Just as it had done for the...
Just as it had done for the previous 20 years, Saleen one-upped Ford's new design in 2005. Shown here is the first S-281 SC. The "SC" indicates it has the supercharged 4.6L V-8, which produced 400 hp thanks to the Saleen Series VI integrated twin-screw supercharger and dual-stage, water-to-air intercooler.
On the taillights, we've used the latest LED technology. We've added carbon-fiber trim on the skirts. On the inside, we've used a two-tone application that I've liked in the past. We've wrapped it in a new color called Chromosome Silver from BASF. It's chrome-like paint, and it picks up the reflective qualities of different angles. The level of light reflection off of it is unbelievable. In Irvine, there is a big movie complex. We came out one night from the movies. There was a silver Mercedes, a silver BMW, a silver Infiniti G35, and an Audi. Then, there was this car. My car looked like it was plugged in and giving off light-the others looked flat and dark. Everybody was stopping to look at it.
MM: What chance is there you will work out an arrangement with Saleen Inc. to produce the usual 10 anniversary cars?
Saleen: None. This will be the only one. This is my personal car, so it's not for sale. I felt that I should create it as a milestone to commemorate the past 25 years-an indication of where SMS is going. Even though it's silver, I've traditionally created my anniversary cars in yellow, black, and white. Those colors are inside this car.
MM: Are you going to be doing a Mustang-based car in the future as labor-intensive as the '94-'99 S-351, where you stripped new Mustangs down to the shell?
Saleen: Maybe. I would say . . . why don't we just stay tuned?
MM: Do you have any plans to be involved in racing at this point?
Saleen: One of our business associates originally bought the two Saleen S7s that campaigned the last two years in Europe. He recently brought them back to the U.S. We have been out practicing. I will note that I have been practicing as a driver as well. I never officially retired from racing. This is the first time I have put on a helmet in a while to see how fast I can go. It's been very enjoyable. Things are moving in a positive direction.
MM: Is there anything else you want to tell us about the last 25 years?
Saleen: It's amazing I'm still married. I couldn't have done it without my family and their support. Over the 25 years, the whole family has been working for the business. We have Clint, our older son; he is the comptroller of the company. Sean is the head of sales. We have Molly, who will be in charge of the retail store, assuming that her NASCAR career doesn't interfere with that. My wife, Liz, is good at telling us all exactly what we're supposed to be doing every day. We have two grandchildren, and they bring a whole new perspective to life.
What I like to remember most are the people we met over the 25 years-some good, some not so much. Everybody always has this, no matter what their occupation. We've had great support from a lot of people, a number who have been with me a long time from the company standpoint, from [engineer] Bill Tally to [designer] Phil Frank, and a number of other people. If you had asked me 25 years ago if we would have the success and this number of people, it would have been beyond what anybody was dreaming.
There are a lot of Saleen owners-and, of course, none of this would have been possible with the owners themselves-who make me exceptionally welcome at car shows and fly the Saleen banner high. I enjoy talking to each and every person. I hope the next 25 years will be just as fruitful.