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SALEEN S7   2000 2004
2000 2004

Saleen managed to build a true supercar based on a mid-engined race-car developed for the 24h of the LeMans race.
American carmakers made sports cars and muscle cars, but not supercars. Vector W8 was an exciting offer, and that one was the closest to the Saleen S7, but there was a seven-year gap between the last W8 and the first S7. The next in line was the 2004 Ford GT. But the S7 was a different kind of animal.

After establishing itself as a car manufacturer and financially backed up by Hidden Creek Industries, Steve Saleen unveiled the S7 at the Monterey Historic Races in 2000. It was a supercar by all means. When he designed the car, he took its inspiration from Ferrari F40 and F50, McLaren F1, and Jaguar XJ220. The result was a mid-engined supercar with a wide grille at the front apron and massive side vents behind the doors, which channeled the air into the engine compartment. Saleen built the car to race it at the LeMans and then adapted it for street use and regulations.

Inside, it was still cramped like a race car, but it featured leather bucket seats with high bolstering and a slim seatback. On the center stack, the car manufacturer installed the climate controls and the audio system. A monitor showed the image for the backup camera.

Under the hood, the car manufacturer took a 351 cu-in small-block Ford engine, increased its bore and stroke, and transformed it into a 427 cu-in (7.0-liter) V-8. That was tuned for street use and comply with the emission tests. Despite its ancient architecture, with two valves per cylinder and push-rod system, it provided 550 hp and a massive 712 (525 lb-ft) of torque.

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