Edmunds Inside Line said:TROY, Michigan — Saleen, maker of countless Mustang-based hot rods and the S7 racecar, will unveil a midengine sports car concept at the 2008 New York Auto Show in March.
Unlike the roughly $700,000 S7, which was a purpose-built racecar that was occasionally licensed for the street, the S5S Raptor is a vision for the "premium performance market with segment-leading horsepower." In other words, this will be a sports car designed primarily for the street instead of the track. Saleen says power will come from a supercharged 5.0-liter engine that runs on E85 ethanol. We expect that the Raptor's motor will be based on the supercharged 5.0-liter Ford-based V8 that already powers the company's S302E Mustang-based car. In the S302E, the engine is rated at 620 horsepower. That should give it the necessary oomph to make it to the 200 mph top speed Saleen is estimating.
The body, which looks in the sketch provided here like a very muscular Lotus Exige, would be fitted to an aluminum space frame. Chief Technical Officer Chris Theodore has been earlier quoted as saying the company could be interested in producing a car in the $150,000 range, so we would expect that the Raptor, if it makes it to production, will be somewhere in that range. Incidentally, Theodore has some experience with $150,000 Ford-powered, midengine sports cars. He was a driving force behind the creation of the Ford GT while he was a vice president with the Dearborn, Michigan carmaker.
Will Saleen build it? The company claims that it will be gauging reaction to the concept from its dealers, the media and attendees at the New York auto show. Theodore says that the Raptor could make it to market within two to three years from the time it gets the green light.
What this means to you: The S7 never made much sense to us because we don't own a Le Mans race team, but an all-American Ferrari fighter? That's intriguing
My thoughts: I don't really see the Exige resemblance. I think if any company has the reputation to build a domestic car that can challenge Ferrari, it's Saleen.
I think the S7's obvious downfall is its price. Who has $600,000?