Tag Archives: Steve Saleen

DRIVETRIBE: THE SALEEN S7 STORY

Nearly 20 years on, the Saleen S7 is proving itself a classic

By: TOM WILSON on August, 2019
Original Article: DRIVETRIBE.COM

Nineteen years after its introduction and twelve years since it went out of series production, the Saleen S7 supercar is again attracting considerable attention. A new generation of enthusiasts is re-discovering the classically handsome, race-bred Saleen with still mind-bending performance. Plus, Saleen’s recent expansion into China has exposed the S7 to a giant new market that’s running up the S7 search engine hits on the Internet. But along with this new interest has come much speculation and mis-information about the iconic supercar and its origins.

Some of the mystery is due to the relatively thin official technical and build information available about the big Saleen. The early-aughts were hectic days at Saleen and there wasn’t the time or interest from the enthusiast magazines of the time to delve deeply into the details of the supercar’s origin. Saleen press materials had laid out the basics, the magazines had covered that and their driving impressions in new car reviews, the car sold itself on merit and there was plenty of international S7 racing to support, plus the whole business of building Saleen Mustangs. But aside from those early magazine reports, there’s been nothing of substance on the S7 story in many years; today that’s lead to a bit of unintended mystery surrounding the car, at least to those not familiar with the effort.

Now spanning 19 years, the Saleen S7 story has evolved from the completely unexpected upstart at its 2000 debut to a timelessly classic supercar as epitomized by the mega-powerful 2019 S7 Le Mans edition seen at the Corona, Calif. headquarters.
Now spanning 19 years, the Saleen S7 story has evolved from the completely unexpected upstart at its 2000 debut to a timelessly classic supercar as epitomized by the mega-powerful 2019 S7 Le Mans edition seen at the Corona, Calif. headquarters.

If there’s anything the Internet can’t support, it’s the mystery and all sorts of hokum that has surfaced regarding the S7. Eager enthusiasts can perhaps be forgiven for making assumptions about the car’s origins, but the amount of speculative, un-researched and downright wrong ‘journalism’ surrounding the S7 on the Internet is shameful and tilting toward the absurd.

The S7 truth is simple enough and follows the narrative laid out in the legitimate press during the car’s introduction. To briefly review, in 1999, Steve Saleen, realised the existing Mustang-based race car – the Saleen Mustang SR as campaigned in the U.S. and at Le Mans in 1997 – had reached the end of its development life. He ultimately decided to build his own, all-new race car, and by starting with a clean computer screen, opted for a mid-engine layout with a goal of winning the LMGT1 class at Le Mans.

While the previous Saleen Mustang SR racers had evolved from street cars into race cars, the S7 was from the beginning a dual-purpose machine, a race car simultaneously developed as a street car. Steve not only wanted a winner at the most demanding sportscar race in the world, but also a purebred sports/supercar for the street. During the car’s design, the racing and street versions were kept amazingly similar, which explains why the S7 has always been a no-excuses driver’s car, one which in street form easily preserves the directness and honesty of its racing roots. It also belies any misplaced concept that the S7 was some revision of an existing design; it’s simply too specialized for that; combining its thumping V8 and high downforce aero package are incompatible with any previous designs.

Steve Saleen was present at every step of the S7’s development. Here he and Billy Tally discuss the S7 engine with Neil Hannemann looking on.
Steve Saleen was present at every step of the S7’s development. Here he and Billy Tally discuss the S7 engine with Neil Hannemann looking on.

While Saleen as a company was well-versed in racing and speciality car manufacturing in 1999, like any car maker it needed to augment its engineering and fabrication capabilities when laying down their supercar’s chassis and suspension. After all, creating a Le Mans chassis from scratch requires specialized engineering and prototyping skills, especially when the latest, F1-level of aerodynamic knowledge is being sought. So, Saleen went looking for specialist contractors and found them, not unexpectedly, in the home of international road racing, the English Midlands. Besides its technical advantages, the Midlands also offered remoteness from the U.S. automotive scene and thus eased the security that such projects require.

