Many years ago, okay maybe less than two years ago, if you were cruising down the road in your hopped up Mustang GT and came across a Mustang bearing the “Saleen” name on the side, you knew your poor GT had no chance. In 2007, this all started to change, as Steve Saleen left the company. Then in 2011, the performance vehicle side of Saleen shut down altogether. This rendered the once feared custom car builder just a high-performance parts supplier.
Shortly after leaving Saleen, Steve Saleen started SMS Supercars, basically a new version of Saleen. A long legal battle ensued after Saleen’s new ownership group refused to honor warranties for the performance vehicles it manufactured prior to taking ownership and SMS Supercars stepped in to try to help. The legal battle circled around whether or not SMS Supercars had the right to use the “Saleen” name.
After what seems like ages, there is finally a decision. Steve Saleen has been awarded the rights to use the “Saleen” name on all of his vehicles. In addition, all previously manufactured SMS Supercar vehicles will be added to Saleen’s master registry, making them official Saleen vehicles. Plus, Saleen will start producing badges for all of the old SMS Supercar vehicles, which SMS Supercar owners can buy and put in place of the old “SMS” badges.
Saleen lovers of the world rejoice! The days of Saleen being little more than AutoZone on steroids are over. We cannot wait to see the first Saleen branded cars, which should be coming very soon, though there is no official release date.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Steve Saleen Is Reunited With the Saleen Brand
Steve Saleen is Back in The Driver Seat of His Legacy and Heritage Launching Several New Saleen Models
Corona, CA (PRWEB) April 02, 2012
Famed racecar driver and automotive icon, Steve Saleen, announced today that the Saleen brand has been returned to its rightful place, himself. After several years of litigation, Steve Saleen has successfully regained control of the Saleen brand name and products that he created and built since 1984.
"In 2007, it was a difficult decision to resign from Saleen, Inc.", said Steve Saleen. "But I knew it had to be done in order to preserve the Saleen brand and to ensure the authenticity and high performance that our customers had come to expect."
That also marked the year that Steve Saleen unveiled his signature line, SMS Supercars (SMS stands for Steve Mark Saleen). SMS Supercars was the continuation of Steve’s vision for high performance automotive manufacturing. During the few short years that followed its inception, SMS Supercars and Steve Saleen successfully launched three new models, the SMS 570 Challenger, SMS 302 Mustang, and the SMS 620 Camaro. With this, SMS Supercars also launched an entire catalog of aftermarket parts, including the innovative SMS 296 Supercharger system.
Steve Saleen further added, “Although the Saleen brand is a huge part of my identity, I knew it was the vision and passion that would shine through on my signature vehicles. However, it couldn’t have been done without the support of the Saleen community. The foundation and inspiration that they gave me to move forward with my vision was what ultimately moved us to regain the Saleen branding. Most importantly the Saleen community gets their identity back as well."
The Refacing of Saleen
The return of the Saleen brand will allow Steve Saleen to begin offering all of his current SMS Supercars products under the Saleen flag. With this move, SMS Supercars will be carefully integrated into the Saleen branded family of products.
Steve Saleen will also be launching under the Saleen brand its 4V, SC, SSC, and X Models of the 2013 Mustang, 2012 Challenger, and 2012 Camaro ranging from 425hp to over 750 horsepower. These models will have the latest technology in Aerodynamics, Suspension, Braking, and Performance starting at less than $40,000.
This is expected to provide a full range of products for all Saleen dealers, Speed Shops, Race Teams, and Automotive customers in the American Pony Car segment of the performance market. All aftermarket offerings will include: Saleen Superchargers, SMS Superchargers, Saleen Vehicle Body Component parts, SMS Challenger Body Component parts, SMS Mustang Body Component parts, SMS Camaro Body Component parts, SMS Butterfly hoods, as well as all other interior and engine parts for these vehicles.
With the reuniting of Steve Saleen and the Saleen brand, Mr. Saleen is currently planning to make available all 1984 – Current Saleen vehicle aftermarket, replacement and warranty parts. All parts will be available through the Saleen.com website, by contacting Saleen at 800-888-8945 (formerly SMS Supercars) directly, or through the nearest Saleen authorized dealer.
Moving forward, Mr. Saleen detailed that the Saleen registry will be updated to include all SMS branded vehicles. By including the SMS branded vehicles in the registry they will gain their rightful place in the Saleen family. The Saleen Registry is the official record established to maintain the authenticity and exclusivity of all Saleen signature vehicles.
Additionally, any current owners or dealers of SMS branded vehicles will be provided with replacement badging for their vehicles, if they so desire. They can contact the customer service division of Saleen (formerly SMS Supercars) directly, provide the details on their vehicle, and the replacement Saleen badging will be sent out immediately.
About Steve Saleen
An automotive pioneer by trade and a driver by passion, Steve Saleen, has been involved with racing since the late 1960’s. His racing career includes multiple wins and involvements in CART/PPG Indy Car, Trans-Am, and SCCA series; with the most widely known racing involvement with the Saleen/RRR Speedlab team that was formed between Tim Allen, Bob Bondurant, and Steve Saleen. Mr. Saleen is also the holder of multiple manufacturer titles resulting from the winning pedigree that he instills in his Saleen branded vehicles. A Mustang Hall of Fame inductee, Steve Saleen, is world renowned as a builder of high-performance American muscle cars. Beginning with the first Saleen Mustang in 1984, Mr. Saleen has continued to innovate and set the bar with his American automotive passion. With his holistically designed Saleen S7 , which debuted in 2000, clinching the last GT1 win at the 24 Hours of LeMans; Steve Saleen has proven himself as both an automotive entrepreneur and racing driver.