Most people are familiar with Saleen Automotive for building high-performance cars on existing chassis from other manufacturers. The company mainly focuses on Ford Mustangs, but it currently also offers cars based on the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and even the Tesla Model S. Saleen has only ever manufactured one car all by itself, and that car was the Saleen S7.
The S7 was designed to be a flagship supercar for Saleen. It was built on its own chassis and based on racing technology for the best possible performance. It had a space-frame design, and when it debuted in 2000, came with a 550-hp naturally aspirated Ford V8. It was, of course, taken racing, competing in the American Le Mans Series, 12 Hours of Sebring, and FIA GT Championship. It even took a podium finish in its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Saleen claimed the original S7 road car could reach 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and estimated its top speed to be 220 miles per hour, though no top speed testing was ever done. If true, this would have made a car that was built in the year 2000 faster than both the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari hypercars.
Absurd as these numbers were, Steve Saleen, the company’s founder, refused to stop there. In 2005, the company debuted an updated version of the S7. This time, it came with two Garrett turbochargers bolted to the engine. The car came with a revised look, better aero, and put out an obscene 750 horsepower.
The new performance numbers were nothing short of ridiculous. The S7 could hit 60 mph in 2.8 seconds—unbelievable for a road-going car in 2005. In addition, Saleen claimed that the S7 Twin-Turbo could even hit a top speed of 248 mph, but there has never been any proof to back it up. At the time, that would’ve made it the second fastest road car ever produced, behind the then-new Bugatti Veyron 16.4.
The closest someone’s come to hitting the car’s top speed is Youtuber Rob Ferretti, who took a Saleen S7 up to 240 miles per hour. He stopped not because the car gave up, but because there wasn’t enough road left to keep going. In the video’s description, Ferretti claims the S7 he’s driving is a non– turbo car. If this is true, and if a naturally aspirated S7 can keep pulling at 240 mph, then there’s no telling what a version with 200 more horsepower could achieve.
Since the S7 is so rare (there were only 13 produced for the 2006 model year), most owners are collectors that garage their cars. This one is getting ready to change hands at RM Sotheby’s Motor City Auction this month, and we hope the next owner is brave enough to see just how accurate Saleen’s estimates are. At an expected sales price between $650,000 to $725,000, the S7 Twin-Turbo is certainly on the cheaper end of cars that go 240-plus mph, and there’s a good chance it can go a lot faster than that.
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