While the prototype S7’s all-new, honeycomb-reinforced space frame chassis came together in England, back in Irvine, California Steve directed Saleen’s in-house race engineer and all-round secret weapon, Billy Tally, to develop an American-style cam-in-block V-8 for the new car. Leveraging extensive motorcycle, NASCAR and off-road racing experience into the S7’s namesake 7.0-litre V8, Saleen specified his own block casting, innovative clutch, starter, intake, dry-sump oiling, NASCAR-derived cylinder heads and front engine dress to package the powerplant in a mid-engine chassis. Saleen also determined all engine internals and tuning, including camming, electronic tuning and valvetrain oil spray system. Dyno development was done by Tally in Southern California and the engines built in-house at Saleen. Transaxles were RBT units on street cars and Xtrac on S7R race cars.

S7 development and production was based completely in Saleen’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters.
S7 development and production was based completely in Saleen’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters.

All S7s, both street and race, naturally-aspirated or turbocharged, have used this engine with only minor variations. The exception is the final Le Mans edition S7s. More the product of 2019 engineering, they retain the 427’s 7.0-litre displacement and bottom end, but have seen considerable changes in the cylinder heads, intake, turbos, charge cooling and a generational advancement in electronic engine management to arrive at 1,300bhp on gasoline and just shy of 1,500bhp when running E85 ethanol/gasoline fuel and 20+lbs of boost. The original engine was equally capable. In its first, naturally aspirated trim it was rated at 550bhp; adding twin turbochargers to it in the S7 Twin Turbo model bumped its rating to 750bhp via a mere 4.5lbs of boost. A pair of optional, non-street legal upgrades bumped the TT all the way to 1000bhp for track use at just 8lbs of boost.

Along with the chassis built by Ray Mallock (RML) in the English Midlands, and engine development at Saleen in Irvine, Calif., the S7’s body and interior were designed by Steve and Phil Frank, the latter having exercised his considerable talents at Saleen for five years by the time of the S7 project in 1999-2000. Aerodynamic work in England and the wind tunnel at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, plus rules requirements of the ACO organization running the Le Mans race were factors in the S7’s shape, a form that Phil and Steve worked especially closely together on.

When the S7 debuted in August 2000 at the Monterey Historic Races, it was both a complete surprise to the public and a prototype still some way from series production. Much work remained to arrive at a saleable street car, or even more immediately, a workable race car.

Before 2005 when the Twin Turbo street version of the S7 appeared, essentially every system, part and manufacturing process of the S7 was U.S. based, mainly in Saleen’s own Irvine facility or by a few remaining contractors. The chassis took form in Saleen’s in-house fabrication shop, the engines were built in the Saleen engine shop, the bodywork laid out in Saleen’s carbon shop and painted in the Saleen paint shop, the interior crafted in the Saleen upholstery shop and the whole car assembled on Saleen’s dedicated S7 assembly line.

List of S7 Contractors

No automaker designs or builds something as complex as a new car without the aid of skilled specialist contractors. Some of those individuals and companies that contributed to the S7 success are:

• Aria Group (USA)

• Brembo S.p.A. (Italy)

• Andy Coventry, Williams F1 aerodynamicist (UK)

• Frazero (UK)

• Lola Cars International (CTS carbon fiber division) (UK)

• Ray Mallock Limited (UK)

• RBT Transmissions (USA)

• University of Scotland (UK)

• Xtrac Transmission Technology (UK)

Series production of the S7 took place completely on the Irvine, Calif. S7 assembly line. Saleen Mustang production is just visible in the background.
Series production of the S7 took place completely on the Irvine, Calif. S7 assembly line. Saleen Mustang production is just visible in the background.

As a race car, the S7R was, like the street car, a major success, winning over 100 professional events and proving one of the outstanding customer racecars of the modern era. Its combination of blistering speed, durability, easy serviceability and support from the Saleen factory ensured its steady employment among teams contesting IMSA, ALMS, FIA and Le Mans series events in the United States and abroad. And yes, it did – finally – win its GT class at Le Mans in 2010.

