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2005 Chicago Auto Show: Saleen Unveils the 2005 S281 Extreme

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By: Brad Nevin | Ford Communications Network

Specialty vehicle manufacturer Saleen unveiled the awesome S281 Extreme, which is based on the 2005 Mustang, at the Chicago Auto Show. For more information on Saleen vehicles, visit
CHICAGO, Feb 11, 2005 -- At the Chicago Auto Show yesterday, specialty vehicle manufacturer Saleen unveiled the awesome S281 Extreme, or E for short.

The E represents the pinnacle of the S281 lineup, which also includes the 325 horsepower S281 3Valve and the 400 horswpower S281 Supercharged (SC) muscle cars. With 500 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, Saleen says that the E promises to show its twin center exhaust pipes to plenty of sports cars boasting much higher price tags.

Saleen estimates that the E will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and run the quarter-mile in about 12.1 seconds at 117 mph. The S281 E is scheduled to be available in July, 2005.

Like the S281 3-Valve and SC models, the Extreme started life from the 2005 Mustang's architecture. But unlike the 3-Valve and SC models, the cutting-edge E explores performance territory rarely explored by production Ford Mustang models.

At the heart of the S281 E is a unique Saleen-manufactured, high-revving, 4.6-liter V8 engine producing 500 horsepower. The 281 cubic-inch V8 uses a special forged steel crankshaft, forged steel connecting rods, Saleen-patented forged aluminum pistons and unique aluminum cylinder heads featuring special valve springs.

The Saleen S281 E has a supercharged 4.6 liter V8 engine that produces 500 horsepower.
Key to its ability to produce so much power, the E has a Series VI integrated TwinScrew supercharger with two-stage water-to-air intercooling. Saleen designed the supercharger and has several patents pending on the design. Essentially, the supercharger integrates the previously separate intake manifold, blower housing/assembly and intercooler into one compact unit that nestles neatly into the valley between the heads. This allows for a much wider intake manifold.

All bends in the supercharger's "plumbing" are opened up to provide smooth airflow, and the supercharger features long, beefy downdraft runners with minimal bends for maximizing torque and horsepower. On the previous design, the air had to make two 180-degree bends. The new design provides a straight, direct shot into the cylinders and about a 50 percent increase in flow compared to Saleen's previous supercharger.

Another performance booster, a PowerFlash performance computer -- essentially a sophisticated engine management control system -- determines the precise fuel, air and spark requirement for every running condition.

The final ingredient in the E's power equation is the exhaust system, an innovative "variable design" featuring twin mufflers with vacuum-actuated valves that open above a specified back pressure. When these valves open, a portion of the exhaust gases is routed through a second set of tail pipes pointed at the ground. This design offers numerous advantages: It allows the engine to be calibrated to produce higher torque. It provides a free-flowing exhaust system while still providing the capability for passing mandated pass-by noise regulations in the U.S., Canada and U.K. And, most importantly, it makes for some highly desirable exhaust sounds at wide-open throttle.

For stopping power, the E is fitted with 14-inch front brake rotors, the same size brakes used on the Ford GT. A four-channel anti-lock braking system and all-speed traction control provide additional assistance during emergency maneuvers.

The E features a complete Saleen Racecraft suspension system including racing-inspired springs, shocks and anti-roll bars. In addition, the E receives boxed rear lower control arms and a Panhard rod specific to this model. The Panhard rod provides precise lateral control of the E's live rear axle, helping keep the tires flat on the road for greater cornering power and more precise handling.

The E features 20-inch alloy wheels, and the tires are ultra-high-performance Pirelli P-Zero Rossos, 275/35ZR20s up front with 275/40ZR20s fitted in back.

Visually, the E is distinguished from the other two S281 models by a unique aero package that includes a distinctive front splitter, a rear diffuser and different rear quarter window treatment. The interior has unique Saleen gauges with black backgrounds, white numbers and easy-to-read silver needles with black inserts, satin aluminum trim, painted accents, Saleen door sill plates and S281 floor mats.

Each car also comes with an individualized Saleen VIN number stamped in the chassis, on a dash plaque and on the front bumper. S281 SC and S281 E models also feature a Saleen twin gauge pod with readouts for boost and air temperature.

Since the company's inception in 1984, Saleen has produced nearly 10,000 complete and EPA certified vehicles, more than any other specialty manufacturer. In addition, Saleen has equipped more than 500,000 (mostly Ford) vehicles worldwide with Saleen products to improve a vehicle's ability to stop, go and turn.

Saleen's facilities include research, design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities, as well as a coating/paint division. Saleen has manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Canada.

Besides the S281 E, the company's products include the Saleen S281 3-Valve and S281 Supercharged muscle cars, the S7 Twin Turbo supercar, the Saleen N2O Focus and S121 Focus, plus Saleen Competition, Saleen Composites, Saleen Performance Parts and Saleen Engineering and Certification Service.