A few days ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to Steve Saleen, former racecar driver and the proud owner of Saleen , Inc, following a court battle to prove his rights to the once-troubled performance-car manufacturer. We discussed many things in our 30-minute conversation, and I learned tons about what brought him back to the company that he brought to greatness in the 1980s and 1990s, what we can expect in the near future and what we can look forward to as time goes on.
We asked Mr. Saleen what brought him back to the company that he founded decades ago, after stepping away in the 2000s. According to Steve, his return to the company was both to protect his namesake and to show Saleen fans that he hasn’t lost the passion to manufacture performance cars and that Saleen is still a player in the performance-car realm. He elaborated that his return to Saleen required a legal battle to prove that he indeed still had the right to the name.
The biggest news is the all-new supercar that Saleen is working on, and I asked him to give us any information he could regarding the pace of the project and where it stands. Unfortunately, I was met with "We are indeed working on the next American supercar and hopefully it is not too far out, but I cannot divulge more information at this time."
Something that always weighs on the mind of many Saleen fans is how far in advance and how much "inside" information Saleen receives to help it in its engineering process. Steve let us know that Saleen’s strong relationship with Ford and other manufacturers does afford it some extra information on models and upcoming projects to help with building Saleen vehicles.
In terms of the future, Steve assured us that Saleen is not going to ramp up slowly, as the economy is primed for fast growth, so the company will take full advantage of this to grow the "new" Saleen as fast as the economy will allow. Part of this growth, according to Mr. Saleen, will be in the electric car realm. He told me "You shouldn’t be surprised to see us doing something in the electric vehicle segment, as well." The company views the EV shift as "less of a fad and more of a long-term trend," according to Steve.
In closing Mr. Saleen left us with this "After 30 years, I have not lost the drive or passion for doing cars, and all of this is possible because of the tremendous we have from our customers and fans around the world."
Saleen Automotive was founded in 1983 by Steve Saleen, who recently regained control of the company , and everyone knows it as the American company that builds some of the sickest cars in America. Now, just in time for its 30th anniversary, the company announced the launch of the special-edition lineup that it has dubbed the SA-30.
The SA-30 can be based on one of three different Saleen models: the 302 Mustang , the 620 Camaro , or the 570 Challenger . The SA-30 will be limited to only 30 units — 10 based on each model — and they will start from $95,000.
According to Saleen, despite the special edition using three different platforms, it will "share a common theme: Saleen Racing Heritage." Also, the new SA-30 "will capture the essence of Saleen style and performance that will truly place elegance and power in the hands of the very few."
The new SA-30 offers a nice list of updates to both the exterior and the interior, including a series of exclusive features and a very powerful engine under the hood.
Click past the jump to read more about the new Saleen SA-30.
Well, we didn’t get that, which is a tad disappointing, but what we did get was an equally surprising announcement in the form of the Saleen Heritage Collection, a limited edition series of specially designed muscle cars that pays tribute to the top five drivers that raced in the Mission Bell race at Riverside International Raceway back in October 1970.
The first two vehicles of this Heritage collection were actually released a few years ago - the Saleen Parnelli Jones Ediiton and the Dan Gurney Edition - and now, the next three will be dropped in succeeding order beginning with the unveiling of the Saleen George Follmer Edition Mustang, followed by the Mark Donohue Edition Camaro , and the Swede Savage Edition Barracuda.
The latter two will be unveiled at later dates so for now, the spotlight focuses on the George Follmer Edition Mustang, a car that Saleen introduced over the weekend at Laguna Seca.
If you’re not too familiar with the name George Follmer, a brief history lesson will tell you that the man is notable for having one of the most decorated racing careers back in the 60’s and 70’s. In addition to running the Indianapolis 500, Follmer also competed in Formula One with the Shadow team in 1973, while also racing in NASCAR’s Winston Cup and the Can-Am series where he took the championship in 1972.
Click past the jump to read more about the Saleen George Follmer Edition Mustang
The last time there was this much buzz about a Saleen model, the dedicated auto company unleashed the S7 , a car that was, at one point in time, considered the fastest and most powerful car in the world.
So you have to excuse the excitement in the room now that Saleen is back and teasing a "special announcement" at Laguna Seca this weekend as part of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. We are thinking that this announcement will actually be the unveiling of a new Saleen model.
After years of the company being in limbo, including Steve Saleen’s departure from the company he built from the ground up, there now appears to be a stable foundation that has given way for the debut of what could very well be the successor to the mighty S7.
While we’re expecting a completely different — and new — supercar, we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if this debut ends up being the production version of the S5S Raptor Concept , a prototype model that was introduced in 2008 as a concept but never saw production due to the tumultuous circumstances that befell Saleen at that time.
But all of that is water under the bridge now and Saleen is preparing for something special at Laguna Seca this weekend. And if there’s a company that has made us wait long enough for a supercar successor to its initial offering, it’s Saleen.
Click past the jump to read about the Saleen S5S Raptor Concept
When Steve Saleen officially regained his namesake brand, you knew it would only be a matter of time before his company would debut its first project car. That time, apparently, was at the LA Auto Show when Saleen introduced its return to the auto industry with the Saleen 351 Mustang.
"Since regaining the Saleen brand, I really want to bring it all together with the heritage that Saleen is known for," Saleen said. "With the current Saleen  Mustang model it provides all the right features to bring back and update the S351 model."
Based on the 2013 Ford Mustang , the car’s name comes from the engine used under the hood, which is a 351-cubic-inch V-8 engine tricked to deliver way more than a base Mustang.
