Saleen’s strong racing heritage. “We wouldn’t feel we’d accomplished our mission if you didn’t come away from a drive around the block thinking the S7 felt like ‘a race car for the street,'” Saleen continued. “We designed it that way.”

Racing Successes

Unlike most exotic supercars, the Saleen S7 racing version, the Saleen S7R, has already proven itself on the international motorsports stage. During the past three years, the racing version has been on pole and set fastest race lap more than 50 times, has won nearly 40 races around the world and has captured eight different professional championships. This incredible record includes winning the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring and setting a new track record at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Chassis, Suspension & Brakes

The S7 chassis and suspension incorporate decades of Saleen’s experience in racing, racecar construction and high-performance road car manufacturing. The Saleen S7 architecture begins with a space frame chassis to which honeycomb composite reinforcing is grafted. The body is autoclave carbon fiber.

Suspension is via fully independent unequal-length double wishbones with coil-over springs, lightweight aluminum dampers (shock absorbers) and stabilizer (anti-roll) bars front and rear. The uprights at each corner are CNC machined billet aluminum, flow-through designs.

Saleen-engineered Brembo-supplied lightweight aluminum six-piston mono-block calipers are fitted front and rear. The brakes are among the largest of any production car with 15-inch vented discs up front and 14-inch vented discs at the rear.

The Saleen-designed forged alloy wheels feature center locking wheel nuts with automatic safety locks. Sizes are 19 x 9.5 inches up front and 20 x 12 inches at the rear. The wheels are shod with ultra-high-performance Pirelli P Zero tires in sizes 275/30ZR19 front and 345/25R20 rear.

Engine & Drivetrain

Designed by Saleen engineers, the S7’s engine and drivetrain incorporate the latest in modern racing technology. The all-aluminum V8 engine casting was engineered by Saleen to displace seven liters, generating 575 horsepower at 5500 rpm and delivering 570 foot-pounds of torque at 4700 rpm. Redline is 6500 rpm. Space age materials and engineering are used throughout, including stainless steel valves, titanium retainers, beryllium exhaust valve seats, magnesium throttle body, Saleen-designed aluminum CNCmachined cylinder heads and a ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust system.

An exclusive Saleen-designed Front Engine Accessory Drive (FEAD) system results in an extremely compact engine, allowing for better packaging and overall weight distribution. The V8 incorporates a unique Saleen-designed side-mounted water pump, extremely accurate belt-driven camshaft drive, and a Saleen-engineered dry sump oil delivery system.

The engine’s mid-chassis placement optimizes weight distribution and center of gravity, making room for an unusually tall engine that allows for a very efficient plenum arrangement. Air inducted by the roof air intake flows into a cold air box and then into an aluminum intake manifold with eight individual runners.

A Saleen PowerFlash™ performance computer, recalibrated for 2004, handles engine management. The ignition system is integrated coil-on-plug.

A new-generation six-speed transaxle, with a unique Saleen bell housing, transfers power to the wheels. The clutch is an organic/metallic 8.0-inch, twin-plate unit with hydraulic actuation.

Body Design

The S7’s beautiful shape was “designed” by the wind. Optimal aerodynamics and top speed performance objectives were achieved with extensive wind tunnel work. Targets included a low coefficient of drag, optimum drag-to-lift ratio, and extreme down force. The S7 has “full tray” body sculpting underneath.

Longtime Saleen design consultant Phil Frank then personalized and refined the aesthetics of the S7 to reflect modern supercar thinking. The gill-like ducting is, of course, fully functional. The autoclaved carbon fiber body panels incorporate advanced aerodynamics and include integrated split-channel airflow throughout the car, full underside air management, and advanced front tray and side skirt designs and an integrated full-body rear spoiler, replacing the wing used previously.

The mid-engine Saleen S7 has front and rear trunks and comes with Mulholland Brothers® custom-made, 3-piece, fitted luggage. In true supercar style, the doors open up and away from the body.

“When seen in person, the S7 has an amazing overall presence,” says Steve Saleen, founder and president of Saleen, Inc. “It’s quite long and wide, yet only 41.0 inches high, adding to its exotic appearance. We wanted to maintain a ‘form-follows-function’ look, but one that was esthetically beautiful as well. I really feel we’ve achieved both.”


As much care has been given to the creature comforts of the Saleen S7 as to its performance. Great attention was given to seating position. The car features asymmetrical seating, with the driver position moved slightly more to the center than the passenger. This improves the driver’s ergonomics, improves the side-to-side weight distribution, and allows the passenger side to have a narrower threshold. The S7 is unusually accommodating of tall drivers.

