Tom Wilson
June 19, 2006
Pulled from the same assembly line as blowers destined for production Saleens, aftermarket Saleen blowers get all the decoration and content found on S281 SCs. Here the blower's bottom mounting is evident; the two hose nipples above the supercharger are water outlet/inlets for the charge cooler.

Curing Blower Envy
Have an '05 or '06 Mustang GT and want the Saleen supercharger? No problem: Saleen is offering not only the S281 supercharging system as an aftermarket part, it's relaunching the entire aftermarket-parts program in a very serious way.

Saleen's commitment to parts sales is so great, says Manny Margaretis, director of operations for aftermarket, they're busy dusting off every possible Saleen part going all the way back to the Fox heyday. Yes, that means vintage Saleen parts will be available once again. That's perfect for the Saleen restorer or Mustang restomod fan. It's all part of a plan to position Saleen as a premium lifestyle brand, says Margaretis. Saleen parts sales will fully support every Saleen vehicle, plus those people who want to personalize their cars with Saleen equipment. So, from vintage body kits to the latest Extreme powertrain, we'll all have access to Saleen parts. This effort includes all sorts of apparel and accessory items, so Saleen fans should keep an eye on the company. The quickest way to do that is on the Web site,, or in Mustang Monthly.

As for the supercharger, it's Saleen's Series VI blower. It uses a 2.3L Lysholm-screw rotor pack and retails for $5,699. That includes everything; the supercharger/charge-cooling/manifold assembly as described in the main story, plus the charge cooler's radiator, electric water pump, reservoir tank, pulleys, and serpentine belt. The stock throttle body and injectors are used, so they are not included.

Built as a show piece, this assembly is how a customer receives a supercharger and manifold, minus the throttle body since the stock throttle body is reused.
Saleen builds its superchargers in a specialized room off the main assembly line. Obviously, blown Saleens are popular: We saw them stacked up like this throughout the shop.

Because the major pieces are already assembled, installation is a nut-and-bolt affair. Besides R&R to the the intake manifold, the alternator is remounted, and some of the drive pulleys and tensioners are relocated. Saleen says it takes two of their assembly-line techs four hours to install the blower, but they're working on a clean car under ideal conditions. Although senior enthusiasts can likely fit the Saleen blower package in one rather long day at home with some help from a buddy, a more realistic assessment rates it a weekend project.

After installation, Saleen says you should have a good time with the four pounds of boost and 435 hp using its conservative engine-management program. Like all such superchargers, the Saleen blower makes an extremely soft coffee-grinder gear noise all the time. This is a subdued sound and will not bother anyone unless they believe that old saw about roots and Lysholm superchargers being silent: nearly so, but not quite. When making boost, the noise out the intake is a siren-like scream, but you won't hear this because it's muffled by the Saleen intake casting and stock air filter. Take the air filter off and you can make like a fire truck at full throttle.

When the S281 Extreme supercharger becomes available, you'll be able to buy any part of the Extreme through the parts department, including the entire engine, and it will come with larger fuel injectors, a different drive pulley, and a higher price tag to cover the injectors.

What Does She Weigh?
Increasing weight is an industry-wide concern today, so we took our Saleen convertible across the scales. The numbers below are for the car shown with a full tank of gas and no driver.

2006 Saleen S281 Weight
Front Axle2,020 lbs53%
Rear Axle1,820 lbs47%
Total3,840 lbs

Wow, even with a 180-pound driver, these cars are 4,000-plus pounds. With many of us packing 200 pounds or more, plus a lightweight passenger, the total weight easily reaches SUV territory. Combine a 240-pound driver with a 130-pound passenger and a full fuel tank, and the car totals 4,210 pounds. Of course, much of this weight is fun stuff such as the supercharger, intercooler, and those tall wheels, but that weight is accelerated and cornered nonetheless. To put it in perspective, this is approximately 700 pounds more than an old Fox Mustang. Credit the new car's stiffer chassis, longer wheelbase, air bags, better bumpers, more complex engine, and other improvements for the increase.