SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - September 2018

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 40 of 90

Saleen Sportruck XR The Automotive Manufacturer Goes Off-Pavement And Designs A Truck That’s Made For Baja By Dan Sanchez Photography Icon Media With an abundance of Ford Raptors on the road that have been upgraded with LED lights, tube bumpers and larger tires, Original Equipment manufacturer Saleen Automotive, took the idea one notch higher and created a high-performance off-road truck from the ground up. The company unveiled its 2019 Streetruck XR pickup, showcasing an off-road heritage combined with Saleen’s knack for building unique vehicles that can perform at the highest levels. The company’s founder and CEO Steve Saleen, is well known in the automotive industry for road-racing and building performance cars that work on the track and street, but not so much on the dirt. Despite that, he’s been building vehicles for 34 years and understands the importance of building something unique, like an off-road truck, and meeting the expectations of real off-road enthusiasts. “Our company is built around road racing and our cars are built to perform,” says Derek Hall, Director of Operations at Saleen Automotive. “We wanted to build an off-road truck that you can take out to the desert, abuse it, and still drive it daily. This is definitely not a concrete queen.” The Saleen Sportruck XR definitely has the right style to it, but aside from its appearance, there’s a lot of serious off-road DNA that enthusiasts will admire. “We partnered with off-road racer Greg Foutz who drove a Class 8 Ford Raptor during the 2017 SCORE Baja 1000,” said Hall. “He showed us what we needed to build in order to make it economical for the real enthusiast to purchase, but with the quality people expect from Saleen.” The 2019 Sportruck XR started life as an F-150 XLT Supercrew but was transformed by the engineers at Saleen with a variety of hardcore components, including a high-quality suspension system, complete with custom tuned Fox 2.5 coil over shocks in front and custom tuned Fox 2.5 Smooth Series shocks at the rear. The front suspension uses Saleen designed upper control arms and boxed lower arms that include heavy duty ball-joints for added strength. They even designed their own spindle and despite the limiting straps to keep things in place under extreme conditions, the front has 12-inches of travel. At the rear Saleen uses its own design of leaf springs, and added Fox bump stop with frame gussets to create 14-inches of travel. This is all connected to a full-floating rear axle and heavy-duty housing that is only available in the Saleen “Black Label” version of the truck, which adds the highest performance level and output available on the truck. White and Yellow Label models are also available with fewer options. Stopping power comes from 13.6-inch slotted front rotors with Alcon six-piston calipers for the front, and 14-inch rotors with six-piston calipers for the rear. The drivetrain and suspension combination is connected to Saleen’s Carbonite six-spoke alloy wheels with simulated beadlocks, measuring 17x8.5 inches and mounted to a set of General Tire Grabber X3 tires measuring 33x12.5x17-inches in diameter. Although the truck can be ordered with any of the F-150’s engine combinations, including a 415 hp 5.0L V8, a 390 hp 3.5L Ecoboost V6 or a 340 hp 2.7L Ecoboost V6, the most power available in its “Black Label” form is with a supercharged 5.0L V8 that makes 700 horsepower and 600 lbs.ft torque. All of the engine combinations come with Saleen’s Powerflash performance calibration, the company’s performance air filter and a performance-tuned three-inch diameter exhaust system with polished tips. “Steve Saleen always likes to build things that aren’t shelf-ready,” says Hall. “The Sportruck XR had to be capable and usable. Equipped with the Black Label. 5.0l V8 supercharged 700 horsepower engine, I towed my 27-foot toy hauler without any problems.” Visually, the Sportruck XR is subtle, but has all the right makings of an off-road truck worthy of Baja and other terrain. It starts with the company’s Power Hood that features heat extraction vents but still maintains the truck’s smooth body lines. The front fenders and rear quarter panels feature wider flares for the larger tires and Saleen badging. The company added a raised letter tailgate panel and their unique front grille adds to the truck’s sleek appearance. The front and rear tube bumpers are wider to match the flares and integrate Rigid LED lighting, while a large skid plate is added to the front with the Saleen logo cut out. Foutz worked with Saleen designers to create the truck’s rock sliders and they also feature integrated lighting for a unique appearance. Inside the factory upholstery features embroidered headrests and custom floormats. Black Label models feature two-tone leather upholstery. The factory gauges are replaced by Saleen white-face units and a dash plaque is included with the truck’s serial number and Steve Saleen’s signature. Although the Sportruck XR is based on the Ford XLT Sport model, Hall says that they can build the vehicle from any Ford model including Lariat and others, especially if the owner wants the interior accessories and features that are included with those models. The company says the truck is more capable than a Ford Raptor, and off-road enthusiasts wanting this truck will have to pay around $93K for the normally aspirated 5.0l version. Add the supercharged engine and the price increases to around $103K, according to Hall. While this may seem expensive, the fact is that the Sportruck XR has all the components that make up a real Baja style truck but with a full factory warranty. Saleen vehicle owners know that the company is always there for them with available parts, information, and upgrades that become available at a later date. They also know that many of these vehicles grow in value over time, making them more unique than some “tuner” vehicles on the market. Perhaps with this kind of experience, craftsmanship, and attention to detail on the Sportruck XR, off-road enthusiasts will appreciate and gravitate to the vehicle, which will be sure to cause some shock and awe once they see it on the road and especially on the dirt SJ.

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