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Saleen S7 (A true Super car Reviewed by motogeeeksatyam)
Oct 20, 2008 | Views: 3,370
Saleen manufactures limited edition, high-performance vehicles. Saleen is an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the last American small car manufacturer bearing OEM status. Unlike aftermarket "tuner" companies, Saleen is subject to the same federal regulations governing design and testing of their automotive products as larger vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, or Toyota. Most of Saleen's vehicles are highly modified versions of existing mass produced sports cars such as the Ford Mustang. Saleen has produced over 8,000 modified Mustangs since its inception. It also produces modified versions of a number of other Ford models. the first saleen made was in 1984.
Saleen's flagship car is the Saleen S7, introduced in 2000. The S7 is a mid-engine, high-performance sports car that was initially priced at just under US$400,000. The S7 won four different GT championships in 2001 and has broken records at the prestigious 24-Hour Le Mans race. The S7 is Saleen's first production car not based on an existing design.
The parts and gear department of the company markets car parts and accessories such as custom wheels, exhaust systems, brakes and other high performance parts. Saleen operated a retail store at the Irvine Spectrum in Irvine, California to sell these car parts and accessories directly to customers and to offer vehicle sales without a need for a sales-lot. However, the store was quietly closed on December 7, 2007.
Saleen operates an assembly plant (Saleen Special Vehicles) in Troy, Michigan where it conducted assembly and painting for the Ford GT for Ford Motor Company and currently offers prototyping and show-car building services to other automotive OEMs.
As of mid-2005, Saleen discontinued manufacture of the "Nitrous-ready" N2O S121 Saleen Focus. The 550 hp (410 kW) naturally-aspirated mid-engine Saleen S7 was discontinued after the 2004 model year with the introduction of the Saleen S7TT although both editions are commonly referred to as the Saleen S7.
The company was founded in 1983 originally as Saleen Autosport by Steve Saleen, a former Formula Atlantic race car driver. In the first year Saleen built 3 cars as the first production run - a white hatchback, a copper glow hatchback, and a black hatchback. In 1984, Saleen Autosport became Saleen Performance, Incorporated. In 1984, Steve Saleen's secretary miscounted the vehicles produced that year, omitting vehicle number 6 as a result of confusing it with 9. Since 1984, Saleen has had the tradition of not issuing the #6 bumper number on any of its vehicles. Sometimes, a Mustang equipped with a Saleen aftermarket bodykit will bear 6 as its bumper number, signifying it as a "fake" Saleen Mustang. Each year up through the eighties, Saleen was able to produce a new record volume of cars. In late 1990, Saleen contracted with Car & Concepts in St. Louis to produce the Saleen Mustang. As the recession of the early 90's hit, so did it a take a toll on production. Cars & Concepts continue production through the 1991 model year when they closed their facility due to their own financial woes. Production was returned in-house to Saleen Performance, Incorporated in 1992. By then, the production of cars had been reduced to 12 for the 1992 model year. Steve Saleen teamed up with comedian Tim Allen in 1993 who helped to promote the Saleen Mustang and received new financial backing through Hidden Creek Industries. With a new financial backing and all-new body style in '94, production numbers began growing again. Beginning in 1995, Saleen-Allen Racing facilitated the start of preparations for the development of a ground-up vehicle project by implementing a 7.0L V8 engine in their track-cars which eventually gave rise to the powerplant utilized in the S7. In 1997, Saleen competed at the 24 Hours of le Mans, ending a 30-year Mustang hiatus from the event. During the development of the Saleen SR, Saleen formed a strategic partnership with BASF that resulted in the development of unique paint color formulations coupled with advertising centered around Saleen products. During this time, the Saleen paint color liztick red, named for Steve's wife, Elizabeth, was developed.
