Flashback To Our Top 10 Picks From The 2018 Saleen Nationals

The 2018 edition of the Saleen Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, brought out some of the finest Saleen products in the country. (If you missed our coverage, you can check it out here.) Narrowing a field of over 100 of the nicest Saleens around down to 10 was not easy, but at the end of the day, we finally found our favorites. Check them out below…

10. The Anniversary Cars

The featured cars of the 2018 Saleen Nationals were all anniversary machines — the SA cars. One of the coolest of that elite group is absolutely the SA10. Regarded in most circles as the holy grail Fox Saleen Mustang, these cars are all uniquely optioned and all tell a special stories. To have three of them in one place was definitely a rare treat.

From left to right, Karl LaFrance, Bryan Ross, and Bob Goodson’s SA10s. All have unique stories of their own but none are as unique as Bob’s. The car was purchased from Saleen to be the fourth SA10 built, but the buyer fell through and the car was never completed. Bob found the car years later and built it as it would have been from Saleen. He calls it "Almost 4."

9.  Fox Saleen Driver

Remember the last name Smith, this will not be the last time you here that name in this top 10 list. This white 1989 belongs to Mallory Smith and made its maiden voyage at the Saleen Nationals after a year long refresh. Following the trend of her husband Travis’ own Fox Saleen, this car is tastefully modified to be driven and enjoyed. It features a crate engine topped by a Trick Flow intake, and rounded out with racing seats, a Dakota Digital dash and some gold wheels that look right at home beside the trademark Saleen gold stripes. The Smiths tell us a paint job is in the future but for now, they are just enjoying driving the car.

One of the highlights of the Saleen Nationals is the chance to get Steve Saleen himself to autograph your car. Mallory Smith was lucky enough to get both Steve and wife Liz to sign the dash of her 1989.

8. 600-Horsepower SSC

What’s cooler than an Saleen SSC? A Saleen SSC that’s modified and driven, of course. Terry Wiedman’s 1989 fits both of those categories. It is loaded with performance mods, including a Boss-block 347 stroker with aluminum heads, a custom-ground blower cam, forged internals, a ported Saleen intake, a Vortech T-trim supercharger, and a healthy shot of methanol injection. All in all, it delivers 609 horsepower to the rear wheels. Yes, this is one wicked-cool and fast Fox.

Our favorite part about Terry Wideman's SSC? The Pikes Peak Summit Pass still in the windshield of course. Last year Terry took his Fox all the way to Colorado to the 2017 Saleen Nationals and took it all the way to the top of Pikes Peak!

7. Spotless 1988 Hatchback

Dennis Fahey’s 1988 Fox Saleen is one of the cleanest we have ever run across. Painted in beautiful red with grey and silver accents, this car is easy on the eyes. If there is a flaw on this one, we did not find it.

In a world of modified Fox Mustangs, it is pretty cool to run across a stock example. Dennis Fahey’s 1988 is bone stock from one end to the other, right down to the radio.

6. Holy Grail Terminator

The 2003-2004 SVT Mustang Cobras hold a special spot in the hearts of many and for good reason. While there are plenty of cool Cobras out there, there are a few special ones that stand out above the rest. The Anniversary cars, the Mystic cars and the rarest of them all, the Saleen Cobras. Larry and Francine Hill’s 2003 Redfire Cobra is one of just 14 Saleen Cobra coupes built during the 2003-2004 Terminator run and one of only three produced in Redfire Metallic. The car won best in its class at the nationals and it definitely earned it.

Beyond the already impressive Terminator attributes, these cars gained Racecraft suspension bits, Saleen styling, Saleen wheels and upgraded exhausts.

5. Black and Gold Droptop

Saleen was famous for some pretty killer color combos, but in our opinion, none of which were as cool as black and gold. Robert Knee’s 1991 Convertible was lucky enough to wear this stunning and rare color combination. In fact, it is only convertible Saleen created in black and gold.

One of the coolest things about the Fox Saleens is the interior. Special seats, top of the line for the time radio equipment, and other custom touches make these interiors unique. This also makes them quite expensive to restore and preserve for those cars robbed of their original parts over the years. Even something as small as the Saleen gear shift knob can easily fetch several hundred dollars on eBay!