Seats and other interior surfaces are covered in elegant leather and suede. Air conditioning, power windows, adjustable pedals, a steering wheel that telescopes and tilts and an AM/FM/CD/DVD/TV systems are all standard (GPS is optional). The Saleen S7 also has one unique interior feature: a video “rearview mirror” – there is a small video camera inconspicuously mounted in the rear of the car.

Best-in-Practice Design

While the S7 is an American supercar, the vehicle itself reflects a “best-in-practice” philosophy, where Saleen has incorporated superior components from around the globe in order to manufacture the best vehicle possible. For example, the Saleen S7 uses Saleen-engineered/ Brembo-supplied brakes and Pirelli tires from Italy as well as numerous high technology pieces from companies located in the Midlands area of the United Kingdom, a region that is to motorsports what the Silicon Valley is to computers. Initial wind tunnel testing was conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Designed and built at Saleen’s Irvine, Calif. manufacturing facility, the S7 is sold through a global network of Saleen-certified dealers specializing in exotic automobiles. The Saleen S7 went on sale at its introduction at the famed Monterey Historic Races in California on August 19, 2000, and the first production version was delivered in June 2002, and approximately 50 have been delivered to date. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $430,000.


By: NIKA ROLCZEWSKI on December 20, 2003
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Saleen Offers Power For Mere (rich) Mortals

Driving God’s car, you would think that I could have found some divine intervention, but even a silver Saleen S7 – the same wheels actor Jim Carrey drove in Bruce Almighty – wasn’t going to free me from the hell of Montreal traffic.

Here I was, patiently awaiting just a short glimpse of roadway, thinking I would give my kingdom for a green light, a clear street and a road full of twists and turns.

Far as I may have been from sainthood and sports-car roads, I still felt like a god behind the wheel of the S7.

How could I not? At 104 cm inches high, it’s lower-slung than the new Ford GT, and its long, wide shape is punctuated by gaping air intakes slashed into its bumpers, sides and rear deck.

This is far from the glorified kit car I was expecting: up close and personal with it, I see smooth lines and minimal gaps – quality that suggests this hand-built car is made to robotic production-line standards.

On the one hand, Montreal’s posh, party-loving rue Crescent isn’t really the place to be driving a $600,000 Le Mans-engined exotic that you’ve spirited away from its Canadian unveiling.

On the other hand, why not be a show-off?

The S7’s 349 km/h top speed, and the 7.0 L V8’s ability to propel the S7 from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 to 3.3 seconds, is as much symbolic as it is real. You may floor the gas once or twice off the track to experience that heavenly sensation, but the real fun bit is telling your friends – and the bystanders that gather wherever you park – about it.

Besides, full throttle in the S7 is not for the inexperienced. Unlike some other high-end exotics these days, it isn’t adorned with driver aids – Saleen considers them mere bells and whistles that make us better drivers than we are – so there’s no ABS, no traction control, no paddle shifts, just pure muscle pulsating under that reptilian skin.

The all-aluminum powerplant pounds out 550 hp at 6400 rpm. The intergalactic gearing isn’t set up for city driving, and the clutch – already replaced in this copy from loading and unloading during short bursts of driving – is very heavy.

As for the brakes, at a red light, I experience full wheel lockup with a brush of the pedal. If you want fluff, go elsewhere, because the S7 is a driver’s car, and an experienced driver’s car at that.

On the street outside, well-dressed executives strain to look into the low, low car. I labour to elegantly enter and exit its simple gray interior. Doors that swing up and my mature bones make this a daunting task.

The big, voluptuous body draws stares on the street; I hear whispers of “What is this?” in several languages.

Passersby peer inside to discover a fairly pedestrian interior: just enough Mazda- and Ford-sourced knobs and buttons for the air conditioning, radio and the car’s one bit of high-tech wizardry, a camera to aid the view when you back up.

But who cares what’s behind us? In a car this fast, it’s the visibility out front that matters – and it’s fine.

The S7 comes from Saleen Inc., which for almost 20 years has engineered modifications for many Ford road cars and built award-winning race cars.

The Californian-born S7 road car was unveiled in August, 2000, to an appreciative audience of enthusiasts and racers. Shortly after, its maker, Steve Saleen, announced plans to race a competition version in the latter half of 2000’s American Le Mans Series.

The car did respectably well on the track, and since then, magazines have compared the road version to exotics such as the Lamborghini Murcielago. While it’s lacking in racing pedigree and brand prestige, the S7 has held its own. The first delivery was made in July, 2002.

