You’ve probably heard of the Saleen S7. The S7 is one of the most powerful and sought after supercars available for purchase today. The Saleen S7 is a direct result of Saleen’s success in modifying the Ford Mustang GT, though the Saleen S7 and Saleen-tuned Mustang are two very different cars.
Founded by Steve Saleen in 1983, Saleen is legendary among Mustang tuning circles. Unlike most tuning companies, which provide hopped up versions of commonly available cars, Saleen is an OEM manufacturer and is subject to the same federal regulations governing design and testing of their products as Ford is. It is the last small manufacturer to bear OEM status.
Saleen Mustangs are quite popular among Mustang circles, and their sales figures prove this fact. Saleen has sold over 8,000 highly modified Mustangs since 1984 (the year the first Saleen Mustang was made). Saleen Mustangs are easily identified thanks to their aggressive body work, Saleen decaling, and largely increased performance figures.
The Saleen H281 SC, for example, produces 465 horsepower (only 35 shy of the Shelby Cobra GT500). The H302, a follow up to the H281, produces 390 horsepower (90 more than the standard Mustang GT). These power numbers are reached using high compression V8 engines, superchargers, or both. What’s important, however, is not the horsepower itself but the engines reliability at maintaining the increased horsepower loads.
In 1997 a Saleen Mustang competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans- the first time a Ford Mustang had entered the event in 30 years.
Started in 1995, the foundation for the Saleen S7 was laid when Saleen began using a 7.0L V8 in their track vehicles. In 2000, the mid-engined Saleen S7 was released. Priced at just under $400,000, it is still one of the most sought-after American supercars ever produced.