Rod Short
March 1, 2001

Nature offers the chameleon a unique defense with the ability to change color to match its surroundings. Should you ever need a defense for boredom, though, you might want to check out this '97 Saleen convertible belonging to Brent Mullen of Longmont, Colorado. With an incredible new paint finish to catch your attention and ample DOHC Cobra power to put wind in your face, this cool chameleon chases the blahs away.

Brent received this treasure by shipping a brand-new '97 Cobra convertible by railcar directly from the Dearborn factory to Saleen Performance in Irvine, California. The car underwent a conversion process to make this one of the most unique Saleens to ever roll off the factory floor.

"Of the 300-400 Saleens manufactured each year, most began life as Mustang GTs," said Brent, when asked about his car's significance. "This is one of only about four Cobras that they normally receive each year, and it is the only supercharged, rainbow-hued Saleen/Cobra convertible with a Sportster package that they've ever produced."

The cars bearing Steve Saleen's (a former SCCA road racer) name are well known for their ability to handle and maneuver. Most of their ability comes from a suspension beefed up with Racecraft components, which include subframe connectors, new struts, springs, bushings, camber/caster plates, lower control arms, and a rear Panhard rod, working together as a package. The wheels are 18-inch magnesium Speedlines shod with Michelin n ZR-rated rubber.

Motivation comes from a potent 4.6L DOHC Cobra engine with an aluminum block, a forged steel crank, and Cobra four-valves-per-cylinder heads, which is more than ample for many modern street machines. Daily driving in altitudes of up to 7,000 feet made the Vortech supercharger pushing 3-5 pounds of boost a thoughtful addition. Handling the exhaust is a Borla 2.5-inch stainless steel system. Backing up the engine combination is a Borg-Warner T45 five-speed with 3.55 gears in the 8.8-inch rear. Performance is monitored by a Saleen white-face gauge cluster with a 200-mph speedo and optional boost and fuel pres-sure units.

As impressive as this package is in itself, perhaps the biggest attraction is the exotic paint. Dubbed Extreme Rainbow, this finish is the latest in a new line of BASF iridescent paint finishes that reflects up to 16 different colors, depending on the sunlight and the angle from which it is viewed.

"A lot of people can't figure out what color the car is," said Brent about observers' reactions to the car. "It's fun to see their reactions, because it really drives them nuts!"

Other exterior enhancements include a S281 urethane ground-effects package, a Speedster hard tonneau cover, a convertible lightbar, and a Saleen rear wing and blacked-out taillight treatment.

As cool as this 'Stang is, the only problem is that many observers may not notice how much car actually lies underneath the eye-catching paint. Of course, almost any street challenge will quickly prove that this chameleon's as quick on its feet as it is pleasant to the eye!