THE SALEEN S7 IS MAKING A COMEBACK
Saleen, if you've ever heard of them and you'd be forgiven if you haven't, is a very strange car company with a strange linage. Back in the early 2000's they introduced the world to the S7, a very good looking and wildly powerful supercar, and that car from "Bruce Almighty". When it first came out, the S7 could reach 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and push all the way to an estimated 220 mph. Saleen produced this, a twin-turbo version and a racing version before completely falling off the face of the Earth. A few tuned Mustangs later and now Saleen is supposedly on the rise in China.
The press conference in Beijing was, interesting. Amidst the jazz dancers, orchestra and Jason Statham - yes apparently Saleen has acquired Mr. Statham as some sort of brand ambassador - Saleen announced a revised version of the S7 more details about their entry level S1 sports car and an SUV called the MAC. There's a lot to unpack here, so make yourself comfortable.
So, in 2017 Saleen started reviving funding from a Chinese backer Jiangsu Secco. Information on Jiangsu Secco is hard to find in itself, but apparently the two companies have joined together to form Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology, Co., or JSAT. While it may seem that Saleen has found itself a joint partner for financial stability, the situation is a little more dire for the company. Saleen stated that JSAT is responsible for a significant portion of its revenue.
The MAC SUV is said to have 400 horsepower, 332 lb-ft of torque and should enter production in 2020. The S1, which we've been introduced to before, makes 450 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5 liter inline-four is paired to a 6-speed manual transmission and will have a paddle shift auto available later in production. Not much is know about the MaiMai as of yet.
But the most interesting part of the conference was the reveal of the revised S7, and what Saleen had in-store for their flagship supercar. When it was introduced in the early 2000's it was pretty quick. Now, in 2019, the S7 has been taken to comically high performance heights. The V8 has been retuned to produce 1,500 horsepower. The engine in question is a revised version of the 7 liter Ford Windsor V8, the same engine used in the first S7s. Saleen has claimed that the S7 can rocket to 62 mph in 2.2 seconds and will keep going to 298 mph. Other than that, the S7 is unchanged from its original design.
Okay so after all of that, what's the take away? We have an American car company that built an early 2000's supercar, barely survived through tuning Mustangs and is now seemingly building itself off of a market share in the Chinese car market. The new S1, SUV and electric cars are all well good and fine, I truly hope they are able to keep the company floating.
My main interest is in the S7. Oddly enough, the S7 was one of the first supercars I was ever made aware of. It marks my first enlightenment into the car world. It was fast, low and had Lamborghini doors. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Saleen come into their own again. Just maybe let Jason Statham stay home for the next press conference.