• Mar 20th 2008 at 11:58AM
  • 27
Click above for high-res gallery of the Saleen S5S Raptor

This very blogger wrote a post yesterday about the Saleen S5S Raptor. I didn't mention the cars I thought the Raptor looked like, but a fair number of commenters did. This is what you should know: in person, the car looks like nothing else but the S5S Raptor, and it looks better than any car you think it might look like. It is, to put it plainly, all kinds of hot. Even in yellow, which is this blogger's least favorite car color, I'd still pay for it. Saleen CEO Paul Wilbur said the Raptor is a concept, and he wanted the media's feedback on building it. Mr. Wilbur: yes. Today. Like, now. Check out the hi-res pics and let Mr. Wilbur know what you think.

New York 2008: Saleen unveils the S5S Raptor


New York, NY (March 20, 2008) Saleen's all new concept vehicle, the S5S Raptor made its world debut today on the floor of New York City's Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center. The S5S Raptor unveiling comes amidst several other Saleen announcements including a partnership with Dan Gurney, Rockstar Games and the integration of several first time seen ASC products, featured on two existing Saleen vehicles.

We are extremely proud of the Raptor. It is the car that enthusiasts are waiting for America to produce and Saleen is just the company to answer that call, said Paul Wilbur, Saleen President and CEO.

The S5S Raptor represents the first ground up vehicle to be conceived by the new Saleen management team and the most extensive demonstration of the combined capabilities of Saleen engineering and the ASC creative team.

The Raptor is just a glimpse of things to come from Saleen, says Chief Technical Officer, Chris Theodore. Our company is unique in that we have the experience and knowledge behind some of the most exciting performance
vehicles built over the past 20 years. Beyond the S7 Supercar, our team members have been involved in the Viper, Prowler, Ford GT, and the products of Chrysler SRT and Ford's SVT performance groups. These lessons learned are evident in the Raptor concept and we will continue to build upon them as the company evolves.

The Raptor is a two seat mid-engine super car that competes in size and style with core offerings from the most notable of Italian exotic car makes, but with a segment leading 650hp and 630 lb-ft of torque provided by a Saleen 5.0L Supercharged Engine - the source of the S5S designation. Unlike its competitors, the Raptor is designed to digest cellulosic ethanol. This is the same ethanol formula, states Wilbur, that is the official fuel of the 2008 American Le Mans Race Series and the IRL. The higher octane rating of E85 results in more power. It is a combination that will send the Raptor screaming to 60 mph in a g-force generating 3.2 seconds. With ethanol power, the car is both mean and clean!

Saleen's use of cellulosic ethanol is right for us for two reasons:
It maintains consistency with our racing heritage, as many of the racing formats (IRL, American Lemans, etc) are now adopting ethanol as the racing fuel of choice.

It also helps our environment through cleaner tailpipe emissions as well as reducing America's dependency on foreign oil.

While Saleen is a small, specialty vehicle maker, we share in the responsibility to do what we can to support our environment, without compromising on our brand values.

Compromise does not enter into the conversation at all. The Raptor's hand-built 5.0L cubic inch engine with its patented twin-screw supercharger delivers its 650 horses at 6300 rpm and hits max torque at just 4400 RPM. This power sits on call beneath the knob of a close ratio 6-speed manual, or optional paddle shifting sequential gearbox. It's a combination that send Raptor's rigid aluminum chassis screaming to a top speed of over 200 mph.

As power is nothing without control, the double wishbone suspension and rack-and-pinion steering of the S5S is augmented by ABS traction control and stability control systems. The brake system features 15-inch (381 mm) front rotors with 6-piston calipers, and 13-inch (308 mm) rear rotors with dual piston calipers for maximum stopping power. Road holding traction is provided by the 275/35 ZR20 and 315/35/ZR20 Pirelli Rosso tires that wrap the 20􏰁 forged aluminum front and rear wheels respectively. The unique black-diamond and carbon fiber finish on the wheels make them as stunning as they are strong.

We spent a great deal of time on the design of the Raptor, says Marques McCammon, General Manager of Saleen Automotive. The vehicle's bold shoulders are reflective of an aggressive American attitude, reminiscent of Can- Am race car styling cues, but delivered with modern sophistication. If you see a little Chaparral or McLaren design influence in this car, you are right.

The aesthetics for the Raptor were developed by ASC Creative Services, America's largest independent automotive design firm. This vehicle was an aggressively compressed program that combined the traditional methods of three-dimensional clay sculpting with sophisticated digital modeling tools, said Steve Nowicki, ASC Creative Services Director. The vehicle is distinctive in a way that I think the world is going to love. The primary designer on this program was Dave Byron, a CCS graduate and passionate member of ASC's Design team.

Raptor's unique sun flair yellow paint accentuates the cars beautiful body forms. The interior of the car can be illuminated by the sun or the city lights through the solar-tented scenic roof that covers the cockpit. Detailing is transformed from mere aluminum on the vehicles wheels and exhaust by their black-diamond powder coat finish.
In all the S5S Raptor is a work of art aimed to take your breath away, said McCammon. It is aggressive and sexy at the same time.

According to Saleen executives, the S5S Raptor could enter the market in as little as two years, and should it go forward, it would carry a base price of approximately $185,000 MSRP.

Since the company's inception in 1984, Saleen has produced thousands of complete and EPA certified, specialty vehicles. In addition, Saleen has equipped more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide, further emphasizing their capabilities and commitment to excellence.

