Saleen, Inc., a specialty vehicle manufacturer for 17 years, has created the first true American supercar with the launch of the Saleen S7. The S7 is designed to compete with the fastest, quickest, best handling, most luxurious grand touring cars in the world, while providing a distinctly American driving experience for the fortunate few who will own one.
A true supercar, the Saleen S7 is capable of over 200 miles per hour. Zero-to-60 time is under four seconds. With its extreme ground effects engineering, at 160 mph the car could be driven upside down and still stay attached to the road.
Designed, engineered, certified, manufactured and marketed by Saleen, the S7 was conceived to combine the performance of a track-only racecar with the driving pleasure of a road car. Working with some of the world’s most respected and technologically advanced automotive suppliers, the Saleen S7 will have gone from concept to first customer deliveries in just 18 months.
When designing the S7, Saleen put drivability on a wide variety of road conditions high on the list of objectives. And, while the S7 would be at home on any racetrack, it is also a car that can be driven with pleasure on highways, autobahns and back roads.
The Saleen S7 architecture begins with a space frame chassis to which honeycomb composite reinforcing is grafted. Suspension is fully independent unequal length "A" arms. The S7 chassis and suspension are the result of Saleen’s years of racing, racecar building and high performance road car manufacturing experience. Famed British racing house Ray Mallock, Ltd. (RML) was enlisted to assist with the design and building of the chassis and packaging of the S7’s advanced suspension system.
The ever-popular Mustang celebrated its 35th anniversary last March with freshened styling, and is largely unchanged with the exception of the introduction of the limited-production, high-performance Cobra R. Like previous models of the same name, it’s designed for racers.
The S7 engine and drive train are Saleen designed and incorporate modern racing motor technology and engineering. Saleen/Allen Speedlab race team engine builder, Bill Tally, is the engine’s designer. Based on a Ford-cast all aluminum block re-engineered by Saleen, the cam-in-block 7-liter motor generates 550 horsepower at 6400 rpm. Redline is 7000 rpm. The motor delivers 520 foot-pounds of torque at 4000 rpm. Space age materials and engineering are used throughout: magnesium throttle body and intake manifolds, carbon fiber induction system, stainless steel values, titanium retainers, beryllium exhaust valve seats, ceramic coated stainless steel exhaust system, and race-derived all-aluminum CNC machined Saleen designed heads.
An exclusive Saleen-designed Front Engine Accessory Drive (FEAD) system results in an extremely compact motor, allowing for better packaging and overall weight distribution. The motor incorporates a unique Saleen-designed side mounted water pump, extremely accurate belt-driven camshaft drive, and a Saleen-engineered dry sump oil delivery system.
With the performance targets met, longtime Saleen design consultant Phil Frank then personalized and refined the aesthetics of the S7 with the addition of signature Saleen elements. The gill-like ducting is, of course, fully functional. The autoclave carbon fiber body panels beautifully incorporate the advanced aerodynamics and include: integrated split-channel air flow throughout the car, full underside air management, advanced front tray and side skirt designs, and integrated full body wing.
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 weight distribution, and allows the passenger side to have a narrower threshold. The S7 is unusually accommodating of tall drivers.
Upholstery is covered with Connolly leathers and suedes. Accents are brushed aluminum and painted body-color highlights. Air conditioning, power windows, adjustable pedals, and a 6-disc CD player are all standard. The Saleen S7 has two unique interior features. The first is a live video rear view "mirror" - there is a small video camera inconspicuously mounted in the rear of the car - and the second is a steering wheel that can be removed if wished to ease ingress and egress.
The mid-engine Saleen S7 has front and rear trunks and comes with fitted luggage. In true supercar style, the doors open up and away from the body.
"The car, when seen in person, has an amazing presence," says Steve Saleen, founder and president of Saleen, Inc. "It is quite long and wide, and only 41 inches high, which adds to its exotic appearance. We wanted a ’form-follows-function’ look, but also one that was beautiful. I’d say we succeeded!"