There are, says Joseph Gambieri of Auto Bugatti in Montreal, the S7’s sole Canadian distributor, a select few buyers who want a $395,000 (U.S.) supercar with all the qualities common to that exalted category.

Although a hard-core Italian car fanatic, he acknowledges that the S7 is “a great car – for half the price of a Ferrari Enzo. Stupid fast and crazy. One test drive and it can sell itself.”

Unlike the Enzo, for instance, it spoils its drivers with power windows, locks and mirrors. There’s a six-disc CD changer to go with the lightweight, six-piston Brembo brakes and the stiff-shifting transmission.

This is a car that you can get comfortable in.

But, in true Le Mans-racer style, the S7 also reeks of testosterone and hard-core, track-inspired authority. There are no names etched on a manifold to boost Saleen’s ego, but the car’s predatory nature is evident in its design and in the way the engine delivers its power.

At low speeds, the ride isn’t bad; someone in the crowd chuckles that it’s like having a beautiful and intelligent woman that can cook. I guess what he means is that the S7 has it all – passion, performance and driveability.

If you want a fancy name, go for a Ferrari or a Lambo. But if it’s a raw, almost animalistic quality in a car that you’re after, go Saleen.

Just 300 to 400 will be built in a five-year span; the carbon-fibre body manufactured in Britain rings in at around $100,000 (U.S.) all by itself. Order an S7, and a dedicated team will need three months to build it, start to finish.

Clearly, this exclusivity speaks to some people: two S7s will be arriving in Canada in the next few months.

Another honk of a horn, more double-parked cars and a crazy Montreal driver’s kamikaze move bring me back to reality.

I wonder how Bruce Almighty parted the sea of cars. How much more he could appreciate this beast than I can, stuck in this gridlock.

Then again, he was God, and I’m just a mere traffic-bound mortal.

Maybe one day, I’ll get the opportunity to drive this car the way it was meant to be driven. But there isn’t a chance in hell… this time.

Nika Rolczewski is the founder of www.racerchicks.com.


Pirelli Committed to Winning GTS Championship for Michigan Team

SPRING LAKE, Mich., Nov. 24, 2003 – It took two years but Saleen’s “Dream Team” is finally ready to challenge the big guns in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTS Class thanks to Jeff Giangrande and ACEMCO MOTORSPORTS as Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem were confirmed today as the team’s principal drivers for the 2004 season.

Terry Borcheller, six-time sports car champion including three as a Saleen factory driver, won the 2001 ALMS GTS Drivers’ Championship in the Saleen S7R’s inaugural season by winning the 12 Hours of Sebring, earning 4 poles and setting 7 fastest laps. Most recently, Borcheller won the 2003 Rolex Cup Drivers’ Championship in Bell Motorsport’s Daytona Prototype.

Joining Borcheller is Brit Johnny Mowlem. Interestingly enough, Mowlem replaced Borcheller as Saleen’s lead factory driver in 2002 just as Saleen was awarded the contract to build the Ford GT. Recognized as one of the top Porsche drivers, he distinguished himself the year before by setting the fastest GTS lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his first and only drive in a Saleen S7R. This past season, he finished second overall in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Risi Competizione Ferrari 360, competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an ACEMCO Ferrari 360 and won Road America in the White Lightning Porsche.

After two years, the two Saleen factory drivers are together for the first time on ACEMCO’S “Dream Team” to contest the entire 2004 ALMS season and all points beyond.

“Anyone who has watched the GTS battle the last several years knows that this is where the competition is,” stated Giangrande, ACEMCO’S owner. “We’re also very aware of what the privateer Saleen S7Rs accomplished in their first two seasons of competition winning seven of eight championships, 37 of 72 races and holding the majority of the class poles and fastest lap records,” he continued. “With Terry and Johnny on board, the Saleens will once again become the fastest guns in the west.”

ACEMCO also announced that Pirelli Tires would be providing the engineering and tire support for the Saleen S7R. “Since mid-season, we studied the performance of the various tire companies in GTS and GT,” commented Giangrande. “It was fairly obvious that Pirelli had an improved product and we’re very excited about developing a winning combination with them.”

“Since 1995, Pirelli has won 7 Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships each in North American sports car competition but none since returning from a one-year hiatus in 2002,” stated Peter Tyson, Pirelli’s Vice President of Marketing Communications. “We’ve been trying to build a “Dream Team” around the Saleen with drivers like Borcheller and Mowlem since our return and we can’t wait until the green flags fall for qualifying at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.”

