Shelby GT500 vs. Saleen S281E

Discussion in '2007 - 2014 Shelby GT500 Tech' started by chuckdoc, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Your thoughts?

    The Saleen has race suspension components, a twin-screw blower, the 'wow' factor - sans the Shelby name, increased rarity if you look at 281e build numbers, more options - including a glass roof on coupes, and higher pricetag. Initial reports show better 1/4 mile performance, probably due to slight weight advantage on the Saleen.

    Saleen S281e price = 60-70k depending on options and convertable. The Shelby price is approaching that with dealer mark-ups.

    I like both, but pose the question to see what everyone else thinks.

  2. When you compare the two at similar money, the S281E certainly looks like the far smarter buy, short-term and long-term.

    But the fact is that the current mark-up-fest on Shelbys is TEMPORARY, so it's only fair to compare MSRP vs. MSRP, at which point the Shelby becomes the more logical choice, if logic is a significant part of your thought process when buying a car.

    One does not buy a top-line Saleen based on just performance and logic. You've also got to have enough desire for the rarity, exclusivity, and plain-old novelty of the thing, to toss the significant extra cash towards it. It's not that they aren't worth the money. It's just a different priority-set/array that you apply.

    But you bring up, indirectly, a good point. If people are scratching $60K-$65K checks for new Shelbys, why the hell wouldn't they instead order-up a far more exclusive S281E for the same money?? Hmmmm.....

    It has something to do with the fact that Carroll Shelby could lend his name to corncob toilet paper, and Mustang faithful would line up to scrub their buts with it!! ;) ;) :D
  3. personally id rather have the gt500, theres something about a built 5.4 with a blower and a 6spd that really appeals to me. the latest saleens are great cars with great performance but lets face it.... they really dont have anything done to them that you couldnt do yourself. they really amount to bolt on cars with a proprietary body kit and a great name. badass cars dont get me wrong, but still mustangs. plus i think lots of people have to actually see the new gt500 to base an opinion. the car is a so much better in person.
  4. 4v 5.4 > 3v 4.6

  5. The Saleen S281E is far more than what you're giving it credit for. The entire engine is hand-built (with trick internals), and then the entire chassis and driveline is modified. If you really sat down with a pen and paper and calculator, and added up what it would COST you to build a S281E in your garage from a new Mustang GT (I'm talking the whole enchilada here, wheels, body kit, tailpanel, exhaust with electronic dumps, interior with trick seats, EVERYTHING), you'd zip past $50 grand before you knew it, not including the value of your time and labor, and you'd be in that garage for a whole winter... And at that point, what really IS the point? The Saleen will always have a collectible value, and your clone would just be a home-built clone with far less value, meaning in the big picture, you just pee-d a bunch of money away, ironically thinking that you were SAVING money....

    I did the same math before I ordered my '97 S351. Lightning short block, aluminum 'brock heads, polished forged crank, Venolia rods and pistons, all the machine-work, intake, fuel system, blower system, T56 6-speed, Torsen diff, chassis, wheels, Brembo brakes, Borla exhaust, Recaro seats, and then all the additional details needed to actually effect the car. When you added all of the parts it would take up, and added the cost of the donor car, it was over $55 grand, BACK IN '97!!! There was no point in building a clone myself, and it was eye-opening looking at the long long list of hardware that Saleen actually puts into their top-line models. Regular S281's are a different story entirely. But when you're talking about the "Extreme", you're talking about a boat-load of pricey hardware.
  6. Both great cars but the Shelby GT500 was the one on the cover on just about every car magazine for two straight months, there is just something about the history of the car that throws logic out the window.
  7. MK2,

    I agree with the publicity, but once you get beyond that and get your pocketbook out, you start sizing these s197 platform special editions up. In my mind, the latest news of the Shelby GT being released in 'probably' greater numbers than the GT500 makes me think having a car by Shelby may not be a rare thing in the next 2 years. That being said, the Saleen s281 Extreme edition starts to look like a better choice due to its rarity and performance.

    I love both cars, I even like the 370hp Parnelli edition coming out (302 Boss Style).. There's a lot of editions and choiced based off of this current platform, and its a testament to the retro approach of this platform that has pulled many more people into the mustang camp.

  8. Chuck...I agree with you.
  9. by the way MK2,

    Nice car. :flag:

  10. which 281 E are you talking about?

    01-04 E or whatever years it was....>Shelby in looks and performance for the weight and price.

