What is it? A mid-engine sports car from Steve Saleen. Powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre, Saleen-designed four-cylinder that pumps out 450 horsepower, the sleekly styled two-seater has an aluminium tub and a carbon fibre body. Claimed performance is a zero-to-96 km/h (60 mph) time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of approximately 290 km/h.
Why does it matter? While there’s no shortage of two-seat, mid-engine sports cars from any number of manufacturers both big and small, the Saleen S1 is not stupidly priced; just US$100,000. The more interesting aspect is that, while all S1s will be built in North America for now, future plans call for production to be moved to China. Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technologies Group (JSAT) is a new, separately owned automotive company and is building, says CEO Steve Saleen, a billion-dollar manufacturing facility to produce Saleen vehicles in China for worldwide distribution.
When is it coming? Saleen Automotive says it is commencing manufacturing of the S1 “immediately.” The first models are expected to roll off the line in late summer 2018.
Should you buy it? Yes, if you’re an extrovert who likes speeding tickets. Steve Saleen is not an unknown quantity; a noted race driver, he has almost 35 years experience as a designer and manufacturer, producing six generations of Saleen Mustangs, plus trucks and the near-legendary Saleen S7 supercar. Also, it’s not like you’re going to find an S1 on every block.