- Originally manufactured in 2007; recommissioned to LM specifications by Saleen in 2018
- One of just three S7 LM examples produced from 2017 to 2019
- Presently showing fewer than 170 miles
- Powered by a 7.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine factory rated at 1,000 hp
In the story book of post-war American sportscars, the pages are filled with many individuals who built models that could compete with the best examples constructed by Europe’s storied marques. Briggs Cunningham, Caroll Shelby, and, perhaps more recently, Dan Panoz come to mind. Steve Saleen has definitely earned a few paragraphs in that book as well. Like others before him, he first established his brand as a racer and tuner of Mustangs for both the street and track. Building ever more successful race cars that were winning at the world’s legendary tracks, by 1999 Steve had ventured into the construction of his eponymous automobile, the Saleen S7.
Produced between 2000 and 2007, the S7 is underpinned by a bespoke carbon fiber chassis, race-derived suspension, and mid-engined layout which positioned it as an attractive platform for motorsports competition and consumer sales in approximately equal measure. Power is provided by a 427-cubic inch, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine offering up performance figures that rival the most prodigious European offerings. With a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and boasting a top speed of more than 200 mph, it quickly established itself as America’s newest supercar. In its various homologated racing versions, the S7 proved to be quite effective on the racetrack, with victories at premier endurance events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well an IMSA sports car championships. In total, the S7 scored over 100 victories, and many more podiums, in official motorsports events between 2000 and 2010.
Unveiled in early 2017, Saleen’s S7 LM project was announced as a celebration of the S7’s many years of racing dominance. The LM was limited to just seven allocations for production between 2017 and 2019, and S7 owners were hand-selected by Saleen to recommission their cars to LM-specifications. However, in the end just three examples were completed. The car offered here, LM-007, is a late-production S7 example originally completed in 2007, and successfully converted to its present configuration in 2018.
Although the LM’s underpinnings are a car already at the sharp edge of supercar performance, Saleen increased the output of its 7.0-liter V8 engine by adding a pair of redesigned turbos which are fed cold air from the roof-mounted intake shroud via a carbon fiber plenum and lightweight aluminum manifold. The S7 LM’s upgraded powerplant was factory-rated between a ridiculous 1,000 and downright ludicrous 1,300 horsepower, dependent upon the fuel and tune settings. The prodigious 850 pound-feet of torque is managed through a six-speed manual transaxle which is reportedly capable of delivering the S7 LM to top speeds in excess of 240 mph.
To ensure that all this power could be managed effectively, Saleen improved the aerodynamic impact by adding an adjustable, biplane rear wing developed during the company’s racing exploits. Additional downforce is present on the LM as a result of the rear lip spoiler, rear diffuser, side skirts, air vents, and an enclosed underbody to help maintain split-channel airflow. Each wheel arch is filled with center-locking Saleen alloy wheels that measure 19 inches up front and 20 inches in the rear, all shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. The suspension incorporates unequal-length double wishbones and aluminum coilover dampers at each corner. To reign in the prodigious speed of which the S7 LM is capable, Saleen-branded six-piston monoblock calipers rest over slotted, two-piece floating rotors mounted at each corner.
Even with such stratospheric performance figures resulting from the LM upgrades, there are still creature comforts that offer a very pleasing cockpit. Both driver and passenger are held secure in Alcantara Sparco seats trimmed in black leather. Alcantara also covers the headliner, rear panel, and A-pillars. Additional interior features include an adjustable steering column, backup camera, air conditioning, power windows, and four-point Sparco harnesses.
Like the legendary names attached to America’s great racing sports cars, Steve Saleen will be remembered as a tuner, racer, and builder of motorcars who showed the world what was possible when American horsepower and ingenuity collided. His creation remains today as unique and awe-inspiring as the day it was first introduced to the world. This model, showing fewer than 170 miles from its creation as LM-007, is sure to preserve that history as its legend grows with each rewarding mile added.