Thursday, October 7, 2010

Car Style - The Saleen S7 and S7 Twin Turbo

John Marine | 10/07/2010 02:10:00 AM |
The American supercar known as the Saleen S7 is perhaps America's most proper supercar ever. It had all you could ever want in a supercar- big horsepower, a mid-engine design, and plenty of sex appeal. It even comes with vertical doors for you to get in and out of. The horsepower factor was bumped up considerably with the arrival of the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Everything about this car was new for Saleen as it was not built on any existing chassis. The world's greatest supercars are from Europe, but if ever there was an American supercar that could stand among Europe's finest, it was the Saleen S7. It has too many characteristics for it to stand among the best sports cars in the world. Many would would say that America's supercar is and always has been the Corvette. The Saleen S7, however, is a proper supercar. It has even found fame in racing as a formidable challenger in FIA GT as well as running in Grand-Am, the American Le Mans Series, and even competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the FIA GT ranks, it may be the best American GT car since the Dodge/Chrysler Viper.

This blog entry is my own description of the Saleen S7 and how I think about its style. I initially wanted to change this blog entry to "Saleen S7." But because both cars don't look too much different from each other, I included both in this blog entry. When I asked people to vote on what car to make a Car Style blog entry on, one of the choice was the Saleen S7. The McLaren F1 was chosen thanks to all of you. So now, here's another Car Style post from me. Enjoy!

--- Car Style: The Saleen S7 ---
This is the Saleen S7 (mouse over for credit info):

Saleen S7
^ from: - the Saleen S7. Some people thought this was another Mustang (Saleen is known for their hopped-up Mustangs), but this car was completely new when unveiled starting in 2000.

Saleen is well known for modifying Mustangs, so many people initially thought the Saleen S7 was some kind of super Mustang. This ain't no Mustang, I'll tell you that right now! This is a purely original car from start to finish. You could, however, say that it does have some Mustang influence in its design. There are some cues on the S7 that are a bit reminiscent of the Saleen SR Widebody. The front especially has these cues as you note the headlights and the front bumper designs of the S7. This American supercar is the work of a collaborative effort of Steve Saleen, Hidden Creek Industries, Phil Frank Design, and Ray Mallock Limited (RML). This is a rear mid-engine car with rear-wheel drive (Rear Mid-Engine/RWD). The S7 began life as a 550 hp V8 supercar when it was unveiled in 2000. Starting in 2005, the S7 Twin Turbo came along with an awesome 750 hp twin-turbo V8. This car is still every bit worth its $433K+ USD price tag.


The front of the car has no shortage of character. The front of the car is aggressively beautiful. The headlights are very clean in design along with a swoopy front bonnet. The front bumper design is aggressive while not being overaggressive. There is a real sweet style to this car up front. It may not have Italian style or style from any world-renowned car designer who made it, but it's surely distinctive and unlike anything else on the road. This car is lovely and wide.

From the sides, its fierce, yet beautiful character compliments the front very well. There are three different gill-like openings on the sides and one extra opening. The gill-like openings are on the sides of the front bumper, on the side skirt around the front tires, and on the side ducts. The canopy is very lovely as it compliments the rest of this car's aggressive character. You literally swear this car is flying past you when standing still or going at slow speeds. The side mirrors are styled nicely as well. Up top is the roof scoop to feed air to that V8 engine behind you.

The rear of any car (especially a supercar) should be a lasting impression of a car as it passes you by. Having said this, the rear view is as lovely as almost any proper European supercar. It gives a lasting impression saying, "you think this is a European supercar? I'm very much an American supercar." Not a bad impression to give for a car assembled in Irvine, CA, USA. Maybe the fiercest elements of the rear are the two dual exhaust mufflers. They provide an exotic touch to compliment the sporty and elegant rear. The car has a lip spoiler which (I think) can be deployed at a certain speed. The car's rear valance and rear diffuser also add to the powerful character of the rear.


The interior is very driver-focused while still being very stylish (even for a supercar like this). This two-seat supercar has a very sporty steering wheel. Almost as if you're running the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps for Team Vitaphone in FIA GT (back when Vitaphone Racing was competing with a Saleen S7-R). The instrument panel features a clean set of analog gauges. There is no super-fancy digital equipment, so you could say this is a no-nonsense kind of supercar. The center console has your basic set of gauges and controls. There is a lot of metallic trim outlining the air conditioning vents, the other controls, and for the manual shift knob. The car (or at least the S7 Turbo) even comes with standard features like AM/FM Radio (with CD player), an LSD (limited-slip differential), and a rear electronic parking aid with camera. So this is still a fairly civilized supercar even when you're not trying to pick up women or blast down the desert highway.

This is one of the coolest cars of this decade (2001-2010) and has been ever since. It may have not been a take-no-prisoners supercar, but it certainly isn't a car that's better suited as an also-ran than a supercar that can contend with European supercars. This supercar may lack a V10 or a V12, but still has no problem going very fast with a V8. V8s are an American tradition. If you certainly believe that there's nothing like a V8, this is the supercar for you. You would be pleased whether with the very first S7s or with the S7 Twin Turbo. If I had one, I'd personally get one in a dark red or dark blue color. There is totally nothing like it. Who said that America can't build at least a semi-decent supercar? This car lasted much longer than the Lamborghini V12-powered Vector M12. If you see one in person (as I have before), stand in awe of its awesome appeal.

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