To that end, ACEMCO, Saleen and Pirelli will conduct an aggressive testing program over the next several months beginning with a shakedown of the first Saleen S7R next week at Willow Springs, just north of Saleen’s Irvine, Calif.-based headquarters. The team will then move east for extensive tire testing at both Sebring and Homestead in preparation for the 12 Hours of Sebring.

With more than 50 years of manufacturing experience, ACEMCO AUTOMOTIVE is a leader in the engineering, manufacture and assembly of metal stampings for light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars with three plants located in the western Michigan area. Products include frame and engine mounting components, as well as interior metal insert assemblies. ACEMCO’s Team Goal is to provide Customer satisfaction, manufacturing Excellence and quality products while Maintaining a clean, safe working environment and Continuously improving processes to ensure 100% On-time deliveries.

Pirelli Tire North America specializes in the manufacture and marketing of highperformance car, light truck and motorcycle tires and currently has three of its highly advanced MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) modules in operation in a new factory in Rome, Georgia, to better serve the American OEM and Replacement markets. For more information, visit the Company’s web site at www.us.pirelli.com.


By: N.A. on September 22, 2003
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 53, ISSUE 38

Pagani delayed
The race return of the Pagani Zonda supercar scheduled for next month’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta has been set back. The Dutch-based team put the race program on hold for the Mercedes-engined GTS contender after a disappointing Le Mans performance in June. A projected return for the American Le Mans Series finale is delayed while the team awaits new development parts. The revised car, which will run a 7.0-liter engine and an Xtrac gearbox for the first time, should test in early October and then compete in the Le Mans Endurance Series Nov. 9 race on the Le Mans-Bugatti circuit.

Junior will do the 24
NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will contest next year’s Daytona 24-hour with the Freisinger Porsche team. Eamhardt Jr., who made his debut in the sports car classic in 2001 driving a factory Chevrolet Corvette he shared with his late lather, has signed a deal to race the German team’s lead 911 GT3-RS in the Florida event next February. Freisinger team leader Stephane Ortelli will join him in the car. Team boss Manfred Freisinger said, “We have a mutual friend who contacted us about Dale. Everything has been agreed and the deal will be signed this week.” Eamhardt Jr. currently sits second in Winston Cup points in the Chevy owned by DEI Inc., the team his late father started.

Customer Lambos
Lamborghini wants to sell more than 10 of its new V12-engined Murciélago R-GT racers around the world next season. The Audi-controlled sports car maker is pitching the new design, unveiled at the Frankfurt show (page 17), as a turnkey customer car for privateers. The R-GT will be eligible for the FIA GT Championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe. Manfred Fitzgerald, Lamborghini head of marketing, explained that the program had been kick-started by requests from potential customers. “So many of our clients were asking us for a tool to use on the racetrack that we felt we had to do something,” he said. “That’s the motivation behind what I am calling our customer sports program.”

Saleen return?
U.S. supercar manufacturer Saleen will make a full-time return to the American Le Mans Series in 2004. The California company, which has been represented in only a handful of this year’s races, is selling two cars to the American Acemco Motorsports team. Jeff Giangrande, who owns the team, intends to field a Saleen in all ALMS events next season. Giangrande entered a GT class Ferrari in the ALMS this year, but said he likes GTS because that’s where the competition is. “We believe [GTS] is the best place to be competitive as a privateer,” he said. It is unclear who will run the car in 2004. The Ferrari 360 Modena that Acemco has entered in the ALMS this year has been run by Risi Competizione. No drivers have been announced, although Giangrande said that his pairing of Terry Borcheller and Shane Lewis were both on the “short list.” A deal for Borcheller would mark the 38-year-old’s return to a Saleen three years after he won the ALMS’ GTS crown in a Konrad-entered car.


With the Unveiling of the SA-20

IRVINE, Calif., August 29, 2003 — This year marks the 20th anniversary of Saleen, Inc., manufacturer of premium, high-performance vehicles such as the Saleen Mustang, Saleen/Bonspeed Thunderbird, Saleen Focus and Saleen S7. In celebration of this event, Saleen is offering the ultimate in limited edition vehicles: the SA-20 Speedster. The vehicle will be unveiled to the public at Saleen’s 7th Annual Car Show at the company’s Irvine facility on Saturday, September 13th. The SA-20 epitomizes Saleen’s philosophy; “Power in the Hands of a Few” with only ten of these special edition vehicles being produced.