Such racing success significantly differentiates the S7 from its supercar classmates, nearly all of which are street-centric. As a rule, such supercars are certainly capable, but tuned to protect the more exuberantly enthusiastic drivers rather then reward the skilled. By comparison, the track-bred S7 is honed right to the edge and delivers a far less-filtered, purer driving experience that’s loud and high effort because that’s the way hardcore driver cars are. It’s not for everyone, but it gives those in the know a uniquely authentic race car experience and doesn’t hurt the car’s honestly earned cache one bit.

Critics have called the S7 out precisely for its elemental approach, saying the project was too large for Saleen to complete, or hinting it was somehow not really a Saleen product and was opportunistically brought in from elsewhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s more of Steve Saleen in the S7 than any other car he’s built.

When the S7 was publicly unveiled at Pebble Beach in 2000, it ushered in a new era of supercar design and performance.
When the S7 was publicly unveiled at Pebble Beach in 2000, it ushered in a new era of supercar design and performance.

He conceived the very idea of the car, directed every aspect of its engineering and design, was its chief development driver and has been hands-on for every step of the S7 story. In return, the S7 inarguably cemented Saleen’s reputation as a manufacturer, so much so that in 2002, the Ford Motor Company contracted Saleen for the engineering, painting and manufacturing of its own supercar, the first generation Ford GT, in a Saleen assembly plant.

Today, although long out of production save the final handful of Le Mans edition cars, the S7 continues as the Saleen flagship, still drawing attention both in the West and in China where its star power has visibly anchored the immense Saleen initiative there. It’s a natural job for the S7 as its direct approach to driving, prodigious performance and timeless styling have made it a modern classic among supercars.


Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson’s three decades of full-time auto journalism have included a 16-year association with Road & Track magazine, features and new car reviews for MSN Autos and editing Super Ford magazine, along with several technical books and aviation writing. Tom has driven nearly every Saleen model ever built and has chronicled the S7 story since the start. He is currently working on the definitive S7 book set for publication by next year.

[Source: DriveTribe]

WRENCH NATION: STEVE SALEEN INTERVIEW

#167 STEVE SALEEN: BRINGING RACE-PROVEN PERFORMANCE TO THE STREET

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The Business of Super Cars

With an incredible race history with the performance design and build of the Saleen Mustang to one of the world’s most renowned super cars, the Saleen S7, CEO & Founder Steve Saleen has carved out a reputation that truly ranks with the most celebrated performance vehicle designers in history. Mr. Saleen’s entrepreneurial business plan laid the groundwork for an entire new industry of design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales of high-performance vehicles that were race-proven and marketed for sales through showrooms nationwide. His impeccable attention to detail while observing a business acumen is like no other.

Additional Builds and Hollywood

Other significant accomplishments include the paint and sub-assembly of the Dodge Viper, supercharged Harley Davidson Ford F150 and the construction of the first “running’ Camaro for its introduction in the movie “Transformer”. Numerous Hollywood films have featured Saleen vehicles, including “Fast and Furious”, “Bruce Almighty”, “Transformers” (as the Decepticon “Barricade”) and “Ironman.”

Mr. Saleen has recently upped the game in the automotive world with the introduction of the Saleen 1, the mid-engine sports car with super car credentials. As the “History Channel” program pointed out, Steve Saleen is part of a trio of “legendary” performance car builders alongside Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche.

Check out Wrench Nation:
www.wrenchnation.tv

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[Source: Wrench Nation]

VIDEO: STEVE SALEEN INTERVIEW ON DRIVERS TALK RADIO

From our friends at Drivers Talk Radio.

Published on Jul 16, 2019
Drivers Talk sits down with legendary racer and vehicle manufacturer Steve Saleen for an intimate interview on his racing days and how that led to the birth of the Saleen Mustang. See pics of his infamous launch of a Shelby Mustang off a 200ft cliff, along with never before seen pics of his early racing days where he rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest racing names in the world.

