What Is the Mustang Saleen SA20?Last Updated August 4, 2019
Founded in 1983, Saleen quickly became one of the best-known and most well respected Mustang customizers in the business. So when the firm reached its 20th anniversary, it was clear they needed something special to mark it. The SA20, released in 2003, is a rare and exclusive pony car celebrating the first two decades of Saleen’s collaboration with Ford.
Unveiled on September 13, 2003, at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California, the SA20 was limited to just ten vehicles. Those willing to put down the money for this extremely limited edition not only got the car, but they also received a free trip to Saleen’s 7th Annual Car Show and a chance to dine with Steve Saleen himself the night before the grand debut.
The Mustang Saleen SA20 — Specs and Information
With all the pomp and circumstance around the launch of the SA20, the question remains — was it worth it? Did the car truly live up to the legacy Saleen had spent 20 years building? The general consensus was yes.
All hype aside, here’s what the SA20 brought to the table:
- A 375 horsepower, supercharged V8 engine. Taking the 2003 GT’s 4.6L V8 as its base, the SA20 added a 1.6 liter Saleen Series IV screw-type intercooled turbo and Powerflash calibration system.
- A custom-painted pearl-white finish with painted five-spoke 18” rims and black-and-yellow graphics.
- An extensive body kit including an all-new tonneau cover with an integrated light bar, lightweight custom hood, spoiler wing and rear fascia with center exhaust.
- A luxury interior with custom floor mats and door panels, leather sports seating and a special plaque on the console commemorating Saleen’s first 20 years.
Six Saleen SA20s were sold during the preorder, which required a non-refundable deposit of $10,000. An additional four were created and sold through Villa Ford in Orange County. Pricing started at $54,357 — buyers were encouraged to add any option from the S281 listing. The Saleen SA20 was only available as a convertible. Nine of the SA20 featured a manual transmission, and the lone AOD was a special-order commissioned by a buyer unable to drive stick due to an injury.
Image Credit: Saleen.com
Celebrating Saleen's 20th anniversary of collaboration with Ford was the Saleen SA20 Mustang. Unveiled in September 2003 and limited to just 10 vehicles, the Saleen SA20 featured a supercharged V8 engine, custom-painted pearl-white finish, and extensive body kit.
Offered throughout the '90s and early 2000s, the Saleen S351 added some upgrades to the Mustang GT that allowed it to better compete against the Chevy Z28 and Pontiac Firebird. One of the biggest upgrades was introducing a 5.8L V8 engine, with a few refinements, to increase the horsepower to 371 and torque to 422.
One of the more popular Saleen Automotive variants first available in 1996 was the Saleen S281 Cobra. This Cobra featured a 4.6L V8 engine capable of producing 320 horsepower. The Saleen S281 production continued until 2004, producing 128 of these Mustangs.
To celebrate its anniversary in 1998, Saleen released the limited-edition SA15 Mustang. Each SA15 was custom built to order and buyers were encouraged to add upgrades they liked from the Saleen line which made each SA15 slightly different.
The Saleen S281-C is production numbers were very limited, with less than 20 produced each year between 1996 and 2004. Even rarer is the Extreme Rainbow paint option estimated to only exist on between 14 and 16 Saleen S281-Cs. The paint has tiny flakes of aluminum and chrome to reflect light making the vehicle appear to change color based on the viewing angle.