The SA-20 Speedster, based on the Saleen S281, will be available as a convertible only and will be powered by a 375 HP, 4.6L V8 featuring a Saleen Series IV Screw Type Intercooled Supercharger and Saleen PowerflashTM performance calibration system. The ten vehicles will be factory-custom painted Pearl White with its Five Spoke 18” wheels painted to match. The SA-20 will feature Saleen’s brand-new, never before seen 20th anniversary Tonneau cover with integrated light-bar design. In addition, the vehicle will feature 20th anniversary black and yellow graphics, Saleen’s lightweight, vented, composite hood, S281 Extreme Wing and S281 Extreme Rear Fascia with center exhaust. The interior of the SA-20 will feature 20th anniversary special edition Saleen leather sport seating, console plaque, custom floor mats and custom door panels.

The Saleen SA-20 will mark the third time Saleen has celebrated one of its anniversaries with the release of a limited-edition vehicle. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary with the SA-10 and its 15th anniversary with the SA-15. Each anniversary car was produced in limited quantities of ten. Both cars are extremely rare and highly sought after.

For customers who order the SA-20 prior to Saleen’s 7th Annual Car Show on September 13th, purchase includes airfare for two and one night’s lodging to be present for the public unveiling of the SA-20. SA-20 owners will also dine with Steve Saleen where a private unveiling of the vehicle will be held the evening before the car show. For more information on the SA-20, contact Lupe Baker, Director of Vehicle Sales at (949) 597-3832 or LBaker@Saleen.com.

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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:
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

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IRVINE, Calif., July 31, 2003 — Steve Saleen, president of Saleen, Inc., announced today the formation of Saleen Canada. This company, set up under a special manufacturing and licensing agreement with Joe Visconti, president of Saleen Canada, will manufacture and sell Saleen automobiles through select Saleen-certified Ford dealers throughout Canada.

The manufacturing facility will be located in Montreal and will produce specific Canadian-certified Saleen models, including the S281 and S281 Supercharged Mustangs, the Saleen Thunderbird — Bonspeed Edition in both naturally aspirated and supercharged configurations, and a special version of the Focus.

“This is a natural “next step” in the growth of our company,” commented Saleen. “For a number of years we’ve had strong demand for Saleen products from our neighbors to the North,” he continued. “We’ve been considering this expansion for some time and Joe Visconti is a perfect partner for Saleen to expand its expertise in niche manufacturing and performance sales throughout Canada.”

“I am very proud and excited to be a part of Saleen Canada at the very beginning,” said Visconti. “As for the S281 – what can one possibly buy in the market place that gives the same performance numbers with a factory warranty to boot?”

“Our Canadian facility will build the same high quality products we turn out in our Irvine, California manufacturing plant.” Saleen stated. “And we’ll follow the same procedures and ‘best practices’ to manufacture Saleen vehicles in compliance with all Canadian regulations.”

This isn’t the first expansion for Saleen beyond its Southern California base of operations though. Last December, Saleen signed an agreement with Martin Josephi, former president of VW of Mexico, to sell the full product line of Saleen vehicles, including the S7 supercar, throughout Central America. And in March of this year, Saleen began assembling the first prototypes of the legendary Ford GT in a second manufacturing facility near Detroit.

During the past 20 years, Saleen has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to design, engineer, manufacture and market high performance specialty vehicles working closely with Tier 1 suppliers around the world.

“The experiences we gain by expanding throughout North America will hopefully lead to Saleen becoming a world player in niche vehicle manufacturing and sales,” Saleen commented.

About Saleen

Since the company’s inception in 1984, Saleen has produced over 8,000 vehicles, more than any other specialty manufacturer. An eight-time Manufacturers’ Champion in GT sports car racing, Saleen’s facilities include research, design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. The company’s line of products and services also includes the Saleen S281 and S281-E, the exotic, mid-engine Saleen S7 supercar, Saleen Competition, Saleen Performance Parts, and Saleen Engineering and Certification.

Saleen has also been commissioned by Ford to help produce the legendary Ford GT in a second Saleen manufacturing facility near Detroit.

Contact Saleen at 949-597-4900, or for more information about Saleen – its people and products – visit the web site at www.Saleen.com.

Saleen Canada can be contacted through Umberto Bonfa, director sales & marketing, at 514 631-0071 or by email: ubonfa@saleencanada.com.


By: LAWRENCE S. DIETZ on July 2003
Original Article: LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE, VOL. 48, ISSUE 7

Entrepreneur And Designer Steve Saleen
Has Made Irvine America’s Capital Of High-end Sports Cars

No one will mistake modern, master-planned Irvine for the ancient town of Maranello, Italy Nor will anyone confuse Orange County’s SUV-clogged stretch of the 405 freeway for the AI autostrada, prowled by the Ferraris that are Maranello’s most famous products.

