Frank H. Cicerale
December 1, 2008
Photos By: Peter S. Linney, Michael Ficacci
Unlike his competitor's car, the Gurney Saleen utilizes the stock 4.6-liter Three-Valve's bore and stroke dimensions. For added umph, the mod motor relies on a Saleen blower that, according to Gurney himself, makes the car just as powerful as his '69 Boss 302 Trans Am Mustang.

"I had some input with the car, and we came up with something that, once the blower was on, was doggone good," Gurney agrees. "The 465 horsepower with this 281 is really close to what the Trans Am car had. As soon as I heard that the supercharger was an option, that was the way I went."

But where the car shines mechanically is within the suspension, where Gurney himself had a lot of input into the end design and feel. The car features sport-tuned front and rear coil springs, 1.38-inch front and 0.79-inch rear sway bars, revised front and rear struts, and a Watt's link rear suspension. "From a mechanical standpoint, the suspension tune is of Dan's own design," Duran explains. "He worked closely with our engineers to get a ride to fit his tastes. It is a setup that is unique to the Saleen lineup."

During our own testing on a hot mid-summer day, the Gurney Mustang dipped in the 12s nearing 109 mph and performed well on our test track. "The Mustang is bold, everyone looks at it, and it has the performance to match," states MM&FF editor, Evan J. Smith. "It has a nice balance of power and handling, and it has amazing styling."

A set of 19-inch Heritage Edition 5-spoke rims dressed in charcoal with a gray lip and a Gurney center cap are found on all four points of the Gurney Saleen. The rims are surrounded in Pirelli Corsa sneakers.

"Dan was very particular when it came to setting up the suspension on this car," says Derk Hartland, one of the Saleen engineers who worked in the development of the Gurney Saleen. "Dan wanted a better ride, but also a car that when you push it, can still handle well in a corner. The car, as compared to the Parnelli car, has different components, different shock rates, different tires, and an overall different setup."

Assisting in the handling of the Gurney Saleen is the braking system, as well as the chosen wheel and tire combination. Up front, 14-inch slotted and vented rotors are clamped down by four-piston calipers, while 11.8-inch vented rotors and single piston calipers can be found. High performance Pirelli Corsa tires sized 285/30/ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 aft wrap around Heritage Edition 5-spoke charcoal aluminum wheels that are accented with a gray lip and a Gurney center cap. The rims measure out to be 19x9 front and 19x10 rear.

While the drivetrain is something Dan had a hand in, the inner and outer looks of the car are heavily influenced by his '69 Boss 302 car. The exterior comes with a Gurney Edition windshield banner, side stripes, fender badges, and a decal package, as well as a different style hood, mesh driving light covers, and rear spoiler. Throw in the Heritage Edition front and rear fascias, air dam, hoodpins, front and rear chrome trim, and side skirts, and it replicates Gurney's Trans Am racer. Only 300 will be built, and while we had the chance to put a Vista Blue model through its paces, the Mustang is also available in Torch Red and Performance White.

Duran comments, "The car's primary color is blue because that is the color of Gurney's Boss 302 Mustang. The white chin spoiler and Anthracite 5-spoke wheels are a throwback as well. Many people have said that Dan's car had a black front spoiler and Mini-Lite wheels, but that was not true of his original Boss race car. Additionally, the red, white, and blue color pallet is to celebrate his heritage as the All-American Racer.