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.
After a short preview , the Saleen S281 made its official debut today at SEMA Show. Based on the 2010 Ford Mustang, the S281 will be offered as a limited edition model, like most of the Saleen cars.
The exterior features an elegant design with an understated yet imposing grille and front fascia, and a refined treatment of the familiar Saleen extended rear fascia and trunk lid with a simple, elegant, integrated wing. The car sits on 20-inch, 7-spoke alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero Rosso high-performance tires.
The same elegance is being continued on the interior: new, leather sport seats with Ultra-Suede inserts, highlighted by chevron-like Ultra-Suede red tabs in the seatback bolsters, and unique treatments of the gauges, steering wheel, center console and shifter.
But that’s pretty much with the elegance, as under the hood there lies a real beast: a 4.6-liter V8 engine equipped with a Saleen Series VI.5 twin-screw supercharger and dual-stage intercooler that delivers a total of 485 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.
The American tuner Steve Saleen has a very hard time keeping his hands off of Ford Mustang s. Somehow whatever Mr. Saleen touches ends up not only looking better, but also has a lot more horsepower, goes faster and handles better as well. Saleen’s bread and butter for the past decade has been modifying Ford’s 4.6 Liter modular V8 powered Mustangs and transforming them into special edition individually numbered Saleen S281s. It looks like the red, white and blue tuner is getting back into the swing of things after reopening their doors as Saleen Performance Vehicles with the upcoming debut of the 2010 S281 Ford Mustang at the SEMA show this November.
Saleen isn’t releasing too much information about the new turn key tuner car, only releasing a few of these teaser images. However we have seen what Steve can do when he puts his mind to it, like the more recent 2010 Signature Series SMS 460 Mustang that made as much as 650 HP depending on the owners wishes and the more mundane Saleen 435S that made 435 HP, both based on the 2010 pony car from the blue oval. If those cars are any indication of what Saleen’s plan is for the new 281 cubic inch Mustang, then the new S281 will feature a few aerodynamically designed body parts, a set of lightweight wheels to go along with a high performance lowered suspension and of course no Saleen muscle car would be complete without a supercharger under the hood. Saleen needs to move as many of these 281 cubic inch hot rods before Ford introduces the new 5.0 Liter Coyote V8 and they have to buy a whole new inventory of S302 stickers.
What’s better than playing a cool car game like Midnight Club: Los Angles while enjoying a great pizza?! Picking up that pizza in a new Saleen Mustang inspired by the game Midnight Club: Los Angles. Rockstar Games and Pizza Hut are teaming up to give away a Saleen S302 Extreme Ford Mustang, worth an estimated $100,000. All you have to do is enter at Pizza Hut’s website before November 10th.
Ok, that last paragraph was a little too much shameless promotion, but the fact remains that it is a cool giveaway. Just please forgive all the cheesiness – but you’ll never have to forgive Pizza Hut for all the cheesiness on their delicious pizzas (oh crap, there I go again.)
The crew at Saleen is saying goodbye to this generation of Mustang by going out with a BIG bang. Earlier this week, they unveiled a special edition car they call “Dark Horse”, and TopSpeed was given some exclusive time with the 620 horsepower beast.
The menu for the engine is a good one. Start with a 302-cu-in Ford V8; add a Saleen Port Matched Series VI Integrated Screw type supercharger with 12 psi of boost; top with SuperShaker scoop that sticks up through the hood; and garnish with forged aluminum pistons, forged steel connecting rods and forged steel crankshaft. The result: 620 horsepower with 600 ft.-lbs of torque.
Saleen gave us an opportunity to get some track time with the Dark Horse at the Streets track a Willow Springs Raceway in California. The super pony had no trouble smoking the tires all the way through first gear and was a blast through the whole track. As expected from a high-horsepower car, it had no trouble pulling away at any point, even uphill.
What was surprising was that Saleen chose the Streets track to unveil the car. This is a course known less for its high-speed ability and more for providing some serious twists and turns – something that can be scary in a live rear axel Mustang. What is most amazing about the car (besides the massive engine) is that out on the track, the car rarely tried to break loose during hard cornering. Saleen reworked the live axel rear end of this car so that the “wild pony” characteristics are modified to the point it is almost like having an independent rear suspension.
The styling of the car is exactly what you would expect from a car of this name: black. The metallic black paint and body kit is accented by matte black graphics as well as black chrome wheels. The theme is carried over into the interior with all black instruments and black Alcantara sport seats. The only piece of color is the red gearshift knob and surround – very cool.
It takes $90,000 to put a Dark Horse in your garage, but that may be the least of your worries - production will be limited to 25 units.
Remember that Saleen doesn’t just work with Mustangs, but a whole host of Ford products. To help squeeze a little more performance out of a budget car, Saleen has turned its attention to the Ford Focus coupe . The new vehicle called Racecraft Focus RC2 includes a new front fascia, a new grille, side sills, a new rear spoiler and a rear apron with integrated exhaust system. The new suspension system was also upgraded and together with the new 18 inch alloy wheels the stability was improved.
Under the hood a power boost of 15 hp was obtained with the help of the new exhaust system and the cold air intake. With a price under $20,000 the new Saleen Racecraft Focus RC2 promises to be a best-seller comparing it with the Saleen N2O .
Saleen announced at the New York Autoshow a new partnership with the famous video game maker ’RockStar’. Saleen cars will first appear in the next edition of the franchise Midnight Club. This time Rockstar is offering the apprentice racer to prowl Los Angeles city streets in a dubbed out Mustang Saleen. Check our video preview while we wait for the official release date of the game later this fall of 2008. Note that the Saleen model in the demo is one of many cars and motorcycles that will be playable and fully customizable once the game is released.
Steeve Saleen, founder of the Saleen Autosport, announced the birth of another brand, the SMS Limited. Apparently this launch of the new brand gives Mr Saleen plenty of joy because SMS enables him to use the freedom along with technology in order to develop world world-class specialty vehicles.
The SMS brand will develop ultra high performance vehicles addresed to the new American Mucle Cars. A good news to the fans because the vehicles equipped with the new technology will meet the demands of the world’s most challenging race tracks. One thing is for sure, that the new brand will bring a new automotive lifestyle experience and why not...maybe the perfect supercar.
In its first year of production, the 2007 Saleen S331 Sport Truck revived the diminishing performance truck segment with the first fully-functional, high-powered sport truck to the market in several years. Many performance trucks quickly followed, but none came close to offering the same combination of functionality, performance and aggressive styling.