Yet unassuming entrepreneur Steve Saleen has turned equally unassuming Irvine into Maranello West, the capital of high-end American sports cars. For nearly two decades he has rebuilt Ford Mustangs into hot performance vehicles. Three years ago his company launched the S7, which Road & Track has declared the fastest production car ever made. The 550-horsepower, carbon fiber-bodied speedster can hit 220 mph and go 0 to 60 in 3.3 seconds. And now Saleen Inc. is helping to manufacture a new version of Ford’s legendary GT40 race car, a vital part of the ailing giant’s recovery program.

At first glance the 53-year-old Saleen seems to be an unlikely architect of high rollers’ automotive dreams. About five feet seven, mustachioed, and balding, he looks like a middle-aged everyman, the sort of guy you’d expect to see selling insurance or riding around in a Camry.

Hardly Saleen is a USC business major turned race car driver who recognized a demand for very fast yet relatively affordable cars that were at home both on the track and on the street. Saleen’s vehicles have won titles for eight straight years and made their creator a hero among auto buffs–as well as a wealthy man. (Sales of the S7 have already hit $24 million.) Saleen Inc. also is making a splash on the big screen, its Mustangs appearing in summer releases including 2 Fast 2 Furious and Hollywood Homicide. (Saleen himself drives a Beryllium Saleen Extreme Speedster, the top of his Mustang line.)

As he sees it, the reason for his success is simple: “I have a tremendous passion for cars, for racing cars, and for driving.”

Saleen was first seduced by fast cars when his father, a manufacturing executive from Whittier, bought a Porsche while he was in college. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Saleen started racing and was good enough to turn pro. He set 13 Sports Car Club of America records and finished third for the 1980 SCCA championship.

In the 1960s, racer Carroll Shelby had parlayed his track reputation into big money by modifying stock Mustangs. In 1984, Saleen started giving them better engines, suspensions, transmissions, and brakes, transforming cars that sell in the mid $20,000s into growlers that go for $36,000 to $70,000.

Saleen’s Mustangs outperform their rivals–the Porsche Boxster, Corvette hardtop, and SVT Mustang Cobra R–in terms of speed, lateral acceleration through turns, and braking. They carry a lower retail price, and just as important, they have a history of holding their resale value.

The cars quickly became winners on the SCCA circuit, capturing awards for driver, team, manufacturer, and tire in 1987. The Saleen Mustang has won the SCCA Manufacturer’s Championship six times, most recently in 2000.

During the late 1980s, Saleen moved his company into Indy car racing, hoping that victories at an event like the Indianapolis 500 would translate into a huge spike in his Mustang sales. “Looking back, it was the right thing to do at the wrong time,” he says. “From a marketing perspective, the concept was to expand our sphere of influence to new Saleen buyers. But we didn’t have the resources to race at that level, and a bad month of May [1989] in Indy killed us. The recession hit, and we had dealers going broke and not paying us for their cars. It was a lethal combination.”

His firm might have gone under if not for Tony Johnson, whose company owns many of the country’s largest (and most profitable) makers of original equipment for auto manufacturers. Johnson, president and CEO of Hidden Creek Industries in Minnesota, saw the marketplace value of Saleen’s brand identity.

“Steve is a great creative thinker, car person, and marketer,” says Johnson. “We needed to add just an additional touch of professionalism and business savvy” He gave Saleen financial backing (no one will say how much). Johnson, who became a partner and chairman of Saleen Inc., and Saleen, who retained the title of president, focused their efforts on the Mustang. When business picked up in i995, Saleen formed the Saleen/Allen “RRR” Speedlab racing team with Home Improvement star Time Allen.

Saleen now had the resources to realize a dream he’d harbored from the day he started manufacturing: He wanted to build and sell a supercar–a two-seat exotic that could cruise at 150 mph or more and win at the highest levels. In November 1999, he was ready to try. Johnson said yes. A year later the first S7 appeared.

Saleen managed to get from concept to finished vehicle so quickly because there was no bureaucracy no massive corporate infrastructure, no focus group. The only eyes that counted were his. Computers did most of the design work, an advance now used by most automotive manufacturers to shave months, even years, off development cycles and to trim costs. In the world of supercars, where a McLaren FI goes for a million dollars, the $395,000 S7 is something of a bargain.

The first seven S7s were snapped up by racing teams and outfitted for competition. An S7 won the 12 Hours of Sebring road race, and another placed a respectable third in class during June 2001’s rain- and crash-plagued 24 Hours of Le Mans. By that September S7s had competed in 25 races and won 17 of them, a stunning achievement for a newcomer.