4. The Sport Truck

One of the stars of the show was the all new Saleen Sport truck. With the departure of our beloved Ford Lightning over a decade ago there is a huge void in the sports truck market. With aftermarket companies building sports trucks again, we can almost get our Lightning fix. This silver 2018 Saleen Sport Truck definitely drew a crowd all day with attendees wanting their chance to photograph it and sit in it.

These Saleen Sport Trucks have a world of options available, including four different powerplant combinations. Saleen went all out on the body with tons of custom body panels. Killer wheels and big brakes round out the package, making this one of the sweetest-looking pickup trucks we have seen in a long time.

3. #19 Race Car

One of the most advertised Saleen Mustangs in recent memory is this #19 race car. Featured in numerous ads and at shows all across the country, the car actually belongs to Sean Cook, the National Event Marketing Director for Saleen. It is a 2017 Saleen, which was built to pay tribute to the 30th Anniversary of Steve Saleen’s SCCA Championship win in the #19 General Tire car. It features a similar paint job including the General Tire and Montgomery Ward logos. Everywhere this car went during the Saleen Nationals a crowd followed with fans wanting to get an up close and personal look at this race-ready beast. We are even told that a few spirited test drives may have been awarded to a few lucky Saleen Club Of America members during the weekend.

A Coyote topped by a huge Kenne Bell supercharger and supported by suspension and brakes capable of taming most any race track on the continent are just a few things that make this awesome machine what it is. This is certainly one of the coolest, best-performing Saleen Mustangs of all time.

2. 690-Horsepower Fox

There are modified Fox Mustangs and then there are modified Fox Mustangs. Travis Smith’s 1989 falls under the second category. About the only thing left untouched on this near 700 horsepower monster is the original color scheme and Saleen body kit, the rest has been touched by Travis in one way or the other. The modification list on this car is easily a mile long. The license plate on this beauty reads “WIKDSLN” and that is definitely accurate. This sure is one wicked Saleen. So much so that the participant-voted car show chose it as the top ’87-’93 Saleen at the event.

Although this 700 horsepower monster is ready for the track, its also right at home in the show field with all its polished goodness. On the inside, Travis created a cockpit we could stare at all day long thanks to its Racepack dash handling the instrumentation duties and a Momo steering wheel guiding the rocket ship.

1. The Lizstick Extreme

Simply put, Lizstick is one of the most beautiful colors to ever be laid down on a Ford Mustang. This special Saleen color was used in extremely limited numbers, in fact, only three Saleen Extremes were ever produced in this color, with Jay Ronca’s example being one of them. This beauty is one of just 153 Saleen Extremes built in 2006, and the only one to come with a glass roof, making it one of the rarest S197 Saleens ever created. Of course it should come as no surprise that the car won best in its class at the 2018 Saleen Nationals and it’s no surprise that it is number one on our list as well.

While Lizstick paint is definitely beautiful, this Saleen is more than just a pretty face! At heart, it is all Extreme. Unique body styling from front to back along with a 550-horsepower, supercharged 4.6-liter V8 under the hood and that is just the start. That 4.6, as well as the rest of the drivetrain, is stuffed with the best parts and internals money can buy. The suspension is packed with of Racecraft goodies and the brakes are big enough to slow the Space Shuttle down. This car truly has everything that a Saleen should offer — looks that could kill, plenty of power, excellent handling, tremendous braking, and an interior fit for a king.

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About the author

Jeff Southard

Growing up with a dad who loved Corvettes, I was destined to be a gearhead from day one. Beyond that, my dad owned an auto parts business for over 25 years. There, I learned the automotive basics as a child, then began my professional career working there after high school. From Corvettes and Superbirds to Hemis and Cobra Jets, my dad has owned a little of everything over the years, so I've had my chance to get some quality seat time behind the wheel of some rare, unique, and sometimes, just odd automobiles. I have owned my share of toys, including over 20 Mustangs. I guess to make a long story short, if you look up "car crazy" you will probably find my photo listed pretty close to it!
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