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Old 08-06-2013
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Default Power AutoMedia: Saleen’s All New 700 hp S351 Mustang



First Look: Saleen’s All New 700 hp S351 Mustang

by Don Creason on August 6, 2013
Photos by: Group Editor Mark Gearhart

It has been over a decade since the livery of S351 last graced a new Mustang. The former king of the Mustang hill, long before there was a new GT500 or even a Terminator Cobra, the S351 was the halo car for Mustang owners. Produced in limited numbers and at their pinnacle available with 500 hp, the top of the line Saleen graced many Mustang magazine covers and was highly revered wherever it went, even rumored to be capable of running nearly 200 mph!

Fast forward back to late last year, with founder Stave Saleen once again at the helm of the company that bares his name, the automotive press was suddenly abuzz when Saleen dropped a bombshell that the S351 badge would be returning, and putting the rest of the performance world on notice that it would carry an available 700 hp.

We were recently invited to Saleen’s company headquarters in Corona, California, to check out S351 number 13-001, the first S351 built since 1999. We also had an opportunity to talk with Steve Saleen himself about the return of this fabled Mustang.


Power In The Hands of a Few

The S351 Black is the top of the line Saleen Mustang. Perhaps the biggest question since it was teased to us last fall has been what will power the car? Rumors have long run of everything from a Coyote variant, to something more exotic, similar to what was built for the S7 Hyper-Car nearly a decade ago. We can happily lay all of those rumors to rest, and tell you that the S351 is in fact powered by a supercharged variant of the 5.4 DOHC modular engine, which of course is punched out to 351 cubic inches. Steve Saleen told us in our interview with him, “We’ve always looked at what the new technologies have been and how to achieve a little bit from yesteryear while advancing the breed and utilizing the latest technology.”

Saleen was involved with the Ford GT project during the early 2000’s. Applying what they learned while helping Ford build their own halo-car and helping it achieve the 550 hp figure – combined with the latest technology including Ford’s spray-bore lining on their blocks – the S351’s engine is top of the line. “In the case of the new 351 we’ve used everything at our disposal and in our arsenal, and then a little bit more, to achieve the drivability, and the horsepower,” says Saleen. Other notable features of the engine include a forged rotating assembly and a twin screw supercharger.


Function and Form

Controversial since the first rendering was released were those red butterflies in the hood scoop. There is no doubt that there are two types of cars with this kind of feature, those that can only pretend to have horsepower, and those that mean serious business. “At Saleen one of the things we’ve always done, is that everything has to be functional,” said Saleen. The S351’s butterfly system feeds cold air to the engine, and is controlled via the electronic throttle system opening the butterflies based on throttle angle to allow more fresh air into the engine.

Other exterior styling cues are those featured on Saleen Mustangs for years to improve airflow and vehicle performance. The front fascia is designed to provide high air volume to the radiator. There are also brake intakes and side vents.

The front grille is a unique Saleen blade-style grille. There’s also an integrated front splitter with heat exchanger intake. Quarter window trim cleans up the rear styling. The rear fascia has exhaust cooling vents, and the rear diffuser has Saleen’s signature center-exit exhaust. There is also a a Saleen rear spoiler, further differentiating the car from all others.

Exterior colors run the gambit of what is offered standard from Ford to more exotic offerings like the Orange County Orange that adorns number 13-001 that we photographed here. The interior of course has a host of Saleen touches including special seats, shift knob and steering wheel.

Chassis improvements include new front and rear Saleen specific springs, shocks, and struts. Improved high-durometer sway bar bushings are also standard on the S351 Black. 20×9-inch wheels shod in 275/35 front and 275/45 rear rubber. Six-piston calipers, and 14-inch cross-drilled rotors handle the stopping duties.


We weren’t given an opportunity to drive the S351 at this time, the model we viewed was the first of the breed, and already belonged to a private owner. We’d love to take one to the track, and the drag strip as well as on the road as we’ve done with other specialty Mustangs in the past, only time will tell if we’ll be allowed to do so.

Saleen dropped one more hint to us about the future though. The Mustang will continue to figure into the Saleen lineup for years to come, and Saleen promised that they had big plans for the upcoming S550 platform as well. What those are, Saleen wouldn’t say at this time.

