Saleen Automotive was established in 1983, since then, the company has been tuning Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers. At one time Saleen produced a Supercar which was known as the Saleen S7. I don’t know why Saleen stopped the Supercar project because the S7 was quite successful; the model even won some championships. According to rumors, the automaker has been experiencing financial difficulties in recent years. However, the automaker has now partnered with a Chinese company which has injected the needed cash. Fruits of this partnership can already be seen as the joint venture company named Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co. has already released a sports car christened 2018 Saleen S1.
The new sports car was unveiled in the beginning of this month in China; U.S. enthusiasts will get an opportunity to check out the model at the upcoming LA Auto Show. The S1 is based on the Artega G, a sports car that was last produced in 2012. Saleen bought rights of the GT platform when the German-based Artega went bankrupt.
The joint venture has given Saleen the financial capability it has lacked in the recent past. This will enable the automaker to seriously compete in the mainstream automotive market, rather than only tuning sports cars. The joint venture company is building a factory in Rugao, Jiangsu, China. The factory, once completed will have a capacity of producing 150,000 cars annually. In addition to sports cars, the factory will also produce sedans and crossovers. The company’s CEO has revealed that the company aims to follow the same strategy as Porsche i.e. to produce premium sports cars and other high-volume luxury automobiles.
Information about the Saleen S1 styling is scanty as of now but we will learn more about the model when it is revealed next week at the LA Auto Show.
What powers the 2018 Saleen S1?
Like the first-ever Saleen S7, the S1 borrows its engine from Ford; the unit given this duty is the 2.3 L, the EcoBoost mill that powers the Focus RS and the Mustang EcoBoost models. In the Saleen, the engine has been tweaked to produce 450 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. This power will enable the sports car to attain a top speed of close to 200 mph but the automaker has electronically limited its top speed at 180 mph. Reports from the automaker indicate that an electric version of the S1 will be introduced next year. Saleen is yet to disclose transmission, chassis or performance details of the model; we expect these details to be released when the model makes its debut at the LA Auto Show.
How much will the 2018 Saleen S1 cost?
Although the Saleen S1 prototype was actually designed and built in Saleen headquarters in Corona, other models will be built in China. The Saleen will, however, be available in the U.S. market. The automaker has not put a price tag on the model yet but has indicated that the sports car will be distributed in a unique way other than through the traditional dealership model or the direct sales model such as that used by Tesla. I am hoping the automaker will shed more light on this new model when the 2018 Saleen S1 hits the LA Auto Show.