Deposits were coming in from private buyers, including celebrities like Allen, Sylvester Stallone, and Jay Leno. By last December it was time to prove the S7’s advertised street readiness. The car passed its government tests, including a “coast down,” in which it was shifted into neutral at a speed of 120 mph and allowed to freewheel for a mile. How fast was it going after that? One hundred mph.

In the spring, Saleen produced three cars earmarked for press trials. The auto magazines were rapturous, starting with the design. “From every angle and from any distance, the Saleen S7 looks like a supercar,” wrote Joe DeMatio in Automobile. “Every pedestrian strolling along Santa Barbara’s State Street on a spring evening notices it. The gill-streaked body is very long, very wide, and very low… When the winglike doors are open, the S7 looks like something Martians would off-load from a spaceship.”

But the true measure of a car like the S7 is the driving. An hour spent behind the wheel of one is an extraordinary experience. The S7 is fast–I accelerated on an empty toll road and then “loafed” along at what I thought was an extremely comfortable 100, perhaps 110 mph. It felt as though the car could maintain that speed all day long. Then I looked more closely at the small speedometer; the needle was hovering over 140.

The S7 also can maneuver, hugging the road far better than anything most of us will ever drive. Move the wheel a tiny amount, and the S7 goes exactly where you want, no fuss. You find yourself smiling in pure pleasure.

The S7 gives Saleen Inc. a very profitable, if narrow, specialty. (With 62 sold, it has a planned production run of 300 to 400.) Working on the Ford GT, however, could offer the little company entree into the automotive big leagues.

The GT (it was nicknamed the GT40 because it was only 40 inches high) recalls Ford’s glory days in racing, as well as Henry Ford II’s hubris. In the early 1960s, he tried to get Enzo Ferrari to join him in developing a race car. When he was rebuffed by the patrician Italian, he decided to create his own. Once the GT’s engine and other specs were set, Carroll Shelby said, “Next year, Ferrari’s ass is mine.” And it was. Shelby raced and won in the GT40, as did Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt.

These days Bill Ford Jr., Ford’s chairman, knows he needs a “halo-effect” car–one few in number but great in reputation–to help propel the company out of the misery caused by the Explorer/Firestone debacle in the late ’90s and quality problems typified by multiple recalls. The revived GT, which unlike its predecessor will be street legal, is supposed to be an icon of the new Ford Motor Company, crowning a rollout of ten models and vehicles in the Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln divisions in the next two years (and a total of 65 in the next five).

Saleen’s involvement with the GT started with a college connection. He had always kidded his public relations rep, Jack Gerken, about Gerken’s rabid partisanship for his alma mater, Notre Dame. In 2001, as it turned out, being a member of the Fighting Irish became as valuable in the car business as being a Harvard grad was in other corporate circles.

As part of a Ford management shakeup, several executives with Notre Dame ties came to power. Nick Scheele, the new group vice president in North America, was an alumnus whose son was attending the school, and Jim O’Connor, head of the Ford division, sat on the board of trustees.

Along with practically everyone else who did (or wanted to do) business with Ford, Saleen sought a way to meet Scheele. At the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the annual million-dollar antique car show where industry nabobs gather, Saleen joshed Gerken about playing the Notre Dame card with Scheele. Gerken took it seriously; especially since he had known Scheele since 1990, and his son and Scheele’s son were in the same dorm.

Introductions were made. Saleen, Gerken, and Tony Johnson later flew to Detroit to remind Scheele that Saleen Inc. was a good customer and to update him on the progress of the S7. They also had one crucial question: How can we be a better part of the Ford family?

The answer–Saleen should help build the GT–became clear at a meeting between Johnson and Scheele, held as Ford rushed to ready its prototype for introduction at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, 2002.

After the car generated the intended buzz at the show, Ford went to builders and designers around the world, including Italy’s renowned Pininfarina. Saleen’s track record with the Mustang and the S7 earned it a spot as one of Ford’s four partners on the project. It will make the rolling chassis, frame, and suspension and will paint the body panels. The vehicles will be assembled at a Ford plant near Detroit, with major production scheduled to begin next year. The deal could cover as many as 5,000 cars. (Only 133 original GTs were built.)

“This is a process of producing a handful of cars each day;” says Neil Hannemann, Ford’s chief program engineer for the GT. “Ford didn’t want to learn how to do that, and Saleen does it.”

