1997 SALEEN MUSTANG S281 CONVERTIBLE

US $17,000.00
Contact the seller
Peoria, Arizona, United States

Features and Specifications

Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Type: Convertible
Trim: Saleen
Year: 1997
Mileage: 80,850
VIN: 1FALP45X1VF140803
Color: Red
Engine: 281 (4.6) SOHC V8
Cylinders: 8
Fuel: Gasoline (Premium)
Transmission: Automatic
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Black
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear

1997 Ford Mustang Saleen

I have for sale my 1997 Saleen Mustang S281 convertible.


Here are some of the main facts about it:


  • Genuine Saleen (not a clone) number 97-0038B
  • Signed on dash by Steve Saleen
  • Date of manufacture 02/1997 (shipped from Saleen02/28/97)
  • VIN: 1FALP45X1VF140803
  • Supercharged
  • Automatic transmission
  • All body panels are original with factory VIN labels
  • No rust...anywhere
  • Current mileage: 81K (that's an average of about 4000 miles/year)
  • Interior is all original and in beautiful condition. No cracks, tears or discoloration on leather seats or steering wheel.
  • Original carpet
  • Original Saleen floor mats (quite rare)
  • Trunk looks like it has never been used
  • Original Saleen Mag wheels
  • New paint and convertible top in 2014 (really didn't need either, but I did it anyway)
  • Updated with 13" Cobra front brakes, EBC slotted & drilled rotors and stainless steel brake lines
  • Engine is smooth and powerful. 319 HP & 384 lb/ft of torque at the flywheel with supercharger (vs. 220 HP and 285 lb/ft for stock 281)
  • Everything works as it should
  • Priced at $17,000


For those of you who may be interested in more detailed information, please read on.


For a little history, in 1996 Saleen entered into an agreement with Budget Rent A Car to provide 30 Saleen Mustangs to Budget. All were convertibles and all but one of them were red (the exception being white). The agreement was that Budget would retire the cars after 18 months or 26,000 miles (whichever came first) at which time they would be returned to Saleen and prepared for retail sale. These vehicles are recognized by the "B" suffix in the Saleen number (as in 38B on this one).

In 1997 Budget upped their order to 88 cars, still all red convertibles, 34 with manual transmissions and 54 automatics. This car is number 38 of 88.

Following its time with Budget, #38B was refurbished by Saleen and shipped toFlorida. As best I can determine, at that time the supercharger was added by Saleen Autosport in Sarasota, FL. The only documentation I have regarding this installation is a label that was on the radiator support, however, if this is the case, it would appear that this is the only former Budget car to have been fitted with a supercharger by Saleen.

There were several owners prior to my purchasing the car from a friend inAlbuquerque,NM. It appears that most of its life was spent inNew Mexicoprior to me purchasing it and bringing it toArizona.

Previous owners had made some cosmetic modifications, including replacing the original hood with a Cervini's "Ram Air" (I received the original hood when I purchased the car, but I got tired of having it take up space and never intended to reinstall it, so I gave it away). A Cervini's 2-piece "Speedster" cover (much more practical than the 1- piece Saleen model) was also added as was a different grill. The headlights, parking lights and tail lights were also replaced with after-market units. I replaced the headlights and parking lights with factory units, but I like the tail lights that were in it better than the stock, so I left them in. I do have the original tail lights though which will be included with the car.

When I purchased the car in 10/2012 I anticipated that being a 15 year old car, and a high performance car at that, it would have a significant number of issues to sort out, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find very few problems and none that were serious. Examples: rubber boots on tie rod ends deteriorated- replaced tie rod ends; A/C didn't work- replaced Pressure Switch; right rear window wouldn't go up- replaced driver's side window switch. Just minor stuff. The tires were in good condition, but they were mismatched and dated 2005, so I replaced them all.

Since the car had been modified with a supercharger I had no idea what kind of horsepower and torque the engine was putting out, so I took it to a local speed shop to have it run on their dyno. The results were that it was producing 270.38 HP and 325.41 lb/ft of torque at the rear wheels. Since the original factory specs are determined at the flywheel (and not at the rear wheels) I didn't know how that compared to the factory output. Since this shop primarily builds racing engines which they test both before and after installing them, I was told that the normal difference between the reading at the flywheel and the rear wheels is about 18%. Based upon that, the output at the flywheel would be 319 HP and 384 lb/ft of torque. A substantial increase over stock (and about the same HP with substantially more torque than the 4-valve Cobra engine of the same year). The dyno test also showed that the supercharger was producing a maximum boost of 9 PSI rather than the rated 7 PSI. They also verified that all systems on the engine (fuel/air, ignition, timing, etc.) were all spot on.

In 2014 I had the car completely stripped down and repainted. In the process it was possible to determine that it had never had any accident damage, which was nice to know. In retrospect I don't think that I should have spent the money to have it done as it was actually very nice beforehand, though it is nicer now. In the process of repainting, all the stripes and lettering on the car, which were originally decals, were air brushed on, so there is never any possibility of them fading or coming loose. I also had the windshield replaced at that time. It wasn't cracked or chipped, but it did have some water spots on it that I couldn't get off. After it was repainted I decided to replace the convertible top just so it would look as new as the rest of the car.

The car is really enjoyable to drive. It is very fast, it corners like it's on rails and it's comfortable to drive, although with the stiff Saleen suspension you can feel virtually every imperfection in the road. It is not rattle-free, but it's not bad for a 20 year old performance car (or most any other 20 year old car for that matter).

The car has a fantastic sound! And I'm not talking about the multi-speaker dual-amp sound system (which you might as well turn off when your driving, since top up or down you'll be hard pressed to hear it). Saleen installed a Borla exhaust system in the '97 and it produces a good healthy V8 sound. It might tend to get a bit annoying on a long trip, but for the driving I've done, I love the sound (my wife, not so much). Of course up to this point I've only put about 3100 miles on it since October 2012.

I believe this car to be one which can be driven and enjoyed for many years to come and one which an owner can be proud to show. It has been a winner at a number of shows when shown by previous owners (I'm not into doing car shows myself). The car came with a number of trophies, but at some point I got tired of them taking up space and decided to toss them. In retrospect that was probably a mistake, but too late now. There is a Saleen "Fiery Redhead" framed poster signed by Steve Saleen and numerous other items that will go along with the car.

Also included is a semi-hard convertible top boot with storage envelope, storage bags for the 2-piece Speedster panels, "rear seat delete" panels to replace the rear seat when the Speedster panels are installed and "Ford Racing" floor mats for everyday use (since the Saleen mats are difficult to find and expensive).

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