March 3, 2013

Saleen 351

Now that Steve Saleen has regained control of his namesake brand, as announced in April 2012, he's ready to resume building Saleen Mustangs as his SMS Supercars brand is integrated into Saleen. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, he announced the new 700-horsepower Saleen 351, a name that brings back memories of the legendary Saleen S351s from the 1990s.

"Since regaining the Saleen brand, I really want to bring it all together with the heritage that Saleen is known for," Saleen said. "With the current Saleen (with a Coyote 5.0L, or 302 cubic-inches) Mustang, it provides all the right features to bring back and update the S351 model."

The Saleen 351 will be based on a Saleen-engineered 351 cubic-inch version of the Coyote 5.0-liter. With a Saleen 296 supercharger system, it will produce 700 horsepower and 655 lb-ft of torque. Saleen will also add a high-performance clutch to the six-speed transmission and a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio. The Saleen 351 package also includes an S4 suspension, 20-inch wheel and tire package, multi-piston brake system, and Saleen design elements that utilizes the Red Butterfly Center Ram Air Induction to allow cooler outside air into the intake system under open throttle conditions.

"Everything about this project has been mindful of the goal to create the most potent Mustang on the market," said Al Wagner, VP of Engineering. "I think we have certainly pushed the bar in the production Mustang segment with our 351 offering. Once the project came together I couldn't help but think—if the 302 Mustang is using a Coyote engine, the 351 is definitely the gray wolf of the class."

To find out more about Saleen, visit www.saleen.com

Joe Oros: 1917-2012

How it is possible that we lost Mustang stylist and designer Joe Oros last year and few noticed? His death didn't make national news, yet what he did a half century ago changed American automotive culture forever. Oros passed away in August. He was 96.

Over his career, Oros designed kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, furniture, homes, sculptures, paintings, and automobiles, including the clay model that eventually became the 1965 Mustang. He was married to Betty, who also made automotive history as Detroit's first female automotive stylist.

Born in 1917, Oros showed incredible artistic talent early in life. His intelligence so impressed educators that he was moved from third to fifth grade. He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1939 and later attended the General Motors School of Automotive Design under the tutorage of stylist great Harley Earl. For a time, Oros designed Cadillacs at GM. His drive and talent thrust Oros to stardom as a respected stylist at General Motors before moving to the George Walker Design Agency.

When George Walker joined Ford, Oros came with him to design the all-new, post-war '49 Ford, which saved Ford Motor Company. In time, Oros would pencil the '55-'57 Thunderbird and '57-‘59 Fords. In the early 1960s as the design chief at the Ford studio, he produced the winning clay model in a design contest to determine the shape of Ford's future four-seat sporty car. The design ultimately became the 1965 Mustang. Oros retired from Ford in 1968.

In 1995, Joe and Betty Oros invited me into their Santa Barbara, California, home. Oros was understandably proud of Betty. Both sat with me in their mid-century home and hauled out some of their best design efforts. Oros told me that his vision for the Mustang was women, who he believed would dominate the sporty car market. He wanted a long nose, short deck, and a mouthy Ferrari grille. He imagined something sporty but not overstated.

The world is much richer thanks to Joe Oros' contributions. He has left us with many reminders of what he accomplished, including Mustang, which will be around for generations to admire and treasure. —Jim Smart

Mustang Six Association

Six-cylinder owners of the world, unite! That's the cry from Rick Mitchell, who has created the Mustang Six Association, an organization "dedicated to preserving the history and promoting the future of '65-'73 six-cylinder Mustangs." If Rick's name sounds familiar, it's likely because you remember him from the 1966 Sprint 200 Registry, which he formed in 1983. It later evolved into the Early Six Mustang Registry for '65-'66 six-cylinder Mustangs.

With the Mustang Six Association, Rick plans to publish a number of e-publications for members, including Sprint Print for '66 Sprint 200s, Six Classics for all other six-cylinder Mustangs, Mustang Six Interviews with owners and other individuals, Mustang Six Showcase photo essays, Mustang Six Blasts for news bulletins, and Mustang Six Treks about visits to shows. Rick also plans to develop a '66 Sprint 200 Online Resource Library that members can access to learn about the Sprint 200, including history, identification, and detailing information for shows.

Members will receive the e-publications automatically. There is no membership fee, but as a member-driven organization, Rick does ask for a favorite six-cylinder Mustang story and other input for the newsletters. To join, send an email to remitchell22@aol.com with a note about how you became associated with six-cylinder Mustangs.