1-Of-1: 2000 Ford Explorer Saleen XP8

It is easy to claim a unique status for any classic car, but in the case of this 2000 Saleen XP8, the owner holds documentation from Saleen verifying the fact that this really is a “1-of-1” vehicle. These were a very rare vehicle when new, so I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Roger for referring what could truly be classed as a sporty SUV through to us. It is located in Villa Park, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The XP8 was a fairly expensive SUV when it was new, but you can park this one in your driveway by handing the owner $7,500.

In typical Saleen fashion, the XP8 package brought some significant cosmetic changes to the Explorer’s exterior. Before tackling the body enhancements, it is worth noting that Saleen dropped the Explorer’s ride height by 2″ to improve both the handling and the appearance. The body enhancements include side skirts, a front valance, bumper covers, door cladding, and a rear spoiler. All of these enhancements were designed by Phil Frank, and they certainly give the vehicle a distinctive look. Also unique to the Saleen is the 18″ alloy wheels, and these were available in several colors and finishes, depending on body color choice. Looking at the wheels on this Saleen, it is hard to tell whether a couple of them have some damage on the edges, or if someone has just been a bit sloppy with the tire black. The paint looks like it is in good condition, while the additional Saleen body parts seem to be in good order. This is a relief because with very low production totals, finding replacements for any of these parts if they become damaged is bordering upon the impossible. Speaking of production totals, that is something over which hangs quite a large question mark. Saleen themselves admit that their record-keeping on the XP8 wasn’t great, so verifying just how many were built is a challenge. They readily admit that the total was well below 300. Conventional wisdom puts the figure at around the 265 mark, although I have also seen some fairly reliable sources that place the figure as low as 122. The fact is, we will probably never know what that exact figure is. The owner also claims that he holds documentation from Saleen verifying that his vehicle is 1-of-1. The sticking point here is the fact that he doesn’t elaborate on just what it is that makes his vehicle unique. Still, that’s a question that potential buyers will be able to ask.

If you were about to hand over the best part of $38,000 for a new XP8 in 2000, you really needed to feel like you were participating in a special experience, and Saleen did attempt to make the interior feel quite special. The interior featured unique instrumentation, some splashes of carbon-fiber trim, a premium stereo, power windows, air conditioning, cruise control, and a few other trinkets and toys. What wasn’t included in the package was the leather-clad Recaro seats that you see inside this Explorer. These feature power adjustment, but they also represented a $4,000 extra over and above the standard sticker price. By and large, the interior of this XP8 looks to be in good condition. The only significant flaw is the common sight of wear on the bolster edges of those deeply sculpted front seats. This hasn’t deteriorated too far, so a good upholsterer should be able to revive them without the need for the next owner to consider replacing the covers. We also don’t get any photos of the engine, but of the two that were available for XP8 buyers in 2000, the most potent was the supercharged 302ci V8, pumping out 286hp. This Saleen doesn’t feature that engine but does come equipped with the “base” 302, which produces 222hp. Hooked to the back of that is a 4-speed automatic transmission, and while an AWD version was available, this transmission sends the power to the rear wheels only. Also fitted as standard fare were power steering, along with 4-wheel disc brakes with 3-channel ABS. Early production versions were fitted with 4-pot front brake calipers and 13″ discs, but these proved to be troublesome and were quickly replaced. The owner states that the XP8 has a genuine 83,000 miles on the odometer. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds evidence to verify this, but he does say that the vehicle is very reliable, is fun to drive, and that everything works as it should.

There is no doubt that the Saleen XP8 is a rare vehicle, but just how rare will seem to depend on who you talk to. What is interesting about the XP8 is the fact that it barely rates a mention in the official Saleen history, which is a curious omission. One fact that we can be certain about is that the total was definitely less than 300 vehicles, and it isn’t clear just how many survive today. When these come onto the market today, they consistently achieve prices of $12,000 or more, depending on condition and options. A full-loaded supercharged example in pristine condition will easily sell for $25,000 or more, but unsurprisingly, the naturally-aspirated vehicles won’t achieve those sorts of figures. Yes, this one is essentially the “entry-level” version, but the inclusion of the Recaro seats pushes its desirability up a notch or two. The original owner would have handed over $42,000 for it in 2000, but you can have it now for $7,500. That’s some serious depreciation, but when you compare it with other examples available on the market at present, the asking price does seem to be very competitive. If you are seeking an SUV with a bit of attitude, then maybe this is one that is worth some serious consideration.

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Comments

  1. Frank T

    The reason the price on this Saleen Explorer is low is it has a salvage title per ad details….Not verified by seller but it explains a lot….

  2. Dave

    Never heard of one until this one. Was it an entry to compete with the GMC Typhoon and GMC Syclone market? Pretty cool.

    Like 1
  3. TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

    That house tells me they could afford to have Saleen build them a 1 of 1

    Like 2
  4. Fran

    Another one of one. I saw 10 one on ones at Ford carlise last year! Lol

    Like 1
  5. David

    222HP with a 4 speed automatic? All show and no go!

    Like 1
  6. Chris

    Why !!!!!

  7. Jeff

    Really, Salvage Title?

    Like 1
  8. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    It looks
    Like something parked in a PepBoys parking lot.

    Like 1
  9. AMCFAN

    I can see the interest here. This might certainly appeal to a Mustang/Ford collector hoping to one day cash in on the Saleen connection. The ask isn’t horrible but don’t see a reason for it. It is kinda old to be a daily driver.

    With too few made get ready to be an instant people person and giving history lessons 30 seconds or less. It looks really that it has an aftermarket Honda Civic body kit grafted on.

    Sometimes there is a reason production doesn’t go past the first build. I believe Tim the Toolman Allen had a Saleen Exploder.

  10. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I had forgotten about these. I get the idea but the execution didn’t really do it for me. Maybe in a dark color it would look better? I always liked these Explorers, especially the square-nosed first editions in Eddie Bauer trim. Perhaps someone with a Saleen Mustang would like this for a low-cost complement.

    Interesting that Saleen apparently doesn’t know how many were built. To me that is very surprising. It is not like they were made back in the Stone Age.

  11. Nick Fantasia

    I had one in 2000. Handled great but rode awful. Unless you had the supercharger they were slow. The racecraft wheels were recalled and cobra wheel were the replacement. That looks the case here. The number on the front bumper cover is the production run. Mine was 13, this car shows 18.

    Like 1
  12. Sara

    Is this still available?

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