What Is the Mustang Saleen S351?

There have been more than a few Saleen S351s over the years — to understand what made the original 1994 edition so special, it helps to look at what was going on with Ford and their stable of pony cars at the time.

When the fourth generation Mustang was released for the 1994 model year, it replaced the beloved Fox body platform that had helped Ford regain its performance bona fides with serious racing enthusiasts over the past 15 years. When the new Mustang was released, it’s safe to say that few were impressed with the top-of-the-line GT’s anemic 215 horsepower output.

Saleen S351 MustangEnter the Saleen S351

Largely seen as a boost to the underperforming Mustang GT, the Saleen S351 added a number of upgrades to better position it against the Chevy Z28 and Pontiac Firebird.

Here’s a look at what the Saleen S351 brought to the table:

Engine: Ditching the GT’s weak engine, the Saleen team brought in the 5.8L V8 used in the 1994 Ford F150 Lighting, adding a number of refinements including high performance, large-valve aluminum Edelbrock heads, hydraulic roller camshaft and lifters, 30 lb/hour fuel injectors and more. The net result was an estimated 371 horsepower and 422 foot-pounds of torque at 3,200 rpm. An optional Vortech supercharger boosted that number even further, to 480 horses.

Suspension: The S351’s suspension got the full Saleen treatment as well, with progressive front and rear coil springs from its Racecraft part line, gas front struts, urethane bushings and a front sway bar. To complement these upgrades, a set of B.F. Goodrich Comp T/A ZR tires were mounted on custom 18” five-spoke rims.

Other notable upgrades included a Tremec five-speed tranny, new front and rear fascia, side skirts, a redone interior and a high flow exhaust system. The car’s exterior design proved so popular, in fact, that Saleen was able to make a steady income selling it as a body kit to those who couldn’t afford the full suite of upgrades.

The S351’s Legacy

Saleen continued to offer an S351 throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s. A redesign in 1999 took the brand in a more affordable direction, due in part to the Ford’s renewed commitment to producing a high performance Mustang through its SVT division.