What Is the Mustang Saleen S281 Cobra?

While Saleen Automotive may not be a name that is widely recognized by the typical American car buyer, Mustang collectors and enthusiasts know it well. Formerly known as Saleen, Inc., this Corona, CA-based high-performance automobile manufacturer has produced a large assortment of Mustang variants over the past 30 years. One of these is the popular Saleen S281 Cobra that was first offered for sale in 1996.

Saleen S281 Cobra MustangThe Mustang Saleen S281 Cobra Featured a Powerful V-8 Engine

This Cobra was equipped with a brawny 4.6L, 4V DOHC V-8 engine that could produce 320 hp and was designed by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team. Saleen enhanced Ford’s original design by adding a Racecraft suspension and a Saleen aerodynamic body kit. Only four convertibles and seven S281 Cobra coupes were offered during the original production year of 1996 in colors that included Laser Red, Mystic, White and Black.

Mustang Saleen S281 Cobra Production Ended in 2004

Saleen produced a total of 128 of these limited-edition Mustangs from 1996 to 2004. Eighteen models were manufactured in the final year, including one Canadian convertible and one Canadian coupe. The 1996 Mustang Saleen S281 Cobra remains one of the more popular Mustang variants ever produced, ranking at #40 on the Complex Rides list of “The 100 Best Mustangs of All Time.”

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