In 2001, Steve Saleen embarked on his most ambitious program and debuted the Saleen S7 at the Monterey Historic Races. It was his first separate car that wasn’t derived from a Mustang and was entirely new. With a mid-mounted V8 and stylish carbon fiber body, the S7 was one of the few supercars produced in America, and Saleen claimed it was the only car being sold in America with power 500 bhp.
Up until 2001, Saleen had built a reputation tuning Mustangs info performance muscle cars. He began in 1983 around Troy, Michigan. By the time he relocated to Irvine California, Saleen had upgraded thousands of Mustangs and was synonymous with Mustang performance.
Together Steve Saleen, Billy Tally and Phil Frank came up with the basic premise for the S7 and then outsourced most of the engineering and design to other firms. Ray Mallock Ltd. (RML) did a bulk of the work and the first few prototypes came from their shop in the UK.
An all-new V8 engine was manufactured by Billy Tally which used many dimensions from the Ford 427 crate engine. Compared to the Ford lump, Saleen’s was eight inches shorter. This connected to a 6-speed transaxle and 4-plate clutch.
At the time of launch Saleen claimed it took only 2.8 seconds for the S7 to 60 mph and 8.1 seconds to 100 mph.