history

history

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 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.

SMS Supercars essential now becomes one with Saleen, which means Saleen will begin producing super high-performance models of the Dodge Challenger , Ford Mustang, and Chevy Camaro .

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

When the Porsche 911 debuted in the 1965 model year, it revolutionized the sports car, turning it from a crude performance machine to a performance machine with some class and sophistication. The man behind the design of this now legendary machine, Ferdinand Porsche, has passed away at the age of 76 and the cause of death has not been released.

The 911 is one of the few cars that, with the exception of some basic restyling and technological advances, still looks strikingly similar to its original model. The 911 also remains one of the top luxury sports cars in the world. This is a great tribute to the designing genius of F.A. Porsche, as those inside of the company knew him.

Porsche was born on December 11, 1935 and quickly got into the family business as just a young boy, though not actually on the payroll. It was not until he competed his schooling in 1958 that he joined the company as an employee. Just four years later, he took over the design studio at Porsche.

In the 1970s, Porsche left the company in the control of other family members and focused on designing eyeglasses, watches, and pens in his own studio, dubbed Porsche Design Studio. From 1990 to 1993, he rejoined Porsche AG, as a chairman, and helped guide the company back to greatness after a steep decline in sales through the 1980s.

Despite the fact that F.A. Porsche is really only well known for designing one model of vehicle, that model will keep him a legend forever. Fortunately for all of us, the spirit and ingenuity of Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche will live on for many years to come in the form of his creation, the Porsche 911.

Anytime you come from a lineage that traces its roots back to the Mercedes 300 SL Roadster , the shoes you’re filling are about as big as the craters on the moon.

The new Mercedes SL Roadster is part of that family and while the jury is still out on how the car will be looked at years from now, it’s safe to say that its heritage will play a big part in determining whether the car turns out to be a classic.

To give us an idea on the family tree the new SL Roadster comes from, Mercedes-Benz reporter, Matthew K, dives into the six decades of the SL’s lineage, all the way back to when the 300 SL was the unquestioned king of the road.

True to fashion, Mercedes even added a slice of Hollywood into the video, further accentuating the kind of car the Mercedes SL was...and still is.

The 1966 Ferrari 206 SP Dino is one of the rarest cars in the world, as Ferrari only built a total of 18 of these sweet machines. Well, the rarer the car, the more likely enthusiasts are to start replicating them, so seeing a replica of this famous car is to be expected. However, a high-quality replica is much less common.

A recent beauty popped up on eBay and it is likely one of the best recreations of a classic Ferrari we have ever seen. This replica 1966 Ferrari 206 SP Dino is about as close to 100% perfect as you can get. It has a custom-built alloy body with a 1,987 cc V-6 engine from a Ferrari Dino 206 GT . It may not crank out the 215 horsepower that the 206 SP’s 1,999 cc engine cranked, but the Dino 206 GT’s engine was rated at a respectable 176 horsepower (1967 model year). Driving this mid-mounted engine’s power to the rear wheels is a magnesium gearbox, which is likely a five-speed configuration.

Being the party poopers that we are, we had to examine this replica closely and see what differences we could find between it and the original. The first thing that stands out is the parked positioning of the wiper blade. The replica’s wiper blade is parked on the driver’s side of the vehicle. On the original, the wiper blade parks almost in the middle of the windshield.

The second thing is that the cutout in front of the windshield is several inches too close to the windshield. The original 206 SP Dino’s cutout is at least 8 inches from the windshield and the replica’s cutout is about 3 inches from the windshield.

Lastly, the driver’s side window frame on the original is unpainted, whereas the replica’s is painted red. All of that said, for a starting bid of “only” $89,100, this is not a bad deal, given an original 206 SP Dino fetched $3,267,000 at an auction in 2007.

In 1984, the late Ayrton Senna made his debut in F1 racing by taking second place in a rain-shortened Monaco Grand Prix while driving a Toleman TG184-2 open-wheel racer. You can see this exact car overtaking second place at the 2:33 mark in the above video. Ten years later, in the 1994 racing season, Senna’s life ended abruptly during a freak accident at the San Marino Grand Prix. The legend of this three-time F1 World Champion lives on, as Silverstone Auctions has announced that the Toleman TG184 that Senna made his debut in is coming to auction on May 16, 2012.

Despite the age of this race car, its 1.5-liter engine is still a highly technical piece of machinery that produces horsepower in the range of the 2.4-liter V-8 engines used in today’s F1 series. Though this vehicle is not one that is setup for road driving, it is something that would be neat for a collector to have in his garage. However, it is not without its flaws and uncertainties.

