In the days before you could just stroll into your neighborhood Ford dealership and buy a 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang, you had to rely on tuner companies like Saleen to get the most performance from Mustangs. Saleen has been cranking out some high-powered ponies since the '80s, but the company really hit its stride with the fourth-gen Ford Mustang, and this beautiful, low-mileage 2001 Saleen Mustang S-281SC is a perfect example.
Saleen only built 466 S-281SC Mustangs built in 2001 (243 coupes and 223 convertibles), and this one – no. 317 – might be one of the cleanest that you'll find. While some of these cars were raced, modified and/or abused, this 2001 Saleen Mustang S-281SC has been well preserved with less than 14,000 original miles on the odometer. Looking at the overall condition of this car, it's amazing it has that many miles... this car is immaculate!
The New Edge body style gave the 1999-2004 Mustangs plenty of attitude, but Saleen added to that with the S-281. All of these models received a design that was distinctive from the standard Mustang without being too extreme. These cars all got sportier front and rear bumpers, a larger rear wing, louvered side scoops, subtle C-pillar trim and upgraded five-spoke wheels with high-performance tires. Inside, Saleen Mustangs have unique leather shift knob, 200-mph speedometer and a gauge pod on top of the dash with boost pressure and intercooler water temp gauges. All cars get serialized plaques on the dash and under the hood as well as a serialized bumper number.
What really made the Saleen Mustangs special, though, is the performance and handling improvements made to the car. For better handling, the S-281 gets a "racecraft" suspension with Saleen-tuned variable-rate springs, struts, rear shocks and front sway bar, but the ultimate version is S-218SC. The "SC" of course stands for the Roots-style, intercooled supercharger, which along with a special engine computer tune bumps the car's output to 350 horsepower – a base Mustang GT had 285 horsepower, while the factory Cobra bumped power output to 320 horsepower.
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