Racing exploits generate thrills, but they don't necessarily lead to vehicles that people can drive on ordinary roads. That's been the case with the Saleen organization, which has many years of experience and recognition in building racing machines.
Saleen has previously marketed modified versions of Ford's Explorer, Focus and Mustang. In 2001, Saleen began to ease into the production-car arena with the mid-engine S7.
At the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Saleen exhibited the latest S7, which received a 175-horsepower increase to a stunning 750 hp. Purchases can be made at Saleen Certified Ford dealers and at other Saleen Certified dealerships.
Though the S7 is relatively long at 188 inches, and more than 78 inches wide, it stands only 41 inches tall and has a 4-inch ground clearance. It has a 106.3-inch wheelbase, and the front track (the distance between wheels) is a sizable 68.8 inches. The space-frame chassis is made of lightweight steel with honeycomb composite panels and has "full tray" body sculpting underneath.
The doors open up and away from the body — a mode that's familiar in supercars. Peeking through the back window gives onlookers a unique view of the engine. Forged-alloy wheels hold 19-inch tires in front and 20-inchers in back.
The two-person cockpit is upholstered in Connolly leather and suede. Comfort amenities include air conditioning, power windows and locks, adjustable pedals and a six-CD stereo. Analog gauges include a center-mounted tachometer. A rearview camera is installed.
To make entry and exit easier, it's even possible to remove the steering wheel. Custom-made luggage fits into the front and rear trunks.
Under the Hood
Based on a Ford engine block, the heavily reworked, all-aluminum 7.0-liter V-8 develops 750 hp at 6,300 rpm and 700 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. A six-speed-manual transmission drives the rear wheels.
The S7 features an integrated roll structure and aluminum-honeycomb, impact-absorbing panels.