5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2005 Saleen S281 Mustang - Speedlab Racer
Carlos Duran's '05 Saleen Is The Testbed For New Gear From Its In-House Custom Shop
The interior wore several upgrades standard on the S281, including custom leather seats, 200-mph gauges, dash-mounted gauges, and a short-throw shifter, but as with the exterior, Carlos wanted something a little more unique. "I talked with our fabrication shop and asked them to adapt the Saleen S7 race seats to the Mustang with all the stock seat features," he says. They managed to make it work, and the seats were in the car just a few months later. They not only look great, but also weigh 40 pounds less than the stock seats. As with the exterior, carbon fiber is used throughout the interior, including a custom rear-seat delete, doorsills, and the armrest cover, all soon to be added to the Speedlab catalog.
Even though the Mustang was already one of a kind, Saleen was going to display the car at SEMA and wanted to come up with something that no one else had done. Saleen's engineers had started development of a functional ram-air system that would work with the Series VI supercharger system, and the team rushed to build a working prototype version in time for the show. They managed to do so, and the feedback they received at SEMA was overwhelmingly positive. The go-ahead was given for a production version, dubbed the "SuperShaker," the first of which is seen on Carlos' Speedlab Mustang. Saleen will offer SuperShaker kits as well as upgrade kits for Mustang owners who already have a Saleen supercharger, and even an upgrade for owners of the Parnelli Jones Mustang.
As shown in the photos, the SuperShaker grabs cool air from outside the engine bay and drops it directly into an airbox and filter that sit just ahead of a 62mm twin-bore throttle body. The benefits of the system can be easily seen and felt. Throttle response is improved, the engine runs much cooler, and horsepower and torque both increase. Then there's the sound. "It sounds more like a jet than a Mustang," Carlos says, laughing. "The sound scares me. It reminds me of our old S-351R with its meaty, throaty whine." In its current form, the Speedlab Mustang produces a tire-shredding 540 hp and 530 lb-ft torque at the wheels.
What does the future hold for the Speedlab Mustang? More power, of course. Carlos plans to add a set of CNC-ported heads, as well as a ported race version of the supercharger that is being co-developed with JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey. He's set a goal of 600 hp and 580 lb-ft torque at the wheels, and we don't see any reason it won't be reached.
Despite being the visionary for the project, Carlos is still surprised at how far the car has come. "It's been amazing to see the car start as it did and get to where it is now with all the responses being so positive," he says. "I want to thank Saleen for allowing me to realize my vision for Speedlab, but most importantly, I want to thank all the Saleen employees who made this happen with a passion and attention to detail. I owe this vehicle to them and will remember this forever."
We think we understand now why Carlos is such a loyal employee. He's passionate about what he does, and it shows in the Speedlab Mustang. "Not too bad from a guy who started in the warehouse 12 years ago," he jokes. "Keep your mind focused and you can achieve anything."