Our Bring A Trailer game show “Hit the Gas or Sniffing Gas” returns and we get the results of the boys bidding on the 1973 Datsun 240z and watch them take a crack at minty 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint. Molly heads over to the Fabulous Fords Forever show and uncovers a “Hot Pants Pinto,” Sunbeam Tiger, and some other unusual Fords. Plus Drivers Talk News takes a sneak peek at the 2021 Ford F150, along with many other juicy news tidbits.

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: Drivers Talk Radio]

STEVE SALEEN VISITS WITH ADAM & MATT ON CARCAST

Adam and Matt begin the show talking about Matt modifying the steering column of his Mustang. The guys then invite Steve Saleen into the studio to talk about the S7, the upcoming S1, and racing. Steve even shares a Paul Newman story!

Click on this link to visit carcastshow.com and listen to the CarCast

Hosts: Adam Carolla and Matt D’Andria
Producer: Chris Laxamana
Engineer: Caelan Biehn

[Source: Adam Carolla]

USA TODAY: STEVE SALEEN IS BACK

STEVE SALEEN IS BACK WITH A NEW $100K SUPERCAR

By: CHRIS WOODYARD on November 30, 2017
Original Article: USATODAY.COM

LOS ANGELES – Among performance-car enthusiasts, Steve Saleen is a legend.

He has been associated a variety of cars but is probably best known for the Saleen Mustangs — Ford muscle cars modified to tear up the track and make a statement on the street — in the 1980s. His company also built the S7, a supercar.

Now Saleen Automotive is back with a new supercar, the Saleen 1 or S1, that he’s showing off Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Steve Saleen is back with a new supercar, the Saleen 1, that he says will cost about $100,000 while producing impressive performance - Saleen Automotive
Steve Saleen is back with a new supercar, the Saleen 1, that he says will cost about $100,000 while producing impressive performance – Saleen Automotive

It’s another swoopy design with impressive performance numbers. Saleen says the two-seat car will have a turbocharged 450-horsepower four-cylinder engine that will be combined with low weight to give it rocket-like acceleration. It is expected to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. Top speed will be about 180 mph.

But what will really set the Saleen 1 apart is price: About $100,000, Saleen said. That’s a far cry from many supercars that can cost double that or more.

Steve Saleen shows off his latest creation, the S1 supercar - Saleen Automotive
Steve Saleen shows off his latest creation, the S1 supercar – Saleen Automotive

Saleen says he hopes to start production at his Southern California plant by late next year. He wants to build about 1,500 cars, then Saleen Automotive’s Chinese affiliate, Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technologies Group, will start production for worldwide distribution.

Saleen says he’s as excited about this one as he has been about any of his projects.

“It’s like a race car,” he said. “You’re only as good as your last race.”

[Source: USA Today]

STEVE SALEEN INTERVIEW WITH ALAN TAYLOR ON ‘THE DRIVE’

The Drive with Alan Taylor

Details
We are back with interviews from the 2017 SEMA Show that we will be rolling out over the next few weeks. First up, live from the Craftsman Garage, we chat with the CEO of Barrett-Jackson, Craig Jackson, about the charity cars they had at the last auction in Las Vegas. Next, Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy shares his history with SEMA, Bonneville racing, and his friendship with Chip Foose. Then, Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, jumps on the mic with legendary builder Steve Saleen. Steve talks with us about the Saleen rides at SEMA, and some exciting business news from China. Russell Holmes of Garage Rehab discusses his role on the show and sounds off about some of the craziest garages that the crew has been to. Switching lanes, Stacey David of GearZ shares all about his past as a musician, his recent children’s book, and touches on his show. Rutledge Wood, NASCAR personality, explains a charity build he is doing with eBay Motors and a new show on the horizon for him. Ray Evernham, host of AmeriCarna, tells us about his role in the making of the movie Cars 3 and about the friendly, family rivalry between him and his wife, who is also a professional driver. Last up, we hit the backroads of our imagination with the crew from Dirt Every Day, who tell us about the wild 4x4s they have hit the mud with. Fill up on our stars’ personal Craftsman tool stories that helped them build their dreams.

