Bargain Muscle Car: 2002 Saleen S281 Mustang

To Mustang lovers, the name Saleen brings images of additional styling and performance modifications that can leave them drooling in envy (or anticipation, if they are buyers)! This 2002 S281 was purchased as a gift to a college graduate, and her father is now selling the car on after 18 years of ownership. You’ll have to travel to Peachtree City, Georgia to pick it up if you win the auction. It’s listed for sale here on eBay and features a buy it now of $20,000 but the option to make lower offers is there as well.

The monochrome white treatment has a lot of eye appeal and I’d even argue that the body modifications are tastefully done. You’re correct if you’ve deduced that I like this car. I happen to be racing a 1994 Mustang this weekend and this car would be a substantial upgrade, both in appearance and performance! This car was actually upgraded to 281SC specifications shortly after purchase with the addition of a Saleen supercharger along with headers, a roll bar, subframe connectors, and upgraded Brembo brakes.

According to the Saleen Owners Club, there were only 202 S281 coupes produced in 2002 — you are unlikely to see another one coming down the road (unless you are going to a Mustang convention).

Saleen was considered the manufacturer of these highly modified Mustangs rather than Ford, and the VIN plate shows that.

The interior is largely original but does feature five-point harnesses that replaced the original belts and a roll bar that makes the rear seat useless for people. If you’ve ever sat in the back of an SN95 or New Edge Mustang, you’ll know that’s no great loss! And with only 41,293 miles showing it’s understandable that the interior looks as nice as it does, even after 18 years!

A factory-converted S281 SC was rated at 350 horsepower, and given the additional headers on this car, I can’t see it making less than that. What a fun ride! Twenty grand isn’t cheap but it seems like a relative bargain. Let us know what you think in the comments below:

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  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    I’m with Jamie on this one, I like it too. Contrary to many such efforts, I think the body mods come across fine. Plenty of horsepower. I’m not a white fan, but it looks good here. About the right mileage such that one isn’t afraid of adding miles, but not so low that one would be diminishing its value if driven.
    In the big picture, not terribly expensive. The new owner should enjoy this ride.

    Like 7
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    For the condition it’s in the price is pretty decent. This would be really cool to take to a Cars and Coffee event

    Like 4
    • Superdessucke

      As long as you’re careful driving out of it and don’t try any fishtails!

      Like 4
  3. CanuckCarGuy

    I’ve always liked the New Edge styling, one of my preferred Mustang designs…other than the awkward looking rear spoiler integration, this Saleen looks very sharp. I do prefer the uber clean look of the Bullitt that Ford rolled out in the New Edge, but this one definitely exudes confidence!

    Like 7
  4. Tom c

    A lot of fun driving for the dollar here , and that’s what cars are for folks. Driving.

    Like 6
  5. JCA

    I think the new edge mustangs were a great design and will be a future collectable. And you can’t go wrong with this low mile limited Saleen version for around this price. But I agree with others and i’m not a fan of the white out treatment here. Its a little much with this design. Somehow the all white look went better with the fox body LX 5.0 conversions and its simpler design. This car in black, grey or even silver would be ideal.

    Like 2
  6. Steve R

    Lots of car for the money. A good deal for someone that is into Saleen Mustangs.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  7. FrankY Member

    All I got when I graduated from college was a hug , congrats and now you can find a good job. I did still have my 74 Dodge Dart Convertriple though but sold it when I got my “good job”

    Like 1
  8. Christopher Gentry

    Had a 99 mustang. It was just a V6. But it had a K&N cold air system , twin pipes , 5 speed , smoked headlights and taillights all on crager reverse torque. Maybe wasn’t real fast. But she was fun , fast enough for a daily , and looked sharp and sounded like a V8. My kids can attest to the discomfort of the back seat

    Like 1

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