The Saleen 1 was finally unveiled at the LA Auto Show as a compact, elegant mid-engine sports car that looks surprisingly finished coming from such a low-volume manufacturer. Although the car displayed at the auto show is just a prototype, we were surprised at how good it looks in person slathered in a dynamic orange paint. Even its leather-swathed interior didn't have the usual glued-together toy-like appearance expected of cars like this.
Moving away from the high-powered exclusivity of its previous model, the Saleen S7, the Saleen 1 (or S1) will be a lightweight sports car. It will cost only $100,000 USD. With a mid-mounted 2.5-litre turbo four built and tuned in-house, the car will produce 336kW and around 475Nm of torque. This will propel its approximately 1225kg body to 97km/h in about 3.5 seconds. Low weight is also helped by the Saleen’s all-aluminium tub chassis and its 100 per cent carbon fibre body. Saleen founder Steve Saleen claims that its power to weight ratio is one of the best in the world, putting it up there with almost any supercar. Its quick sprint will allow a quarter-mile run in the low 11 second range, and a top speed of around 290km/h.
Wide Continentals will help it stick to the ground and put down power, with Steve Saleen revealing it pulls 1.2Gs on a skid-pad. It should also pull up quickly thanks to what Saleen describes as massive brakes. The Saleen 1 will be built in a new plant in California for the North American market, with deliveries excepted to commence in late northern-summer (Q3) of 2018. Americans can already place a $1000 expression of interest style deposit on a Saleen 1, while the rest of the world will have to wait a little while for a chance to see what the S1 has to offer.