Friday, September 26, 2014

2015 Mustang-based Saleen S302 to boast as much as 640 hp

The Ford Mustang is obviously a famous performance vehicle in its own right, but it often works even better as a platform for the aftermarket to upgrade. With the all-new 2015 model just now hitting the scene, the famous tuners at Saleen are getting their improvements for the new pony car ready for the world.After recently teasing it, the specs for its fresh S302 model are officially here, along with a first look at it in profile.

Of course, the biggest question on everyone's mind is how much power the company can get from the Mustang's V8. With the 2015 V8 model rated at 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet, Saleen expects to bump the Ford factory numbers slightly to 450 hp and 410 lb-ft in naturally aspirated form, or with the benefit of a supercharger, it will rocket the engine's output figures to 640 hp and 565 lb-ft. No matter which powerplant a buyer chooses, there are a wide variety of available final-drive ratios with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

Available as either a coupe or convertible forms, Saleen will offer its S302 in three trim levels – White Label, Yellow Label and Black Label. The White Label is the only naturally aspirated one of the bunch, but it still benefits from upgrades like a new exhaust, limited-slip differential, improved suspension, heat extractor hood and rear wing.

The real action is in the supercharged Yellow and Black Labels. The Yellow version basically follows the same path as the White trim, except with extra power. However, the Black gets the full suite of mods, including a center induction hood, side skirts, a new rear fascia integrated with the exhaust, further suspension upgrades, illuminated sill places, leather and Alcantara seats, plus a whole range of optional colors.

The company is currently taking reservations for the S302 for $2,015 (we see what you did there, Saleen).


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ford to rebrand SVT as 999?

Ford operates a number of performance divisions around the world. There's SVT in the US, Team RS in Europe and Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) in Australia. But the Blue Oval has been steadily integrating its performance operations into one unit, and here we might have our first indication of what it will be called.

A reader at Jalopnik sent in a survey in which respondents were asked to gauge the name for a new performance brand from a "major automotive manufacturer," and while the identity of that automaker was not disclosed, according to the survey, the automaker is considering the name 999 for its new go-fast unit.

As our compatriots point out, the 999 was Ford's first racecar, a rudimentary chassis with a 19-liter inline-four campaigned by Henry Ford around the turn of the 20th century. (Ford also used the number to designate aFusion fuel-cell racer a few years back.) That could prove the tie-in Dearborn is looking for in rebranding its performance operations worldwide, replacing the letters SVT, RS and FPV globally under one name.

Of course that doesn't mean that models like the upcoming Shelby GT350, F-150 Raptor, Focus ST or FPV Falcon will necessarily be rebadged 999 as part of their nameplate, but if the customer clinics prove positive, the number 999 could come to stand for Blue Oval performance wherever Fords are sold.