Steve Saleen at the Craftsman booth!
Steve Saleen at the Craftsman booth!

[00:19:53] Marvelous Memories of Meeting Steve Saleen
Alan and Josh Hancock of JoshCAR chat about the legendary builder, Steve Saleen. Tim Allen used to have a team called “RRR Speedlab” with Steve, and this was Alan’s first introduction to these great drivers. Josh tells us that he first met Steve at the Saleen facility in Detroit while filming a movie that was never released. One thing is for sure, the Saleen team really knows how to get things into production and execute projects with great precision. Shifting gears a bit, Alan and Josh talk about Craftsman tools, and what it’s like to be in the Craftsman Garage at SEMA.

TD 111817: Steve Saleen
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[Source: The Drive with Alan Taylor]

STEVE SALEEN MAKES APPEARANCES AT MUSTANG WEEK AND TASCA FORD

STEVE SALEEN MAKES APPEARANCES AT MUSTANG WEEK AND TASCA FORD

CORONA, CA — 08/24/17 — Saleen Automotive (OTCQB: SLNN) announces that Steve Saleen will appear at Mustang Week in in Myrtle Beach, NC. The event will take place Tuesday until Saturday, September 5-9, 2017. Saleen will participate in various Mustang Week events, displaying their newest Saleen Mustangs. As an additional bonus, on Friday, Steve and his team will be located at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center where Steve will be signing autographs. On Friday evening, Steve will award the special Saleen awards.

If you haven’t joined Team Saleen, now would be a great time to do so, as Team Saleen will be hosting a meet and greet FOR TEAM SALEEN MEMBERS ONLY on Friday night.

Although pre-registration for Mustang Week is already closed, spectators are always welcome. The only fee for spectators is parking, which is a minimal $5 per car. For those pre-registered, check-in will be held 8:30-11:00a.m. Judging begins immediately after 11a.m.

Come on out and meet Steve Saleen and the Saleen gang, get an autograph from Steve, and view Saleen Automotive’s latest introduction of spectacular Mustangs.

SALEEN’S NEWEST AUTHORIZED DEALER – TASCA FORD

On Saturday, September 9, 2017, Steve Saleen will be at Tasca Ford in Cranston, Rhode Island. Tasca Ford, the newest Authorized Saleen Dealer, will be hosting its 20th Annual Tasca Ford Mustang Show. The show hours are 10a.m. until 3p.m. and will feature live music, Carl Tasca Sr.’s world’s fastest Cobra Jet, Bob Tasca III will start up his TascaParts.com Nitro Funny Car, and a giant BBQ.

Always the highlight at the Tasca Show is the autograph session. This year, Steve Saleen will join Bob Tasca III, Carl Tasca Sr., and Roy Hill at the autograph table.

Donation for admission is two canned goods to support the RI Community Food Bank (additional $20.00 if you participate in the car show). To register a vehicle for the show, please call 401-681-1236.

Don’t miss out on meeting Steve Saleen as he welcomes Tasca Ford as the newest Saleen Authorized Dealer.

About Saleen Automotive, Inc.
Saleen is an American specialty manufacturer of high-performance vehicles, technical performance parts, lifestyle accessories, and apparel. Founder Steve Saleen has continually set the bar for automotive design and performance engineering in both street and racing applications. Saleen plans to utilize its existing strategic partnerships and dealer network to refine its design and engineering prowess, continue development of emerging automotive technologies, and expand its presence nationwide with a combination of automotive retail services, aftermarket parts, and new vehicle sales to build significant long-term value. Learn more at www.saleen.com.

Additional information at www.saleen.com
Media contact: pr@saleen.com
Saleen Automotive, Inc.
2735 Wardlow Road
Corona, CA 92882
714.400.2121

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[Source: Saleen Automotive]