Supercars are held to a different timeline than other types of cars. As keen as we are to age animals in multiples of 7 — or the like, so should we view supercars. An aging supercar is old and outdated nearly as soon as the manufacturer comes out with a new incarnation to up the ante. A 10-year old supercar is something of a dinosaur in today’s fast paced, fiber-optic world of driver aides, dual hybrid-power and advanced engineering.
Through the automotive continuum there are of course milestones, the Miura, F40, McLaren F1, and arguably the Saleen S7. But do these landmarks hold enough merit to endure into the ultra-exclusive modern supercar collector Market? Cars past their prime but still new enough and rare enough to command lofty price tags are lumped into a difficult corner.
In this rare example we have encountered an endangered species in the wild, on the open and egalitarian market that is eBay. This 2003 Saleen S7 TT may be a little long in the tooth by supercar standards, and with over 10,000 miles of road on the clock it has seen some use.
This particular car is something of a specialty in that it was an original Saleen test-mule. With the original S7 debuting in August of 2000, the already very impressive all-aluminum Ford OHV 427 produced 550 horsepower at 6,400 rpm — a nominal sum by today’s standards.
But excess is the true mark of a supercar and Saleen’s engineers were left wanting for more. The addition of twin-turbochargers bumped the power output to a distressing 750 horsepower, driving the car to a top speed of 248 mph. This car (#26) is the platform upon which this later model powerplant was developed. These engines were undoubtedly high-strung and reports of failures circulate, to alleviate this concern the current owner has had the engine re-done to a fresh state.
The styling of the S7 is forward-looking for the dawn of the new millennium — gratuitous louvers, vents, gills, and scoops are visible from every angle. The mid-engine layout leaves a long, gently sweeping rear window ending over what almost looks like the trunk of a C5 Corvette. The nose and cockpit profile are exquisitely exotic, clearly picking up where the dearly departed McLaren F1 left off in 1999.
The critical aesthetic onlooker will note a few distinct cues that certainly date the Saleen, but detract? No. The wheel-tire combo is a little tired, and the plastic turn signal lenses look archaic.
Countering the niggles we can’t help but notice are the spectacular composite induction system runners — prominently displayed above the engine and visible through the rear glass. Interlacing with triangulated rollcage structure, and intermingling with no shortage of AN-adorned plumping, we are reminded this is a boutique racer for the road.