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Memorable Manufacturers: Steve Saleen

Memorable Manufacturers: Steve Saleen

Memorable Manufacturers: Steve Saleen



Stephen Mark Saleen (pronunced Suh-Lean) Born the 2nd of April 1949 in Inglewood, California. worked at his father’s manufacturing business before attending the University of Southern California and graduating with a degree in business. Steve insane motor passion started in 1956, when his father bought a 356 Porsche. Steve started hang out at Porsche Club of America. From the very firsts internal races, Steve shown an unbeliavable talent.

In the late ’70 he started racing in the Formula Atlantic Series, where in 1980 he obtained a third place, just behind Mr. Jacques Villeneuve. In 1982 he moved to SCCA Trans-Am Series, driving a Ford Mustang. From that time, a love between Saleen and Mustangs borned.  In1983 He established Saleen autosports and he begun working on Ford Mustangs, for customers and racing purposes . In 1984 the first Saleen Mustang has been borned, with improved aerodynamic,steering, suspensions and a completely custom dashboard . This car has been tested with the best cars of his era at the 24h of Mosport,Canada, where it reached the third place.    In 1991 Saleen Mustang S351 rebirth, with the amazing power of 495 cv, that made it the most powerful car at that time.  In 1995, Saleen formed a race team with comedian Tim Allen and fellow race driver Bob Bondurant, called Saleen/Allen “RRR” Speedlab (the name “RRR” was a play on Allen’s “arr arr arr” grunt which had become his trademark in both stand-up comedy and on his television show, Home Improvement). The team raced Saleen Mustangs in the SCCA World Challenge, with Saleen and Allen themselves as the drivers.In 1996, Saleen was (along with Carroll Shelby) inducted into the Mustang Hall of Fame, due to the fact he had won the SCCA Championship  3 times. This event put him inside the living legends.

At he same time, S281 is borned.   In 2000 Steve created his first supercar,the Saleen S7, one of the fastest car ever built. The Designer Billy Tally and Phil Frank, helped Saleen to create this Amazing Supercar, tha with his racing version, the S7R, has won many races around the globe.


At the beginning of 2002, on Ford Motor Company request, Saleen joined the Ford GT creation team. His contribute in the design, assembling and developing has been foundamental to create that car. During Ford GT production, Hancock Park Associates bought Saleen Incorporate. The number of employees growth till reach it’s maximum in 2004, reaching 435 people. Company moved froma racing team to a OEM auto producer. They closed a deal with Ford to sell Saleen through official dealers. He created with the contribution of the american racing legend Parnelli Jones, a special mustang to commemorate Parnelli’s winning BOSS 302 . In august 2006 Saleen opened a store in Irvine( “The Saleen Store”), owned by his daughter Molly. In the meantime Steve was unable to stay away from the racing world. He Financed with the company founds the Saleen S7R teams that race in Europe, giving them free spare parts and support. The management board was not happy about this. That was the beginning of the end. At New York International Auto Show of 2007, Chip Foose shows F-150 limited edition with Saleen S331SC improved machinery. Steve wasn’t informed about that. This was the break point between the management and him. F-150 Saleen S331SC the 14th of may of 2007, after 24 years, Steve Saleen,with is first officer, Billy Tally, resigned from the company he had found. In 2008, with the upcoming global economical crysis, and the costant CEO changing, Saleen Inc. begun a fast decline, that will ended the 12th of august 2008 in a public auction, in Sterling Heights, MI. Everything has been sold, from the chairs to the memorabilia. After a while even the Irvine,CA, offices had the same fate. In the meantime, Steve Saleen founded the “SMS Supercars”, that took care of  the creation of Muscle Car and  Supercars. To show how he works He will produce one of the most amazing Mustang ever built, with a special engineered hood with functional butterflies, a special twinscrew supercharger and many other upgrades.

In April 2009, Saleen said tha “SMS Supercars” will voluntarly cover the warranty of all the vehicles sold by “Saleen Inc.”. the 2nd April 2012, after 5 years from his resignation, Steve Saleen declared on twitter that “the Saleen brand has been reunite”. In October 2013, Gary Perman filed suit against Saleen and its principles for Breach of Contract and failure to pay, in the District Court of Clark County, Washington. Steve Saleen, has been the third legend coming on the stage, but with his amazing creation has given a hard time to Shelby & Roush. With his personal style he has been an innovator for the Ford Mustang. Today the Saleen create also Dodge Challenger’s and Chevrolet Camaro’s special  versions. But we know which one has taken a piece of his heart.

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