Diana Spicer, Saleen's Director of Communications had mentioned to me, "The Watts link suspension allows you to still feel the performance of the car, but what it also does is soften the ride, just enough to be enjoyable, and not jarring."
The suspension was definitely stiff and exaggerated bumps in the pavement. However, as Parnelli advised, while I drove, the harder I pushed the car into the turns, the more the suspension hugged the road. In other words, a softer riding suspension would have tossed the Mustang off track. This Saleen begs for a racetrack. For now, we were limited to winding country roads on a two-lane blacktop - with traffic of course.
As I shifted the notchy 5-speed, I noticed the PJ logo on top of the billet aluminum shifter knob. Saleen really personalizes the cars they build. I also noticed a PJ logo on the steering wheel's center cloisonné, bordered by Saleen at the top and Parnelli Jones Edition at the bottom. Even the seat back buttons incorporate the PJ logo. It's no wonder Saleen personnel were calling this Mustang by its nickname - PJ.
Although we didn't have the opportunity to put testing instruments on the car at this juncture, Saleen claims the PJ runs the quarter mile in 12.50 seconds flat. After a crisp launch and nailing the throttle, we can believe it. Also, 0-60 MPH times come in at 4.5 seconds.
To be a real 302, per Parnelli's old racecar required boring and stroking the 4.6L to 3.55 x 3.80 inches. The SOHC 5.0L V8 pumps out 400 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 390 ft-lbs of torque at 4700 revs. That's enough to give the old racecar a run for a Trans Am crown, plus Saleen built the engine race car tough. On our tour of the manufacturing facility we got chatting with Bill Tally, VP of Engineering. He had laid out rods, pistons, cams and other engine parts. Forged internals, balanced and blueprinted, make this engine more than street worthy, and yet it's still backed by a Saleen three-year, 36-month warranty.
Saleen will build 500 of these limited edition Mustangs, which the brochure labels as part of their 'Heritage Collection.' Will we see more heritage type Saleens? Steve told us, "I'm working on it."
In the meantime, buy one of the 500 PJ Mustangs and your friends may ask you - hey, who do you think you are? Parnelli Jones? I know what my answer will be.