Rare Rides: A Sporty Saleen for Your "Domestic" Super Car Needs

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

When you put pen to paper and start making a list of American super car models, it doesn’t take long to conclude that The Land of the Free is not a leading purveyor of the species. In fact, you can fit the list on a standard Post-It. Google reckons there are just four generally — Ford GT, Hennessey Venom GT (which are current), a couple of Mosler MTs, and the Saleen S7 (which are deceased).

So come and check out a rare example of what happens when American British engineering meets super car specifications, and then it all gets screwed together in the U.S. of A.

Hemmings features the large and in charge vehicle you see above — a Saleen S7, from 2004. Saleen produced a few S7 examples each year between 2000 and 2006. Though it’s commonly thought of as an American creation, the S7 was designed and first built in the United Kingdom by Ray Mallock Ltd., for Saleen. However, the idea for the concept did come from Steve Saleen (an American). For the rest of the model’s run, Saleen built the S7 in Irvine, California.

Speeding away from The Golden State is handled with ease. Put your foot on the floor and enjoy a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds. As you’d surmise from this figure, there’s some serious firepower somewhere within the subtle, anonymous carbon fiber, axe-murderer flanks.

Behold, the bored and stroked 7.0-liter Ford Windsor V8, which in this particular car is naturally aspirated. In 2005, the S7 Twin Turbo became available, which upped the horsepower from 550 to 750. Top speed is over 200 mph, even in this scrawny naturally aspirated version.

The ad cites there were only eight S7 examples built in 2004. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the only S7 built to this particular specification of silver paint, Band-Aid colored sun lounger chairs, and other miscellaneous options. When your total production figures are in double digits though, it’s not that hard to create unique combinations. Be sure to check out the unique alignment of those hand-crafted door panels!

But then again, that’s the point of throwing down cash on something rare, isn’t it? I think my favorite angle is right up there. The car goes under the hammer for the 2017 Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction, which runs this week, with an estimated sale price between $390,000 and $450,000. That means this super car starts at just $709 per horsepower. A bargain! Better get hold of your broker.

[Images by Sotheby’s]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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5 of 23 comments
  • NotFast NotFast on Mar 10, 2017

    Pretty sure this was in the movie Bruce Almighty (I think he drives upside down in a tunnel) but I'm too lazy to look it up.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 10, 2017

      @USAFMech "like a rose-colored marsh near the Nile River." Well that was lovely.

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Mar 10, 2017

    left out of the article and helpful information for people commenting on the parts bin engineering and build quality is that this wasn't really a street car. This was essentially a racecar modified to be street legal, and was awfully close to a prototype of the time (GT manufacturers complained about the car). It had some of the highest downforce numbers of any production cars (If I remember right, it equaled its own weight at like 160 mph). The car also had a fantastic race record, including class wins and championships in various series and a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Along with the Maserati MC12, this car is probably the closest connection you'll find to one of the great eras of GT racing, when Ferrari, Saleen, Corvette, Maserati, Viper, and Aston Martin campaigned big bore 6-8 liter V8s, V10s, and V12s making 600+ hp and hitting over 210 mph at Le Mans was the norm.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 10, 2017

      If you're selling it to customers who are going to put a plate on it, and asking a huge price - it's a street car.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys i was only here for torchinsky
  • Tane94 Workhorse probably will be added to the heap of failed EV companies.
  • Freddie Instead of taking the day off, how about an article on the connection between Black Americans and the auto industry and car culture? Having done zero research, two topics pop into my head: Chrysler designer/executive Ralph Gilles, and the famous (infamous?) "Green Book".
  • Tane94 Either Elio Motors or Aptera Motors.
  • Billccm I think we will see history repeat itself. The French acquired AMC in the 1980s, discovered they couldn't make easy money, sold AMC off to Chrysler. Jeep is all that remained. This time the French acquired FCA, and they are discovering no easy profits. Assume an Asian manufacturer will acquire what remains of Chrysler, but this time Jeep and RAM are the only survivors.