Molly Be Good - Molly Saleen

Text by Tom Wilson
Photos by E. John Thawley Ill
ere's a question for you, Mr.
Macho Mustang Man: Do you
boast me SOJfl' to drive this supercharged S281 Saleen Mustang
through town? We didn't mink so.
But you want to. This mega-dollar, highpower Saleen is a smoking ride, and besides
me eye-searing color. it sports me all-glass
Saleen Scenic Roof, a short-throw shifting
five-speed, and extra tuning by me Saleen factory engineers under the blower hood.
Oh. but me color. That's Molly Pop. me
latest m unique Saleen hues available only
from the Southern California boutique car
builder. Believe US, me color can't be fully
captured by photography, even with ace lensman Thawley at the controls. The paint is far
too glossy, reflective, metallic, and way too far
off the standard color chart for CCD receptors to accurately capture or printing presses
to reproduce. Similar to most complex
things, Molly Pop is difficult to work with and
inherently expensive.
In fact. the color is so unique it's available
right now only if you're Molly Saleen, daughter of Steve and Uz Saleen. Next year it will
be a regular Saleen option. Regular, that is, if
you have the 18 large required.
For now, Molly Pop belongs strictly to
Saleen S281-SC number 07-00I.That's Molly
Saleen's personal car. her daily driver as she
heads to work as the store manager at The
Saleen Store in the Irvine Spectrum Mall.
Molly ordered me car before '07 Saleen
production started. Since she knows people
at me company, she was successful in snagging
~In the understatement of the year, MoUy says the
Molly Pop coupe wears a·pretty intense pamt job." It's
just the th1ng 1f regular Ford paints don't satisfy and you
have enough com for a second car in your Saleen's
paint budget. Typ1cally Saleens numbered I 0 and below
are reserved for family, friends, and promotional vehicles, but even so, we were impressed Molly was able
to swmg the coveted number I serial number. It's also
a Seleen tradition that Mustang number 6 is skipped.
That was started decades ago when that number was
accidentally overlooked and not built.
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OCTOBER 2007 5.0 87
.t.Molly was coy in descnbtng her S281 -SC's engtne. The hardware is standard for a
supercharged Saleen, but she says her friends tn the engineering department gave the
car a few extra horsepower. With a standard raung of 465 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque,
we can report the normal Stage VI supercharged Saleen Three-Valve delivers plenty of
entertaintng thrust.
the coveted number-one serial number. She was also happy to get her
dad's approval for her special color. Starting at the in-house Saleen
paint shop. Molly conferred with the experienced color men there to
arrive at eight variations of ptnk, a color she had always wanted on a
Saleen Mustang. Colors were mixed and sprayed on sample panels,
which she carried to her dad's office.A notoriously picky detail man,
Steve took the samples outside Into the sunlight for review. Without
any extended drama, they agreed on the color seen her~e's open
to new concepts as long as they're exciting-and ''Molly Pop" was
born. It joins a long and growing list of explosive paints unique to
Saleen, as detailed later.
Painting the first '07 Saleen meant stripping the starting point
88 15.0 OCTOBER 2 007
& Sporting an S281 -E front spoiler and rear diffuser. Molly's ride is also unique in the
body panel category. Astde from that, the rest of the body is pure S281 Saleen.
regular wheel
finish is a
satin alu-
minum, but
with Molly
Pop, the
chrome wheel
option was a
given. Saleen
has been
offering a cou·
pie of upgrade
wheel and tire
packages. The
wheels can
be chromed,
and several
tires are
90 6.0 OCTOBER 2007
Mustang to a bare body shell so the finicky. multi-step paint could be
evenly applied to the most remote areas. We spotted the painted unibody in the Saleen factory at this point, which was easy to do.
Eyeballing the empty shell emphasized what a massive project a firstclass repaint job is.
Along its rebirth as a Saleen Mustang. Molly's S281-SC had all
Saleen standard and optional equipment bolted on. The internally
stoek, or so we assume, Three-Valve V-8 was fitted with Saleen's Series
VI twin-screw supercharger and liquid intercooler, as well as Saleen's
upgraded cooling package. The usual Saleen spring, bar, and shock suspension was hung, along with the optional Waw link covering the 3.73
geared 8.8-inch differential hosting a Saleen MaxGrip limited-slip. The
MaxGrip is a different sort of beast-instead of gears or cones, it uses
differential rotation of the axles to power a small oil pump. in tum
powering the squeeze applied to a stack of friction plates that resemble a motorcycle or automatic transmission clutch.
