For a brief period in the early 2000s, the Saleen S7 was the supercar to have.
Steve Saleen’s first-ever supercar had a ton of road presence, was capable of traveling at speeds of up to 220 mph and even took multiple wins in the Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series. The California-based company has stayed relatively quiet since the S7 went out of production in 2009, grappling with financial problems as it continues to offer tuned up versions of American pony cars — namely Mustangs. That has all changed, however, with the recent debut of the new S1 supercar in China.
The Saleen S1 will be built by Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co., the result of a joint venture between Saleen and its local manufacturing partner in China. It’s powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, which is said to be producing around 450 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. The top speed should be around 180 mph, or 290 km/h. Details on the chassis and transmission are not yet available, but it appears to be based on the rather obscure Artega GT. An electric S1 will eventually arrive as well, but it’s not expected to debut until sometime next year.
Production of the S1 is set to take place in China at Jiangsu’s Rugao assembly plant. The company has invested about $2.68-billion in the site in order to produce the car. The facility should be capable of making up to 150,000 cars a year when construction is complete in 2018, but with plans to expand its lineup beyond the S1, not all of those will be supercars. Saleen Jiangsu’s CEO, Charles Wang, told China Daily the company is aiming to “produce all sorts of passenger cars including sedans, SUVs and crossovers.”
The S1 will also be available in the United States, with an official North American debut set for later this month at the L.A. Auto Show. The company is planning to sell the car through a brand-new sales model that is “neither through traditional 4S dealerships nor like Tesla’s direct sales,” Wang told China Daily, electing not to elaborate.
We should have more information on this Chinese-bred American supercar following its debut this month, so stay tuned for additional details.
[Photo via: AutoHome.com.cn]
[Source: China Daily]