10 Things We Love About The Saleen S1

Saleen Automotive Inc., widely known as Saleen, has been in the auto industry since 1983. Founded by Steve Saleen, the American company made its mark by manufacturing high-performance automotive parts and high-performance sports cars. Once revered as one of America’s most renowned Ford Mustang Tuners, Saleen blossomed into a full-fledged automaker when it launched the Legendary S7 supercar.

Related: Here’s What Everyone Forgot About The Saleen S7

Although Saleen currently manufactures the Mustang-based S302, Sportruck XR, Ford F-150-based Saleen Sportruck, and the Saleen Tesla GTX, the Saleen S1 is hands down the most impressive in the lineup. Saleen first unveiled the S1 at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, rocking an all-new design, with everything built from scratch in-house in the US There’s arguably a lot to like about the Saleen S1, but here’s a list of what we love most about the striking sports car.

10 The Saleen S1 Flaunts Stunning Race-Inspired Styling

Inspiration for the S1 project stemmed from Saleen’s prior interest in the German Artega GT sports car, but feasibility challenges prompted a new exotic look from the ground up. Saleen aimed to correspond the S1’s design to modern sports car standards, and it ended up with a stunning sports car that offers a fresh take on the concept.

The S1 is compact and flaunts race-inspired styling thanks to its low-slung stance, short front hood, short overhangs, sloping roof, flowing organic lines, large spoiler, large splitter, rear diffuser, and center-mounted tailpipes. Furthermore, the wide recess running across the center section of the roof accentuates a bubble-top-like design.

9 Saleen Built The S1 Out Of Aluminum And Carbon Fiber

Saleen built the S7 for outright speed, but it took a different approach with the S1, focusing more on agility and weight. The automaker utilized a carbon fiber body laid over an aluminum chassis, a familiar construction for various race cars but seemingly exotic for road cars.

Related: These Are The 10 Coolest Race Cars Ever

The lightweight chassis and bodywork were designed with an aerodynamic function to eventually yield graceful curves and a pretty silhouette. According to Saleen, the S1’s carbon fiber body and aluminum tub combine to give the sports car an impressive curb weight of just 2,685 pounds.

8th The Saleen S1’s Interior Offers Optimal Driver Experience

Saleen extended the simple yet crisp design from the exterior to the interior, delivering a clutter-free layout that optimizes the driver experience. The S1’s instrument cluster features a sporty hood with angular sidelines around a large digital display.

The center stack comprises a narrow control unit with four knobs and a thin, sleek A/C vent. The cabin is elegantly finished in suede, two-tone leather, and Alcantara, complete with a six-speaker sound system and a secondary infotainment system with features like Apple CarPlay and Sirius radio.

7 Saleen Developed The S1’s Engine In-House

The Saleen S1 houses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mounted behind the driver. Contrary to reports suggesting the engine was Ford-sourced, Saleen insists it developed the twin-turbo in-house.

The powertrain cranks out a beastly 450hp at 7000rpm and 350lb-ft of torque, although the S1 gives a realistic 3200rpm to work with between gears. With these impressive numbers, it’s understandable why Saleen opted to have more control over its engineering.

6 The Mid-Engine Configuration Gives The S1 Supercar DNA

The mid-engine configuration results in weight distribution biased toward the back, with 58 percent carried by the rear axle. As a result, the S1’s rear-wheel drive offers more traction.

Related: These Mid-Engined Cars Make Surprisingly Good Daily Drivers

The S1 needs 3.5 seconds to clear 60mph and 11.3 for the quarter-mile, while the top speed is rated at 180mph. Even more interesting, with the 20-inch Continental tires and independent front and rear wishbone suspension, the S1 can pull a remarkable 1.2gs of lateral acceleration.

5 The Saleen S1 Boasts Standard Manual Transmission

The most surprising thing about the Saleen S1 has to be the Hollinger six-speed sequential transmission. When the turbo is spooled up, purists get blown away by the beautiful wave of continuous torque from second through fourth gears.

However, Saleen was not naive towards emerging trends. A paddle-shift automatic transmission is still an option, considering the market has turned almost entirely to automatics.

4 Saleen Used S1s For Arrive-And-Drive Racing Series

Saleen planned to get to an eventual S1 street car by echoing the exact formula used to arrive at the S7 road car: using racing as development. In 2019, Saleen organized an arrive-and-drive racing series, the Saleen Cup, that included 20 identical cars and seven race weekends within a season.

Depending on when the prospective racing drivers entered the series, fees averaged about $30,000 to $40,000 per weekend of racing. The exciting package included food, accommodation, and hospitality besides racing on the legendary Road America, Watkins Glen, Daytona, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway tracks.

3 The S1 Spawned S1 Cup And GT4 Race Cars

Saleen demonstrated the S1’s capabilities through the Saleen Cup, a competition launched in partnership with SRTO Motorsports Group. The modified S1s, dubbed Saleen Cup Cars, feature FIA ​​standard safety equipment, race-spec aerodynamics, and slick Continental racing tires.

Related: You Can Modify These Cheap American Cars Into Deadly Track Weapons

Saleen planned to modify the S1 further to meet GT4 homologation requirements for the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the 2020 Saleen Cup was canceled a week before the scheduled opening event to allow Saleen to reallocate resources and focus on developing the S1 GT4 race car.

2 The S1 Benefits From Saleen’s Racing Heritage

With a rich racing heritage spanning over 20 years, Saleen has fielded race cars in approximately 98 tracks, recording 127 pole positions and an impressive 249 podiums. Through this vast experience, Saleen undoubtedly knows what it takes to make a remarkable sports car.

The automaker stayed true to its racing DNA by launching the one-spec S1 Cup racing series in 2019. The automaker continuously improved the road-going S1 to deliver race-proven performance for the street through the customer track-tested lessons.

1 The Saleen S1 Is A Reasonably-Priced Supercar

The Saleen S1 notably foregoes a mainstream badge on its nose, but that did not deter the automaker from slapping a $100,000 price tag before options. Nonetheless, considering its supercar status with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty, that’s a reasonable demand.

According to Steve Saleen, the reason for the affordable supercar price was to allow for more outstanding sales and production volumes. At the time, Saleen ambitiously expected to build 1,500 S1s per year for the US market.

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