Besides providing such expertise, Saleen hopes to prove to the mainstream auto world that he can help to produce a special vehicle at a relatively reasonable price–according to industry, speculation, the GT will sell for about $125,000.

After all, Saleen already has the ultimate testimonial when it comes to his ability to fill a niche for a supreme power car. In the recent movie Bruce Almighty, he notes, God drives an S7.


IRVINE, Calif., June 6, 2003 — Okay, gang, here’s your quiz for the day. What has 12 wheels, 989 cubic inches, almost 1,300 horsepower and seats up to 8 consenting adults?

If you answered, “the all-new Saleen S989 double semi-dually competitor to the Porsche Turbo Cayenne and the M-B ML 55 AMG,” please move to clue #1.

#1 This 12-wheeled wonder will be seen by more than 43 million people at over 10,000 locations during the next month and have over $100 million spent on its advertising and promotion.

Figured it out yet?

Er, no . . . it’s not the long-rumored Saleen supercharged V-10 diesel powered combo Zamboni machine/wooden floor polisher that will allow the NBA and the NHL to schedule back-to-back doubleheader championship games with only a 30 minute intermission. Sorry, that vehicle isn’t scheduled to make its long-awaited debut before 2006 at the earliest.

So try clue #2.

#2 Every one of the 43 million viewers will be screened during the course of his or her exposure to this vehicle and many of them will be placed in stadium seating.

Still can’t figure it out?

Okay. One last clue: one of the drivers could easily be known as Mr. Indy, yet he’s never raced at the Memorial Day 500 Mile Classic. Another of the drivers’ fancies himself as God, but he’s never won a race. And lots of people consider him a real joker.

Give up? We admit it. We haven’t made this easy. But what sort of satisfaction would you derive from having the answer handed to you on a silver platter . . .unless, of course, we also served it up on the silver screen.

Okay. Is the light bulb glowing brighter? We’re talking movies here, three of them. And not one car, but three Saleens: an S7 supercar, a supercharged S281 Mustang convertible and a supercharged S281 Mustang coupe. We’re calling this trio of summer releases Hollywood Horsepower, a triple knockout punch of comedy, speed and murder.

Hollywood Horsepower premiered nationally on May 23 with Bruce Almighty, a Universal Pictures starring Jim Carrey as an average Joe who gets his wish when God, played by Morgan Freeman, agrees to change places with Carrey for a week to prove to Jim that being God ain’t all it’s made out to be. Two ladies co-star, Jennifer Aniston and a silver Saleen S7. Jennifer certainly has the softer curves, but the S7 is one fast lady and a real handler. Aniston is a heart breaker; The S7, what else, is the late braker. The Pope may occasionally be driven in a Ferrari, but Bruce Almighty confirms that God drives an S7!

Premiering June 6 is another Universal Pictures release, 2 Fast 2 Furious, starring Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson. A Lizstick Red Saleen S281 supercharged coupe joins the cast of this sequel to the original Fast and the Furious. Former cop Brian O’Connor (Walker) teams up with his ex-con pal Roman Pearce (Gibson) to transport a shipment of “dirty” money for shady Miami-based import-export dealer Carter Verone, while actually working with undercover agent Monica Clemente to bring Verone down.

And finally, Hollywood Homicide, a Sony Pictures/Revolution Studios film, opens June 13 and stars Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett as two LAPD homicide detectives who moonlight in other fields. Joe Gavilian (Ford), a real estate agent, and K.C. Calden (Hartnett), a yoga instructor and an aspiring actor, investigate the on-stage slaying of a rap group. The detectives drive around in none other than a silver Saleen S281 supercharged convertible. For fans of Bullitt, you’ve got to see the chase scene.

In recognition of its “starring” roles in Hollywood Horsepower, Saleen will produce special editions of its Hollywood starlets, as well as promotional material, for distribution through Saleen-certified Ford dealers throughout the nation. You can obtain a poster of Hollywood Horsepower by test driving a silver “Hollywood Homicide” convertible and/or a red “2 Fast 2 Furious” coupe at your local Saleen-certified Ford dealer.

Celebrating its 20 th anniversary this year, Saleen is widely recognized as a niche manufacturer of high-performance vehicles for the American enthusiast. Its Saleen Extremes are the most powerful (445 hp) production Mustangs in the world; while its new S7 is recognized as the only American supercar (see Road & Track’s June cover story where the S7 was the fastest production car ever tested by Road & Track). The Saleen S7 has demonstrated its speed on the track as well, winning eight GTS championships in its first two years of competition. Saleen has been commissioned to assemble Ford’s legendary GT beginning this summer.