A nine-time Manufacturers' Champion in GT sports car racing, Saleen manufactured the American super car, the Saleen S7, as well as the S281 Mustang, S331 Sport Truck and the Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition
Mustang. Saleen's manufacturing facilities are located in Troy, Michigan. The Michigan facility has also just completed all paint and assembly of the Ford GT as a special project for Ford Motor Company and currently is providing paint and subassembly for the Dodge Viper SRT-10.

For more information visit www.saleen.com. ###

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      ...On this car it is very unflattering.

      -THE TAILLIGHTS: Do I even have to say anything about these. ACURA NSX comparisons are bound to happen. Copycat design is definitely not beneficial to a "all new" vehicle entering an incredibly competitive and HIGH PRICED marketplace.

      This criticism, while potentially unpopular, I certainly hope will help Saleen. I make my criticism from an informed and educated standpoint. I have studied automotive design at Art Center College of Design and have been a automotive enthusiast all of my life.

      To be completely fair and objective the color is without a doubt the worst for displaying a vehicle's more subtle details and surface definition. This is simply the nature of bright yellow in photos. It doesn't amply reflect the environment around the vehicle to define curves/surface and it flattens in photographs. Please note for future concepts...drawing attention with yellow can have drawbacks!

      All aside, the performance will be critical for the success of the car. If they stubbornly don't change anything perhaps it'll be a case of...


      Signing off,

        • 7 Years Ago
        m designer:

        You studied design but now it is time to get back to class so you can graduate and get a job.

        Where were you when this car was designed?

        I didn't think so.

        This car rocks, looks so much better in person, and needs to be built.

        Go Saleenracer Go!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sweet. Build the damn thing!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Espirit 2010?? you are retarded. It doesn't look anything alike. That's like comparing a 9 iron to a baseball bat. dumb!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Overall love the car and I don't know why I bother commenting because I will never be able to afford it but if he's looking for criticism then I would say:

      1) The side profile looks great from the mirrors back, the front bulges where the front wheels lie seems too high in proportion into where the front windshield enters the arc. I would either rake the windshield more to lessen the angle slightly or angle the bulge slightly so it matches the angle of the window.

      2) The rear of the car is nice and the taillight reminds me of the old NSX however the two box areas on the rear "bumper" appear unfinished and the square overhangs seem a bit odd and tacked on.

      That's it for me, a couple minor things. For me this car matches up very well visually with a Ferrari 430.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It looks absolutley amazing. The headlights MAKE this car. They have the most angry shape. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.....I would take this over a Gallardo based on looks alone.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Seeing one of these on the street would be jaw-dropping. Outstanding design.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Build this sexy beast BUT DROP THE S5S. It's confusing and too Audi-ish.

      Raptor name is powerful!!!
      • 7 Years Ago

      Honestly, I'm posting because I have the best interests of the company/designers in mind. This is mainly because I would LOVE to see another American car enter and be TRULY successful and RESPECTED in the supercar market.

      The design isn't particularly "BAD" but definitely needs further refinement so it isn't mistaken for a sub $100k kit-car (OR a Volkswagen W12 concept tribute http://www.fantasycars.com/1/News/VW12/vw12.html)

      -Firstly, the design IS NOT cohesive.
      Those headlights are the two most forward-thinking design elements on the car. The rest appears to have been passed along designers based on surface plane (IE: completely different designers for the sides and rear).

      -Second: Poor combination of sharp angles and smooth flowing curves. Notice from the profile view that the vehicle has a very stark and distracting STRAIGHT horizontal body line that leads into the air intake set starkly between the roofline and the graceful lower intake bodyline. A simple solution would be to arc this line (ala Lotus Elise) or to treat it in a different and original manner altogether.

      -Third: BIG, BULBOUS, BLANK surfaces. This is one vehicle that, strangely, would benefit from production based limitations. The design DESPERATELY needs more graphic visual breakup of the surfaces (in the form of part lines, etc). These inflated quarter panels and void front fenders weigh the vehicle down visually. While a low, grounded appearance is tradition for supercars...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I see NSX cues from the rear, but I think this car almost looks a bit cheap from the rear angle. Perhaps another color other than bright-ass yellow. Perhaps a gunmetal or black. Maybe even white. Or maybe it doesn't look so "kit-car-ish" in person.
      • 7 Years Ago
      By all means yes. Just change that tail light configuration. Loved Jurgens comment lol.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Saleen, Saleen, !!!

      you forgot to take ur medicine AGAIN?

      so let me get this straight.. i should buy Raptor for 185 K and dont look at the following cars:

      - Audi R8
      - Aston Martin DB9
      - Bentley Continental GT / GT Speed
      - Gallardo
      - F430
      - Maerati Grand Turismo (not my fav cz of engine but what the heck)

      So remind me.. what was the price of the car ?

      did i mention that car DOES look good .. but still.. Saleen you should have know.

      Car Nut.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Saleen (just like the S7) will absolutely demolish those other cars on a track.
        • 7 Years Ago
        But if you're only looking at track performance, an Ultima GTR with a turbo smallblock will probably eat this thing for lunch, at no more than $100k.

        Same can be said about the Factory Five GTM. Put a powerful enough engine in there and you can beat this for 1/3 the price.

        Don't get me wrong, this car looks gorgeous, but it should be prices just a hair over $100k to be competetive.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ignoring the fact that Saleen is not a mass-market manufacturer, 650hp is way more than any of those other cars could hope to make. (Continental doesn't count, way too heavy) If the chassis is as good as that engine, this car will kill anything from europe in this price range.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice front and sides, but the rear is gah!
      And this thing should be built by honda and be priced around 30 grand not 200 badongadongs.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X