Mustang S281 Extreme
7,940 Actual Mile S281E Extreme 550 HP 6 Speed
The Mustang has always represented almost all things to all people. From basic grocery-getter 6-cylinder coupes in the early days, to fire-breathing Shelbys with more than 500 horsepower today, enthusiasts have always been able to build pretty much exactly the Mustang they always wanted. The most special Mustangs, however, are typically those prepared by someone outside the factory, and the biggest name in hot-rod Mustangs in the past 20 years is Saleen. Saleen is quick to point out that they are a manufacturer, not merely a tuner, and as a result, their cars have a polish that many tuner cars, which are little more than a collection of aftermarket bolt-ons, seem to lack. As a result, they enjoy a special place at the top of the Mustang hierarchy, and hold their values better than any other Mustangs on the market.
Saleen S281 Extreme #62 shown here represents the top-of-the-line for Saleens in 2006, with every trick they know built into its sleek, black body. Both the front and rear are totally redesigned, so the roof, doors, fenders, and cowl are the only stock Ford bodywork. It still looks like a Mustang, which is a good thing, but the aggressive front air dam (we have a fresh carbon fiber splitter on order and it will be installed before the new owner takes delivery), side aprons, and rear valence with center-exit exhaust transform the Mustang into something new and fresh. Nods to the past include a vented hood and windows in the quarter panels like the earliest Shelby Mustangs. Saleen has always been fond of large rear spoilers, which are as functional as they are attractive, and the one on the tail of this car seems to lengthen the chunky Mustang body. Fit and finish is exceptional, thanks to the largely hand-built nature of the Saleens, and the paint is simply amazing—it's easily the best paint I've seen on a production Mustang in years. Despite almost 8000 miles on the clock, this one looks almost brand new.
And there's power—lots and lots of power. Rated at 550 horsepower, the supercharged 4.6-liter V8 under the hood is augmented with a Saleen-designed supercharger. It delivers boost immediately across the powerband. Like all modern Ford engines, the Saleen supercharged 4.6L ramps up power in a smooth rush. When you let it wind out, you'll appreciate Saleen's "Power in the hands of few" motto with some personal conviction. It means triple digits and nowhere near slowing down. It's beautifully packaged, too, sitting deep in the V between the 4.6's massive cylinder heads and exhaling upwards through an air-to-liquid intercooler before being force-fed into the intake manifold. Like all such superchargers, the Saleen blower makes an extremely soft coffee-grinder gear noise all the time. This is a subdued sound and will not bother anyone unless they believe that old saw about roots and Lysholm superchargers being silent: almost, but not quite. When making boost, the noise out the intake is a siren-like scream, but you won't hear this because it's muffled by the Saleen intake casting and stock air filter. The engine bay is exceptionally clean, with nothing out of place, and honestly, no dirt or other signs of wear. Did they even look this good on the showroom floor? Amazing.
The Saleen uses a rugged Tremec 6-speed manual transmission driving a 4.10-geared rear end, which makes for some spectacular wheelspin in first and second gear, and astounding acceleration when you get the launch just right. Years ago, Saleens were criticized for their harsh ride, but those days are long gone. Taking advantage of the new Mustang's more rigid chassis, Saleen engineers have carefully chosen springs, shocks, and sway bars that improve responsiveness without sacrificing ride quality. In fact, this may be the greatest improvement granted by the new Mustang platform: the ability to corner and handle like a thoroughbred without the hammering of previous performance suspensions. Saleen forged-aluminum wheels measure 20x9 up front and 20x10 in back wearing 275/35/20 and 275/40/20 Pirelli P-Zero tires, respectively.
Inside, Saleen makes the Ford interior its own with leather upholstery and plenty of Saleen signage, from the seatbacks to a subtle black badge on the dash. A six-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support is on hand, and Saleen is sure to employ the MyColor feature allowing custom instrument colors on the main cluster, which has Saleen calibrations and faces, as well as a 200-mph speedometer. Props to Saleen for bucking the now-tiresome white-faced instrument trend, instead using handsome black backgrounds. Other Saleen interior bits are floor mats, a steering-wheel badge, some rather businesslike pedal pads, a clean sill plate, and an aluminum shift knob atop their own short-throw shifter. Of course all the usual power windows, locks, and other GT items are on hand. A set of boost and fuel pressure gauges live atop the dashboard, keeping an eye on the supercharger's activities.
Documentation includes the original window sticker (showing that this Saleen cost a whopping $71,874 when it was new!), owner's manuals, and the requisite Saleen supplements.
Beautifully preserved and maintained, with mind-boggling performance, the Saleen really is the no-compromises Mustang. Take advantage of this opportunity to acquire what may very well be the best Saleen ever built. Call today!
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