After leaving the performance car company he founded in 1984, Steve Saleen is back at the helm of Saleen, the company that bears his name.
Saleen became known in the 80s, 90s, and early part of this century for building some of the baddest Mustangs on the road and track. Saleen says that while he was back at the helm of the Company for a few years, he was waiting for the S550 Mustang to debut so that his company could do something big.
On 20 March 2015, during a special press event, Steve Saleen pulled the wraps off the all new Saleen ” Black Label“, a car about which there have been rumours for almost a year.
This is more than just a re-badged and prettied up Mustang, the “Black Label” represents the culmination of Saleen’s 30-plus years of Mustang building and racing experience.
“Since the company started building cars in 1984, our goal has always been to be at the pinnacle of late-model Mustang performance,” said Steve Saleen. “This will by far be the most refined and advanced Mustang we have built to date.”
The hood has been lowered nearly three inches “Its clearance to the supercharger is in millimetres, this really helped reduce the drag on the car”. The hood, which features a functional scoop for air intake, will be available in composite and stamped aluminium.
The 5.0-litre Coyote engine, with a Kenne-Bell twin-screw supercharger, results in the highest power output to date for a production S550, with 730 horsepower (544kW) and 600 lb-ft of torque (approx. 814Nm) on US 91-octane petrol (Australian 95 Octane). This now tops the 707 hp (527kW) Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
The Black Label S550 clearly out-handles any previous generation Saleen Mustang with its I.R.S. as a foundation. Fitted with Saleen S4 springs, shocks, sway-bars, and bushings, the car is going to be a real thrill for both street and open-track driving. Adding to the fun will be big 15-inch dimpled rotors and multi-piston brakes to further expand the performance envelope.
The Black Label uses 275/35R20 Pirelli tyres in the front and 275/40R20s in the rear to keep it firmly planted to the road. The Saleen 20-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels are available in several finishes.
Considerable time was also spent optimising lift over drag (L/D) by lengthening the front a full 1½ inches along with two inches in the rear to increase the air-foil, which thereby increases downforce for the whole car. A rear wing balances the downforce created by the front air splitter.
The interior is a mix of luxury and styling with black leather and suede seats accented in contrasting chevrons. A high contrast gauge cluster provides key vitals to the driver at a glance. Harking back to Saleen’s racing heritage is a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio and a centre stack display between the gauges. Unique badging finishes off the interior that includes a dash plaque signifying year of manufacture and serial number of each vehicle.
A full set of Saleen 302 badging and graphics will also be included to complement any one of the standard or custom Saleen paint schemes available on all Saleen vehicles. To match the beauty and refinement of such a remarkable car, Saleen has developed a new paint coating with BASF to launch with this vehicle. California Sunset is a cross between a golden yellow and the hues of a setting sun to create a truly unique colour that changes with the light. .
As with the rest of the Saleen lineup, the 2015 S302 Black Label will receive a Saleen serialization and unique Saleen VIN.
Each car is also hand signed by Steve Saleen, ensuring that it has gone through Saleen’s rigorous post-production quality control process.
It will surely be the greatest Ford-based Saleen product as well as one of the best high-performance Mustangs of all time.
Until next time.
p.s. since the introduction of the 2015 Saleen “Black Label” Mustang, other tuners and designers have developed their own versions of performance Mustangs. As an example Chip Foose and “Modern Muscle design” have developed a “one-off” 810 horsepower “blunderbuss”
However, Saleen remains the only manufacturer of “production” modified 2015 Mustangs.
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