After financial turmoil put Saleen Automotive on hard times for quite a while, Steve Saleen (founder) and a newly announced Chinese partner, Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technologies Group, have shined a beam of light on one of America’s well-known boutique car manufacturers.
One curious debut tucked away last week from the main display halls at the Los Angeles Auto Show highlighted Saleen’s revival car, the S1. Upon further inspection of the orange-flake wedge of muscle, it becomes clear that the partnership’s pockets aren’t as deep as enthusiasts may like.
The Saleen S1 draws parallels to a previously failed attempt at a sports car from Germany called the Artega GT. Both partners planned to purchase rights to the GT but later realized fitting a new engine, drivetrain, and suspension would prove too costly. What is left is a vehicle that telegraphs where the Artega stops and the S1 begins (most notably the expensive doors and more expensive glass).
Details of the new build have yet to be divulged, but we can confirm that underneath the S1 is an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder creation from Saleen that promises 450 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or an optional paddle shift automatic. With numbers like those, Saleen has theorized a 3.5 0-60 mph time, a sub-12-second quarter mile, and a top speed of 180 mph. That’s all impressive for a sports car made with a Victor Frankenstein-like genesis.
Where will the American/Chinese/German product of globalization be produced? Manufacturing will initially begin in the States and later move to global production in China with a scheduled launch set for late summer of next year.
What’s the cost? So far, no exact MSRP has been provided, but we can expect to see a six-digit price tag. It remains to be seen if the money spent will be worth it.