2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, Part I Page 3

January 4, 2006

Saleen Celebrates 20 Years

This year, Saleen celebrates its 20th anniversary as a manufacturer of high-performance vehicles with the presentation of the S331 Sport Truck at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Saleen Sport Truck

Saleen Sport Truck

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The S331 is a Ford truck with a 450-hp V-8. The power is generated with the help of a Saleen Series VI integrated twin-screw supercharger. The truck will also be offered as a normally aspirated Sport Truck with 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

A special exhaust system with twin side pipes produces a unique appearance and provides a sporty sound. Because of the increased horsepower and distinct Saleen sound, the engineers at the company have named the truck “Thunder.”
For good handling, the trucks are quipped with Saleen Racecraft suspension pieces and special nitrogen-gas struts with linear-rate coil-over springs and a stabilizer bar in the front. In the rear the Racecraft suspension consists of a live axle, leaf springs and nitrogen-gas shocks.

The exterior features special sporty styling with a front grille that is designed to improve aerodynamics. The Supercharged S331 has a unique hood with an exhaust venting grille.

Saleen uses a racing-derived, upgraded interior with double-stitched leather sport seating. A special instrument panel and race-style pedals are among other details. The Supercharged version will be priced in the high $40,000s, whereas the Sport Truck will start in the high $30,000s.—Henny Hemmes


Benz S550 Starts Above $85,000

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class made its North American debut at the Los Angeles show, as did its sticker price. The new sedan will arrive at U.S. dealerships next month priced from $86,175 including a $775 destination charge. The new S550 provides more interior room (1.7 inches longer and an inch wider) than its predecessor, has new styling and increased power. It also had more features, but is nevertheless priced $650 below the outgoing S500. The new S550 comes with a new 5.5-liter V-8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The V-8 produces 382 hp, an increase of more than 25 percent over the previous model.—Henny Hemmes

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