It appears that with it’s founder back at the helm, Saleen will be churning out the kind of exciting Mustangs we’ve experienced from them in the past, and that’s the kind of future we can definitely look forward to.
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Old 08-07-2013
03gtcoupe 03gtcoupe is offline
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Awesome video and I am looking forward to Saleen's interpretation of the 2015 mustang!
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Old 08-07-2013
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Where's the video?
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Old 08-07-2013
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found it .Didnt work on my Ipad
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Old 08-07-2013
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Great video.
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Old 08-07-2013
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No action vids?
I got the pleasure of watching it drive into Knotts but geez no 0 to 60 or slalom vid....
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Old 08-07-2013
haulin S331 haulin S331 is offline
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Great to See in that color.
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Old 08-07-2013
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Still confused about the motor, the video states 5.8 liter but the write up states 5.4. I would much rather they use the 5.8.

pcw
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Old 08-07-2013
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It has been on the dyno and has run well over 700 hp at the crank.

It's a 5.4 with plasma technology that is stroked using forged components for reliability.
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Old 08-07-2013
o6Saleen E o6Saleen E is offline
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700hp at the crank....?

If it's known at the crank it can be known at the tires, so how much at the tires?
Ford, when released the trinity 5.8L said that the car came with 663 Hp at the crank and 11% of power train losses BEFORE they went ahead and sent the units to their customers (that GT500 5.8L comes with 590rwhp out of the factory). Is this car 700hp at the crank, with a 20% or 25% power train losses? Is there any fear to release the info, so people don't start comparing the performance of the new Trinity with the Saleen 351? Plasma technology. Is that the old 2011-2012 5.4L stroked to 5.8L?, if so it is not a Trinity, then correct?

It seems that there's a big mystery. There's a lot of talk about the car, but no detailed info on the engine and its supercharger, only that it is a 351ci engine (stroked 5.4L?). When Shelby or Roush releases a car they provide specs, engine compression, platform details of the engine, supercharger offered, talk in specifics about the rotary assembly, components, etc. If it's a Ford engine, they will say it and will indicate the type of Ford platform it came with, trinity, coyote or whatever, etc. What compression is that Engine? I hear it has a Saleen blower, but it ain't no Saleen blower, but a Kenne Bell blower with a Saleen plate attached to it, well at least that's what that Orange Car has (nothing wrong about Kenne Bell by the way). Or is it being said Saleen S/C, but has a Kenne Bell, but nobody is supposed to know about it until is decided what blower will be in it?

I, will be buying a 5.8L sometime soon, but will certainly be making my decision based on the information that I know and get from the factory and the questions that I have being answered. I think it would be worthwhile sharing those details, it would generate some attention with factual information to people that are willing to spend over $90k-$100k on a car.
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Old 08-08-2013
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Finally a glimpse of the engine. The hood was closed on the 351 at Carlisle.
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Old 08-08-2013
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With an auto this car is going to post some insane 1/4 mile times!!
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Old 08-08-2013
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In all reality, it is probably good Steve switched to a more heavily stroked 5.4L as opposed to the 5.8L. The 5.8L as SVT has implemented in the Shelby will not fit in the upcoming S550 Mustang. Ford Engineers and SVT have confirmed and expressed that publically. A stroked 5.4L or a 5.0L may fit however they would not confirm that.

Guess the tell the car will be smaller and kind of a modern FOXY, is in the details as released. Smaller, lighter, IRS and if it only fits a 5.0L of a 5.4L motor, well I think we can all live with that. Especially if Steve can stuff a 700HP 5.4L block in there in a swap, further stroked of course.

Good to see him back and anxiously awaiting the new car. Steve needs to go back a read the Saleen Book though. 1999 is the last year for the S351, and 1994 was first. He knows that but it came out as "1994 was last year they had a 351, I think". Looked a little nervous or tired. They should bring Molly into these a bit more and lay out an old school versus new school thing. The dynamic is exactly the internal struggle most of the buyers are going through with the newer cars versus the older ones. I believe it touches an ever present nerve we are all experiencing. Not your mamas automatic so to speak!

Last edited by ricksaleen; 08-08-2013 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 08-08-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim D. View Post
It has been on the dyno and has run well over 700 hp at the crank.

It's a 5.4 with plasma technology that is stroked using forged components for reliability.
saaawwweeeeet!!!!
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Old 08-08-2013
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Remember this automatic transmission was specifically ordered for the customer of #01 -- she's got a bum knee and can't drive the standard 6-speed stick.
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Old 08-09-2013
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Which 6 speed are they going with?
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Old 08-09-2013
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Curious about the transmission to. I would hope they go with the Viper Spec gears cause the standard transmission ratios suck...lol If the 5.8L engine don't fit the in the new car, niether will the 5.4 as it is a basically the same engine with some tweaks. Ford stated 5.8L will not carry over... kind of sad.
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