    05+....Shelby for the looks, power, and price...
  11. I'm talking about the 05 to present. As RICKS said, the present S281-E is a 550hp monster and the 2007 is likely going up in the 600s. :jaw:

    There were like 10 of these built in 05 and around 80-100 total built in 06. They only build per completed order. That's what I call rare. These things are holding their value on resale too. Just wondered if anyone's really looked into these things as another option.
  12. Attached Files:

  13. The Roush styling additions don't do it for me. They just don't "flow", or look cohesive/integrated. The wing and c-pillar covers scream "J.C. Whitney", and the nose is disproportionately big and bulk and the angles are all awkward and unnatural. If there's one thing I'll tip my hat to Saleen on, his designs always look cohesive and attractive, rather than the design-by-committee look that Roush has. Just my opinion, as style is relative.
  14. 550 hp?? I did not know that....That makes the story a little different.
  15. +1
  16. Aren't people forgetting the WEIGHT factor here too?
    Stock Mustang: 3450lbs
    GT500: An enormous 3920lbs
    Saleen Extreme: 3550lbs

    Where the hell does all that weight come from?

  17. Good question... the engine block from the larger 5.4L is steel, not aluminum like the Ford GT. The added weight of the forced induction upgrades compared to the Saleen...

    Most of the Shelby's extra weight is in the engine compartment. This effectively makes this car handle that much worse with the bias way up front. Compare the understeer you get from this to a nicely balanced mid-engine sports car like, say, a Acura NSX. You will feel the difference and see a huge performance drop at the track. Of course, a 500 hp beast will most likely smoke the much lighter Acura with 290 hp in the 1/4 mile, if that's your thing.

    I've been thinking about the comparison of S-281e to GT500 for a while now and I've come to the conclusion that, stock for stock, the Saleen wins out. If you want an awesome blank slate to mod for a 1000 hp beast, then the Shelby is the way to go. Its just more displacement to begin with.



  18. Actually, I do have an 06 S281E on order. I am suppose to take delivery in about 4 weeks. It will be either the last one or one before the last for the year. The reason that I bought it over the GT500 was because I didnt want to pay the $20k over MSRP for 'fluff'. Besides that, I got a great deal on the E. It did order the convertible in Silver. I got really lucky, I bought it with Ford's 0.0% financing that they just offered with $0 down. My car broker also got the car for few thousand under MSRP (I still dont know how he did that since the cars are only made to order). Ford's financing was only available to cars on the lot but since Saleen provided us with a VIN for the build, we placed that VIN on the loan papers and got the deal approved.

    Looking forward to my new E. :)

  19. Congrats!! It's not tough to get a good deal on a Saleen, because there's a limited market demand for them. While everybody is going ape$hit scrambling to be first on the block with a GT500, Saleens have a tough time moving off the showroom floor. It's just supply and demand, across a far smaller potential demographic, a Saleen is a niche car. When I ordered my '97 S351 Speedster, Saleen did not have a car "in stock" that suited my specification to build from. Therefore, I special-ordered a black '97 6-cyl convertible, and that got dropshipped to Saleen for the S351 build. Almost all S351's began life as 6-bangers from Ford. Makes them difficult to insure, because the insurance companies run the VIN #, and then only want to cover you for the value of a 6-banger Mustang... Anyhow...

    Saleen pricing is a bit misleading. They put "window stickers" in the cars that show a total delivered price. In reality, the selling dealer has a factory invoice for the original car from Ford, and then an invoice from Saleen for the Saleen transformation. You add the MSRP from the Ford invoice to the Saleen invoice, and you get the MSRP that is printed on the Saleen window sticker. The selling dealer makes profit both from Ford, AND from Saleen, i.e. there's a dealer-cost and MSRP from both places.

    When I bought my S351, I got a nice deal. I ordered the donor car for straight dealer invoice. Then, the dealer charged me the Saleen S351 Speedster package at his bare cost. In short, he only kept the dealer holdback on the 6-cyl. It was one of those deals where the deal was just gravy to them. If I hadn't ordered the car, they never would have seen it anyhow, so they took the holdback as payment for shuffling paper. They've had my business ever since.

    Bottom-line, the purchase price on my S351 was a full $8 grand under the Saleen MSRP. Eight thousand OFF. Beats the hell out of paying $15K ABOVE MSRP for a mass-produced Ford, ya know?? ;) ;) :D
  20. The simple answer is to just get both!