Arts & Entertainment

“Caffeine and Saleen” event kicks off brand-new exhibit at LeMay Museum

Steve Saleen took his career away from being behind the wheel as a racecar driver, to the drawing board for racecars themselves. 

Most notably recognized for his work with Ford on a series of Mustangs, Saleen is the founder of a very elitist brand of vehicle, focused on being the highest echelon of vehicle in performance and pricing. The company manufactures vehicles and parts, geared towards incredibly high performance. For being a company of only 80 employees, Saleen sure packs a lot of horsepower. 

On November 16, Saleen — in the flesh — cut the ribbon on a brand new exhibition at LeMay’s America’s Car Museum. This exhibit tracks the progression of the Saleen brand of vehicle, from the first supercharged engine in the 1980s, to the modern Saleen coupes that surpass $100 thousand on the market today. 

The Saleen Mustang series is one of the most iconic productions from the Saleen brand. At the ribbon cutting of the “Caffeine and Saleen” event, several drivers of these powerful Fords parked their cars out front. Checking out the community driven exhibit was a great preparation for what was to come inside. For the caffeine portion of the event, two Tacoma restaurants catered the event. Coffee was provided at the event from Anthem Coffee, and doughnuts were offered and provided by the House of Doughnuts. 

All of the cars in the exhibit were impressive, but a few stood out. One was a massive Saleen truck, the Sportruck XR, that managed to produce 700 horsepower —V8 5.0L. With such a heavy body and powerful engine, one can’t help but wonder how the fuel economy is on a beast like this is. The brand does offer a few complementary models with EcoBoost engines — 3.5L or 2.7L — that have a little bit less power than the top-performing model. A crowd favorite in the exhibit was the Barricade vehicle — the villain vehicle to the Bumblebee in the “Transformers” franchise — both of which were manufactured by Saleen. 

Viewers took away a lot from the exhibit, learning that there is a lot more to Saleen than just Mustangs. After experiencing this exhibit, museum-goers will get a general impression of Saleen’s genius, his long-term passion for supercars, and an appreciation for a somewhat underrated, renegade company that has consistently knocked it out of the park.