Inside, the Shaker 500 sound system was upgraded with Saleen's
optional Rockford Fosgate package for some serious 150-watt, subthumping tunes. The car was covered with the glass Scenic Roof
option. Similar to the paint, the Scenic Roof is one of those truly
special perks-it's a convertible without the wind and brightens the
interior with a softened direct sunlight that really releases our
endorphins. In this case, it also keeps the Molly Pop riot containedif the roof was flaming pink, we're sure the fashion SWAT team
would show up with flat black spray cans hissing.
While you're forgiven for not noticing due to the paint shock,
Molly's S281-SC is sporting the S281-E Extreme's front splitter and
rear diffuser to put more edge on the body lines. The chrome wheels
are part of Saleen's regular wheel and tire upgrade packages. They
measure 20x9 inches in front and 20x I0 inches in back. The tires are
ultra-high-performance Pirelli P-Zero Rossas, 275/35ZR-20 in front
and 275/40ZR-20 in back. The final option is the Saleen HID headlamps. They employ a single HID lamp and a moving shield to provide
low and high beam HID illumination.
If this sounds like a lot of options, it is. In fact, Molly's ride sports
everything Saleen offers for a Mustang. short of the all-out SSOhp
Extreme engine. for those not keeping score, this drives the retail
price to hyperventilating levels. Molly says her car would retail for
"like $96,000." Our goofing off on the Saleen Web site and clicking
the option boxes In the "build" function shows something in the mid$80,000 range.lf you're swinging in this league we're happy for you,
but this isn't one of those '65 Mustang pink re-sprays Daddy used to
send his girl off to college in.
In case you're wondering, no, we haven't driven Molly's car. It
doesn't match our gray beard, and we've already driven a representative of every Saleen street vehicle ever built except the Extreme.
Besides, it's Molly's personal driver. It's something of an unexpected
challenge for her. The car is a real whip, of course, so it's a blast to
pedal, but people's reaction can make ownership a busy experience.
On the highway Molly says she gets "totally paranoid" over the
squadrons of rubber-neckers and their cell phone cameras swooping
around her rear quarters. She's constandy worried they'll drive right
into her. an understandable fear we can confirm from years of driving
wildly attractive cars. People hover around you on the freeway, sitting
in your blind spot for IS minutes, mouths drooping and brains freewheeling. After a while you wish they'd just buzz off, but instead
someone Invented cell phone cameras, so now they drive with one
hand on the wheel, the other desperately trying to hold their cell
phone steady and their brains split between maintaining directional
control and shooting the next NatJonol Geographic cover.
Once at work, Molly parks her car in front of The Saleen Store
and the experience continues. "I can't keep the women off it." Taking
temporary leave of the social contract, women literally lay across the
car to have their photo taken-again, typically by a cell phone camera. Considering Molly Pop is layered from roughly 30 clearcoats and
numerous base, tint, color. and metallic coats and therefore can't be
retouched, the fear of deep scratches can cause hives.
To be honest. everything considered, the attention is fun, especially
for a young snap like Molly. Her plans for the car center on daily
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The standard Sateen intenor is bnghtened considerably by the all-glass Scenic Roof
option. We've tned th1s roof on a couple of test cars and have really enjoyed it It's
tinted and treated 1ust enough to keep the blazmg summer sun at bay, but the air conditioner still sees cons«<erable use. We m1ght not go for the fish bowl effect in
PhoeniX. Houston, or M1am1, but wouldn't hes1tate in any northern clime.
street driving, but she's planning on one competitive event: the cross
country Cannonball Rally. She'll ship her Saleen to Miami and wheel it
back to Los Angeles, aiming for the mandated 61-mph average and
enjoying the parties at night-The event includes a single track day
event, so the car will see some track action along the way.
So guys, if you want to attract gals, forget the polished supercharger.
Just have Saleen color your world, and the gals will be leaping onto
your hood. If you have the stuff for it. that is.
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