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Saleen S331 Supercharged Sport Truck

RUU-CHAMA

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Feb 27, 2007
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Location
USA
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http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FirstDrives/articleId=120423?tid=edmunds.il.home.photopanel..1.*

So you turn the corner and drive down your street in the 2007 Saleen S331 SC Sport Truck, the supercharged Ford V8 is burbling through the twin side pipes and the enormous 23-inch tires are roaring against the pavement. You're a one-man outlaw motorcycle gang, only without the bugs in your teeth or a skull tattooed on your neck.

Half the people recoil in horror, despairing of your obvious disdain for Toyota Prius owners, local noise ordinance and small poodles. They shake their fists and shout slogans, some even give you a pamphlet to read. Of course, the other half wishes they were right up there with you, giving the world the bird from the cab of the 450-horsepower Saleen S331 muscle truck.

Made in America
Since April 25, 1925, when Ford introduced the Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body ($281 F.O.B. Detroit), the pickup truck has been the great constant in this American life, even as The Home Depot has become a more familiar destination for truck guys than the Ralston Purina feed store.

It's no wonder so many have tried to transform the pickup into a modern muscle machine, something Ford achieved with some success when it built the F-150-based Lightning, first in 1993-1995 and then later in 1999-2004. But like the GMC Syclone that came before the Lightning and the Dodge Ram SRT-10 that came after, these were trucks that were trying to be cars.

And what guys want is a truck, not a great big car. We learned all about this when the luxurious Lincoln Blackwood hit the truck market with a splat in 2002.

That's why the new Saleen S331 Supercharged Sport Truck starts out as a Ford F-150 FX2, a sport truck that's no stranger to working for a living. And once this F-150 gets its makeover with a big engine and big tires, it will still pack and tow just like a pickup truck should.

The difference is, once you hook up your toys and load the gear, you can get to your designated play area just as fast as 450 supercharged horsepower can manage.

Heavy breathing
When you're wafting along in the fast lane, you hardly think about what's under the Saleen's hood. There's a kind of a flat chuffing noise from the twin exhaust tips in the rocker panel on the driver side, yet the 24-valve, SOHC 5.4-liter V8 under the hood doesn't call much attention to itself.

Then you step into the throttle pedal, and the dash-mounted boost gauge buries its needle against the stop and the Saleen surges forward at a terrific rate. This V8 feels more like a classic big-block than a supercharged small-block. Saleen says it makes some 450 hp at 5,200 rpm and 500 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, yet it's mercifully free of whining accessory belts, a hissing intake manifold and groaning engine mechanicals.

The secret lies in the Saleen supercharger package. The housing of the twin-screw supercharger, the specially cast intake manifold and a water-to-air intercooler have been integrated into a remarkably compact unit that fits between the engine's cylinder heads. The secret here is efficiency and temperature control of the intake charge. Saleen even mounts a second water-to-air intercooler behind the front airdam.

As a result, the supercharger system moves such a large, dense volume of air that only 5.5 psi of boost is required. The intake air isn't overheated enough to compromise engine durability, yet there's enough heavy breathing to produce an additional 150 hp.

Move it down the road
All this power gets the Saleen truck moving pretty good, and the engine's electronics let you burst through the 110-mph barrier that holds the stock F-150 FX2 in check and keep going all the way to 130 mph, when even the Saleen's electronic brain gets nervous and calls a halt to your enthusiasm.

It's not exactly a hair-trigger experience, though. The F-150 is a pretty sizable piece, and the fully optioned S331 supercharged truck weighs in at 5,500 pounds. We learned in our test of the 2007 Roush Performance Stage 3 F-150 (which offers virtually the same power and weight) that it takes a full 6.8 seconds to get to 60 mph, while the quarter-mile comes up in 14.9 seconds at 93.3 mph.

But compared to hot-rod trucks like the Dodge Ram SRT-10 and Ford Lightning, this is also a truck with a strong work ethic. In fact, the S331 will pack 1,350 pounds in its cargo box. There are also two optional towing packages: one rated at 5,000 pounds and the other at 9,500 pounds. Just about any kind of package of recreational toys can be matched up, and a complement of Saleen trucks did their stuff for us by towing a 26-foot Baja Outlaw and a pair of supercharged 250-hp Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 250Xs, as well as carrying a Harley-Davidson Softail Deuce, a Honda CBR1000RR and a Suzuki 450R QuadRacer.

