What’s New for 2019 Saleen Mustang S302 Black Label?
At its time of production, The Ford Mustang Cobra R was the fastest Ford factory Mustang ever produced. Models such as the GT350 have surpassed it in track performance, but we’ll likely never forget the Mustang Cobra R. Cobras are a special type of Mustang. Owning a Mustang is an American dream come true. It’s not the most fuel-efficient car, but since only 300 models of this vehicle were made, it’s still desirable to car fanatics.
This body style Saleen first started by being converted from standard V6 and V8 GTs. The S-351 models were produced by taking out the stock V6 and V8 engines and putting in their own Saleen 351ci V8s. The S-281 4.6L models came about in 1996 as an option for customers not wanting to upgrade to the larger S-351 5.8L V8. Some notable SN95 Saleens are the SA15 and SA20. For the company’s 15th anniversary, the SA15 came about in 1998 and they all came with superchargers and yellow paint with black stripes and white accents. With the SA20, this was released in 2003 and they were all white convertibles. This was in celebration of 2 decades of Saleen’s collaboration with Ford. Only ten of these vehicles were released and those willing to pay the high premium for this model also got a free trip to Saleen’s 7th annual car show with a chance to meet Steve Saleen himself.
About that exterior: the Saleen Mustang White Label is one great-looking machine. The front end features a unique front fascia with a unique black billet-style grille with a red accent, along with an aggressive lower fascia. The modifications fix the sad and frumpy appearance introduced by the facelifted 2018 Mustang, giving the pony the more aggressive look it deserves.
The 302 Black Label just doesn’t hit that hard off idle or for the first third of its tachometer – there just isn’t much grunt below 4,000 rpm, much like its Roush counterpart. Botch a launch by dropping the Saleen’s clutch without enough revs and the 5.0-liter falls on its face as you wait for it to build rpm and boost. It’s not nearly as ferocious as a Challenger Hellcat, nor does it have that car’s traction problems (even with the Widebody’s massive 305-mm tires). We should note that Saleen uses the Mustang GT’s MT-82 six-speed, factory clutch and limited-slip differential with an optional 3.73 rear axle ratio. A 3.55 ratio is standard.
Still, the S302 Black Label reminded us of the vagaries that come with driving a tuner car. We had a couple of glitches with power delivery at full throttle. The speedometer does the opposite of many performance cars and reads a few mph lows as if the car weren’t enough of a ticket magnet already. And while we can’t be sure, it seemed like the gravelly noises from the supercharger became louder as our time with the car marched on. Based on experience, it’s likely that the factory supercharged Shelby GT500, like the Hellcat, will be a better integrated and more holistic product for less money. That said, the GT500 will only come with a dual-clutch automatic, whereas the Black Label gets a six-speed manual.
Judging by its appearance, there’s no doubt that this is a stunning Mustang. Since it was custom designed by ROUSH, which also manufactured F-150s, a Stage 1 and Stage 2 Mustang, and several other types of Mustangs, you can be assured careful consideration went into the placement of each part. Just take a look at its defined grill and sharp white 9006 led headlight bulb conversion kit; it’s entirely immaculate.