My Second Mustang: 1999 Saleen S281

My second Mustang was a Saleen. It was a vibrant chrome yellow. It was supercharged. It was also original. It was a fun car.

After soccer season was over my senior year at college, my fiancée, now wife, and I decided to get another Mustang. I found this Saleen, and I became its current owner.

This Saleen had 350 horsepower with 410 ft-lbs of torque. It could do 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. It had 18×9 rims up front, and 18×10 in the rear. But it had 3.08 gears to avoid shifting and allow it to reach 60mph in 1st gear. It could not break traction in the corners like I was used to from my Cobra. So, I had the gears swapped for 3.55s when I discovered that the seal on the rear end needed replacement. What a difference! These gears made it much more fun to drive.

Other than gears, I didn’t change anything on the car. It looked great as it was, and it had plenty of power and speed.

I ended up selling it for multiple reasons over two years later. First, the supercharger needed to be rebuilt, which I could not afford. Second, the front right shock was bad due to an inconvenient pot hole. I needed to replace the shock at least as well as some other components, and I couldn’t afford it. Third, the car sometimes would stall when at a stop; I could not figure out why, nor could Folsom Lake Ford. Fourth, the clutch needed replacement. Fifth, gas was upwards of $5 per gallon. Ultimately, I just had to sell it.

I sold it to an all cash buyer from Oakland. Before him, I had an interested buyer who was trying to buy it for much lower than low balling. I refused. Just when it seemed doubtful that I would sell it, I received contact from this guy in Oakland. He drove to Folsom to see the car. While I was showing him the car, smoke started coming from the engine. It turns out that the AC clutch was bad. The clutch locked up but the belt kept rotating; as a result, the belt began to melt due to the friction, which caused the smoke. I thought I was not going to be able to sell it now. I was wrong. The buyer offered to keep the offer on the table. I was asking for $15,000. He offered $14,000. In addition, he offered to go halves on the repairs, and he would come back the following weekend to pick up the car. He left an all cash deposit. Mid week, he called me and raised his offer. He said, “That car is worth 14.5, and I thought you would come back with that. So, let’s just call it 14.5.” And he still went halves on the repairs. In short, I sold the car, and I was happy about it for the reasons above.

But I miss having a Mustang. I miss having speed and torque. I miss having a cool car for dates. I miss being sucked in to the back of my chair when I put the petal to the metal. I miss downshifting and passing up the car in front of me without breaking a sweat. But I digress.

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