Steve Saleen is back at the head of the Saleen brand, ending a nearly five-year stretch in which the name Saleen and the man Saleen were unrelated. Not only is the confusion over, the madness of Saleen-branded high-powered muscle cars is here to stay.
Steve Saleen left Saleen, Inc. -- the company he founded decades before -- in 2007 and started a new company called SMS Supercars, in 2008. The move was unusual, given SMS’ task – to tune modern muscle cars into veritable performance machines – was similar to Saleen’s former firm. In the years that followed, SMS Supercars continued to craft bespoke, high-powered machines while Saleen, Inc. dwindled into little more than an aftermarket parts supplier.
Things grew so ugly that when a subsequent owner of the Saleen name refused to honor warranties for vehicles crafted before its takeover, Steve Saleen and SMS Supercars agreed to provide support. Subsequently, the two firms engaged in a long legal battle over the rights to use the Saleen name.
Today, that battle appears to be over. An official release notes Steve Saleen has “successfully regained control of the Saleen brand name and products that he created and built since 1984.” The changes are immediate: SMS Supercars now bears the Saleen name.
“Although the Saleen brand is a huge part of my identity, I knew it was the vision and passion that would shine through on my signature vehicles,” Saleen said in a prepared statement. “However, it couldn’t have been done without the support of the Saleen community. The foundation and inspiration they gave me to move forward with my vision was what ultimately moved us to regain the Saleen branding. Most importantly, the Saleen community gets [its] identity back as well.”
To minimize confusion and add a dash of flair to the changeover, Saleen promises to add all SMS-branded supercars to its master registry and offer SMS supercar owners a set of Saleen badges to replace the old SMS logos.
As far as new cars are concerned, Saleen promises to keep making the range of cars formerly known as SMS Supercars. That includes Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro, all of which feature Saleen's 296 supercharger and can make anywhere between 500 and 715 horsepower depending on the state of tune.
With the legal drama behind the Saleen name for now, it would seem that all is right in the world of aftermarket supercharged muscle cars. We would suggest Saleen owners celebrate in the best way possible: with a big, smoky burnout.
Source: Saleen, Inc.