Hit the jump for more details on Ayrton Senna’s F1 race car.

Olav Glasius will be auctioning off his impressive Lotus collection on Friday, June 29, 2012 at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed. His collection includes 24 vehicles starting from 1953 to the present day and he hopes to raise an impressive £1.5million by selling them all.

His collection includes racing cars ranging from Mark VI through Marks VIII and IX, Team Lotus Le Mans Type 11s, Formula Junior Lotus 27, and ex-Formula 1/InterContinental Lotus Type 18. Next to these impressive racing cars, the collection includes road-going supercars from the Lotus Elite Series II to a Lotus Esprit Turbo , and a trio of prototype and one-off concept cars.

Doug Nye, Bonhams Motoring Historian and author of some 70 books including several on the Lotus marque, said, "There are few teams that encapsulate the romance of the ‘little guys beating the big guys’ better than Team Lotus and Olav Glasius’s remarkable collection, which he has assembled with such love and painstaking care over so many years, truly embodies the essence of what Colin and his successors have been all about."

It took a lot longer than we all expected, but finally, one of the most famous names in the history of the auto industry now has a museum to call its own.

Enzo Ferrari, the founding father of the brand that we have come to know as Ferrari , has his own museum called the "Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari." The museum was built in Modena, Italy - the town where Enzo Ferrari himself was born - and cost a ridiculous sum of €18 million - $23.6 million based on current exchange rates - that was mostly funded by local leaders in Modena in an effort to drive up tourism in the area.

Spearheading the building of the museum was renowned architect, Jan Kaplicky, who began the project in 2003. Unfortunately, Kaplicky passed on in 2009, leaving the project in the hands of Andrea Morgante, a former colleague in the design firm, Future Systems.

The building covers 54,000 square feet of floor space and will feature plenty of exhibits, including a gallery of classic Ferraris, historical artifacts, and memorabilia. There will also be a significant amount of space allotted to Enzo Ferrari’s own personal belongings, as well as a variety of never-before-seen documents and drawings that encompass the rich and storied racing history of Modena, Italy.

Despite not being an officially licensed project by Ferrari itself, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari is still expected to draw throngs of visitors. The museum is open every day with the only exception being Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The doors open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm depending on the calendar date.

Hit the jump for details on the Enzo Ferrari Museum’s first exhibit.

Honda brought back the NSX name this year at the Detroit Auto Show with the unveiling of the Acura NSX Concept , but the history of the NSX begun back in 1990 when the first generation was unveiled on the market. Today, the company has unveiled a very cool video that presents a tribute to the NSX - both past and future.

The NSX was offered with a choice of two engines: a 3.0 liter V6 with 270 HP and a 3.0 liter V6 with 252 HP and 210 lb.-ft. of torque. With the new generation , Honda promises to impress the masses even more than they did with the first model. Rumors state that the new NSX be a hybrid sports car that combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a unique 2 Electric Motor Drive Unit with a bilateral torque adjustable control system. This system allows the car to instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering. This setup will be just enough to deliver a total of 400 HP.

Mercedes just released the new generation SL-Class out on the market, but the road to this moment has been really long. The history of the Mercedes SL began in 1954 and has lasted through six generations. A history that long deserves recognition, so Mercedes has released this video that explains the many years of the SL-Class’ success.

The first Mercedes SL-Class was powered by a four-cylinder engine, but a lot has evolved since then and now the SL is powered by a V8 engine that pushes out a total of 429 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque (top version).

While describing the video, Mercedes said: "For 60 years the Mercedes-Benz SL has been an automotive icon, synonymous with outstanding innovation and refined athleticism. Take a look through the evolution of a car that continues to set standards for what a car should be."

Launched in 1992, the XJ220 was the fastest Jaguar ever produced. 20 years later, it still maintains the title, making it an iconic vehicle to be celebrated. And as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Jaguar has released a number of images to show it off.

The Jaguar XJ220 started off as a concept in 1988 designed by Keith Helfet and was never intended for production. However, after an overwhelming response at the auto show, Jaguar went on to see its viability as a production model. What they ended up with was a limited run of 350 units. The first customer car was completed in June 1992 with a retail price of £470,000 (about $737,000 at the current exchange rates). The XJ220 remained in production until 1994.

The Jaguar XJ220 was powered by a 3.5-liter, twin turbo V6 engine that delivered a total of 550 HP and 475 lbs-ft of torque. The engine was mated to a five-speed gearbox and an AP Racing twin-plate clutch. This amount of power was enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. Also, with an impressive top speed of 213mph, the XJ220 had the highest maximum speed of any production car at that time.


Back to top