In the late 1990s, the company was renamed Saleen, Incorporated. Hancock Park Associates provided an infusion of financial support to allow Saleen to grow. Beginning at the end of 2004, major shifts occurred in the corporate structure of Saleen, moving away from a race-team style hierarchy toward a structure commensurate with an automotive OEM. At the end of July 2006, to much fanfare, Saleen opened a retail store at the Irvine Spectrum in Irvine, California which quietly closed in December 2007. Beginning with the 2007 model year, the Saleen-designed 450 hp (340 kW) supercharger kit in the F-150-based S331 was offered by Ford as a ship-through Ford-endorsed performance option on Harley Davidson Edition F150s. In early 2007, Daniel Reiner was appointed Chairman and CEO of Saleen. At the 2007 New York International Auto Show, Chip Foose unveiled a Ford-endorsed limited edition F150, powered by the Saleen-designed powertrain used on the Saleen S331SC. On May 14, 2007, Steve Saleen and Billy Tally resigned from Saleen after nearly 24 and approximately 9 years with the company, respectively. At the time of his resignation, Steve Saleen was serving in the position of Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors while Billy Tally was the Chief Officer of Technology. John Spruill, having last served as domestic programs manager, resigned from Saleen in early June 2007 after a nine year tenure with the company to continue his career working with Saleen and Tally in a different business venture.
On August 8, 2007, Paul Wilbur was named President and CEO of Saleen to succeed Reiner while Chris Theodore, formerly VP of Product Development at Ford, was appointed to the position of CTO, filling the position vacated by Billy Tally.
In early 2008, Saleen began reducing the non-engineering staff located in Irvine, California and consolidating operations in its Troy, Michigan manufacturing plant, relocating its official headquarters to that location. Chris Theodore, previously in the position of CTO, was promoted to the position of CEO at Saleen on August 8, 2008 when Paul Wilbur vacated the position to pursue business opportunities outside of Saleen.On August 12, 2008 Miedema Auctioneering held a 10 hour auction for Saleen Inc. at 6567 Sterling Drive South, Sterling Heights, MI 48312. During the auction it was possible to obtain everything necessary to assemble a new Saleen Mustang. All factory furniture, tooling, and facilities were for auction. Computers, milling machines, work tables and office equipment hastily piled was listed for sale.
On August 18, 2008 Miedema Auctioneering executed a similar auction at Saleen Inc.
The current (2008) model range consists of:
Saleen S7R (2005-) - a non-street legal racing-only version of the S7, intended for races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans sharing the updated body styling of the S7TT
Saleen S281 3V - 360 hp (270 kW) - For the 2008 model year, the naturally aspirated 3-valve possesses an increased power rating in addition to a multitude of refinements to improve the road-handling of the vehicle.
Saleen S281 RF/AF - the Red Flag (RF) and American Flag (AF) are 465 hp (347 kW) surpercharged versions of the S281. These vehicles offer the thrill of supercharged fun at a discount price. Content such as the SC vented hood, SC rear wing, S281 quarter window trim, and standard S281 seating are omitted. The RF is available in black or alloy with standard red decals while the AF is available in torch red, vista blue, and white with red, white, blue exterior decals. Both come standard with chrome wheels.
Saleen S281 SC - a 465 hp (347 kW) supercharged version of the S281
Saleen S302 E - 620 hp (460 kW) - Borrowing from the S302PJ, the S302E utilizes an engine derived from that used on the Limited Edition but equipped with a Saleen Series VI Supercharger to maximize power. This model replaces the S281E for the 2008 model year.
SA-25 - Saleen's 25th anniversary, "Sterling Edition" of the S302E
Saleen S331SC - a supercharged, 450 hp (340 kW) performance sport truck based upon the Ford F-150 FX2 and available in both supercab and supercrew variants
Saleen H302 - 390 hp (290 kW) - A follow-on to the H281, this limited-production edition shares the majority of the bodywork of and possesses a high-compression, 302 CID based on those of the S302 Parnelli Jones Limited Edition. Unlike the H281, this version has the same hood scoop as on the S302PJ but lacks the chrome trim accents and is available in all Ford OEM colors except grabber orange. The body side stripes are identical to those on the H281.
Saleen H302 SC - 580 hp (430 kW) - Equipped with a Saleen forced-induction system, this version is an increased performance version of the H302 with options for some of the features that appeared on the S302PJ such as a Watts Link. Due to the supercharger, this vehicle is unable to be equipped with the hood scoop featured on the S302PJ.
Saleen H281 SC Dan Gurney Limited Edition - 465 hp (347 kW) A 2008 model year special edition run of 300 (100 Blue, 100 Red, 100 White) Mustang-based vehicles sporting styling reminiscent of DG's 1969 Boss 302 Trans-Am racer.
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