Driving around
Most of the time, you'll just be driving around in this truck, probably scaring the daylights out of the locals. Fortunately they'll be scared witless only for a moment, because the Saleen sits on a chassis that's been set up by people who know their way around a corner, so it's usually moving too fast to be in view for long.

Your first clue to the Saleen's capabilities will be the truck's 305/40VR23 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW-2 tires, a huge size for a tire that's dedicated to cornering grip. And the hardware that backs it up meets a high standard, with Eibach springs, Sachs gas-charged dampers, a stiffer front antiroll bar and hard urethane bushings.

The Saleen S331 slices across corners with its tires on the ground instead of sliding, skipping or stuttering. There's not a lot of control feel here, as you'd expect in a pickup truck, but Saleen's modifications make the F-150 respond far quicker and far more predictably. We noticed much the same performance in the Roush Stage 3, which ran through our slalom test on similar tires at 57.3 mph.

We had several back-to-back runs with the Saleen S331 and a stock Ford F-150 FX2 through a very long autocross circuit, and they highlighted the sport truck's incredible stability and cornering grip. We also appreciated the willingness of the rear tires to follow the fronts, unlike the stock F-150, where the back end of the truck always wants to be the first to the finish line.

Another key to the Saleen's personality is its ability to actually stop, instead of simply catching the brake pads on fire before you inevitably smack into something. The race-bred brakes of the Saleen S7 sports car with their six-piston front calipers and massive 15-inch brake rotors are optional equipment for the Saleen sport truck, and we'd never consider a 130-mph, 5,500-pound pickup without them.

Modern muscle car
You have to be something of an outlaw to wheel down your street in a Saleen pickup, especially since you might be towing around your own gasoline tanker to keep it on the road. Plus you're going to have to be sitting on a pretty thick wallet, as the pricing of the 2007 Saleen S331 Supercharged Sport Truck begins at $53,999, and we drove a fully optioned example that came in at $62,939. (There's also the normally aspirated S331 3V version, which starts at $43,999.)

But we shouldn't forget that the pickup market is huge, and there's lots of enthusiasm for special-purpose models. Saleen makes its mark because it attracts those who are more interested in a finished truck than in picking and choosing speed parts from its catalog.

A hot-rod pickup truck might be an outlaw on your street for the moment, but there are plenty of truck guys who reckon this is a good thing.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.





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Cool.;)
 
somehow this thing is fascinating.....the front looks a little bit too high and misses fog lights.....but I still somehow like it.......any engine sounds around? I bet it sounds nasty.
 
Looks cool in red:

http://img295.imageshack.**/img295/2789/saleens331crossedup500el1.jpg

I like the shape of the side-exhausts and they way they fit into the side skirts.
 
I hadn't even noticed the lack of fog lights, that needs to be an option. A silly question from me is, would 4wd help or hurt this truck.
 
Ha only Americans like it so far. But it is pretty cool compared to the normal truck, especially in person. The interior is a huge upgrade.
 
Very cool. But:

/still a truck.
//still a Ford.
///buy it and tell the world your penis is flaccid and small.
////dont be an idiot and think I am serious.
 
Damn, fast AND can tow!
 
Ha only Americans like it so far. But it is pretty cool compared to the normal truck, especially in person. The interior is a huge upgrade.

I'm not a Yank and I think that's sweet!
 
maybe the super truck is America's niche market now that we know they can corner. All we need to do now is improve steering feel and fuel economy.

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400hp
480 torque
R.I.P.
 
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Technical experiment. This Ford "Lightning-Bolt" showed they could put a 5.7 v8 into a Ford Ranger and I think it was better. They never built it though and it would be nice in a toned down environment today, a ranger with 320 hp naturally aspirated wouldn't be half bad.
 
It's cool and all but I bet for the price of that truck you could get a Saleen Mustang or some other suped-up 'Stang. I'm not a Ford guy anyways but would still like to try it out.

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Silverado SS FTW!
 
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