Steve Saleen has always built special Mustangs, and as the Mustang itself got better, the Saleen versions consistently took it to the next level. This particular 1997 Saleen S281 convertible is number 060 built that year, a cool triple black roadster with the upgraded fiberglass tonneau to make it really stand out among the elite. Add in an Allen supercharger and you suddenly have a Mustang that can make Corvettes nervous.
The Saleen body kit on the SN95 Mustangs transformed a smooth but somewhat anonymous design into something that was destined to be on 16-year-old boys' bedroom walls. Based on actual track and wind tunnel testing, the Saleen work gives the Mustang a long, lean look that's perfect for its mission. This convertible wears it every bit as well as the somewhat more hardcore coupe, and thanks to good care over the past 20 years, it still looks great. Yes, it does have a few signs of use and age, but the mileage makes it obvious that this was never a daily driver or a car that went out when the weather wasn't cooperating. There's no major fading or damage, just a small ding by one of the doors, perhaps the only sore spot on the whole car, and that speaks volumes about how it has actually been used. The chin spoiler is in good condition and hasn't been bashed on parking curbs or steep driveways and from the rear (the only view most folks get) it looks racy with a low-profile deck lid spoiler and ground effects that wrap around the exhaust pipes. There's no doubt that this is still a cool-looking car.
The interior is pretty much stock Mustang GT, which means comfortable leather bucket seats, a comprehensive array of white-faced gauges, and a long list of features and options. Saleen was all about performance, so if it didn't make the car faster or the driver more confident, it didn't make it onto the spec sheet. What it does offer is A/C, power windows, locks, and mirrors, a powerful AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo system, and cruise control, so it's easy to enjoy even at moderate speeds. Saleen also added what they called the "light bar" over the rear seat, which is not to be confused with a roll bar, and there's that tonneau cover that transforms the Mustang into a 2-seat roadster. White gauges and drilled pedals are a Saleen trademark and Steve Saleen himself has signed the dash, which is pretty cool. The black convertible top is in good condition, having spent most of its life under that tonneau, and the trunk looks almost new.
Ford's sturdy 4.6 liter V8 was the base engine in the 281 (4.6 liters translates to 281 cubic inches) and while it was a decent performer, the Saleen deserved better. At 13,000 miles, #060 was sent back to Saleen headquarters to be fitted with an Allen supercharger, which was the blower used on later S281s. It's a neat fit in the engine bay, an engine-top installation that force-feeds the sturdy V8 enough air to huff out an estimated 350 horsepower. It remains fairly stock otherwise, preserving the Mustang's easy drivability and fuel economy unless you really stomp on the loud pedal. The 5-speed shifts cleanly thanks to a custom shifter and with 3.55 gears in the 8.8-inch rear end, it's a fantastic highway cruiser with lots of punch waiting in reserve. The suspension is augmented with select Saleen parts, including springs and those gorgeous 18-inch Saleen wheels and 245/40/18 Falken performance radials.
Still fast, still handsome, and now quite affordable, this Saleen Mustang delivers perhaps the best performance-to-price ratio in our showrooms today. Power in the hands of a few, that remains the Saleen way. Call now!