Next to that, Saleen is offering numerous other updates to the interior and the exterior, but also an updated suspension and braking system - all made to transform the Mustang into a real beast.
Updated 07/05/2013: The new Saleen 351 is now officially into production, so the tuner has unveiled tons of new details on its first Mustang-based package since Steve Saleen regained control.
Click past the jump to read more about the new Saleen 351.
It’s hard to imagine that the American produced Saleen S7 actually went into production exactly 10 years ago, and its theoretical performance figures are still the envy of many automotive manufacturers around the world.
Featuring a massive 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the S7 could pump out 750 horsepower when it was new, and launch to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds despite being rear-wheel drive. Saleen claimed that the S7 could hit a top speed of 248mph which could have made it the fastest production car in the world, but for some unknown reason, the American company never took it to the absolute limits.
Ten years later, the S7 has yet to prove its ultimate performance potential, but thanks to the addition of new ADV5.2 Track Spec SL wheels from ADV.1, the Saleen S7 has finally reached its true potential, despite it only being aesthetically.
ADV.1 Wheels joined forces with AE Performance to perform the upgrade and it’s suspected that AE performed some minor tweaks to the car’s engine, although no details have been released about that.
Anyway, the wheels fitted to this particular S7 are true works of art, and are one of the company’s lightest wheels, even featuring a titanium nameplate and titanium bolts to cut down on weight and measure 19x9.5 inches at front and 20x12 at the rear.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost exactly four years to the day since the 2008 Saleen S5S Raptor Concept made its public debut at the New York Auto Show. It went into the show strictly as a concept, but that didn’t stop hopefuls claiming that it could have hit the market soon after. We never imagined reporting on it again four years later, but here we are.
Since the 2008 New York Auto Show, Saleen has faced its fair share of controversy and cut-backs, as the once prominent Ford Mustang tuner went quiet before announcing that it was solely focusing on parts and accessories. Thankfully however, with Steve Saleen now being able to use the Saleen name in future models after a bitter legal dispute , the 63 year-old has announced that he has ambitious plans to create a successor to the incredible Saleen S7 .
Saleen hinted that a future model could be based heavily upon the S5S Raptor, and we don’t blame him, as its styling looks as futuristic and aggressive as ever. Sure a few tweaks here and there would have to be made to the external styling, but we don’t see why Saleen would have to mess with the stunning looks too much.
While speaking to Autoweek, Saleen stated “That’s still a part of our plan. The S5S is still in our planning." We’re honestly not sure why Steve has decided to come out now and speak about this possible supercar, but we’re over the moon as it could mean yet another American-born car to compete with the likes of the equally impressive SSC Tuatara and Hennessey Venom GT .
When the S5S Raptor was originally introduced, it featured a 5.0-liter V8 engine pumping out an incredible 650HP and 600lb-ft of torque. As a result, it could launch to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds and continue accelerating to in excess of 200 mph, and those performance times are still mighty impressive nowadays.
It’s unclear just when the S5S Raptor could hit the production line, but don’t expect any more than 20 or 30 to be produced with each likely to cost well over $1 million.
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.
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.
Every year, Saleen heads over to Las Vegas to bring a new custom modded Mustang to the SEMA Auto Show . A few years ago, they bought the S281 Mustang. Last year, it was a custom S302 Mustang with custom colors and plenty of carbon fiber. This year, Saleen has prepared a custom 302 Speedster for the biggest aftermarket auto show in the world, marking the first time the 302 Speedster was accessorized with a number of options.
This particular model was definitely dressed to impress, thanks to a new Matte Black paint finish, complimented by the prevalent use of carbon fiber rocker panels. The subtle look of the S302 Speedster can be substituted for something a little more gregarious if customers feel like it. In place of the Matte Black finish, other can choose from Igniter Orange, Octane Red, Silver Shield, and Motor City Blue. Rounding out the modifications done on the S302 Speedster include a new carbon fiber chin splitter, a carbon fiber rear wing, and a new set of 7-spoke wheels.
We love ourselves some Ford Mustangs , especially if they come in a special edition trim. While a lot of people can scoop up a Mustang if they so please, it says something if you’re driving on the road with a piece of special edition American Ford muscle.
Now, you’ll still get your fair share of choices with some being more readily available than others. But if you’re looking for the newest special edition Mustang off the block, you might want to give the boys over at SMS Supercars.
SMS Supercars is the baby of one Steve Saleen. Yeah, you might remember him for his past forays as the founder of Saleen Inc, the very same company that built one of the fastest American supercars on the planet, the S7 .
Recently, Saleen and his crew over at SMS have turned their attention towards special edition Mustangs, specifically three new editions of the just launched Mustang Boss 302 : the White Label, the Yellow Label, and the Black Label.
Whereas the White Label is the entry-level version and the Black Label is the top-of-the-line version, the Yellow Label slots right in the middle. It comes with the same specs as that of the White Label, including a reprogrammed PCM, a new sport suspension system, a new exhaust system, a new body kit, and some interior upgrades. More than these add-ons, the Yellow Label also comes with a new SMS supercharger kit that bumps up the engine’s output from 440 horsepower to 545 horsepower. On top of that, SMS also dressed up this version with a set of 19” wheels, giving it a sportier and more aggressive look to complement its muscularity.
Interested in the Mustang SMS 302 Yellow Label? Well, you better be prepared to shell out $45,540 for the chance to go home with one.