2005 Saleen Mustang S281 SC

2005 Saleen Mustang

Compared to Saleen’s previous tuning programs, the S281 Mustang is their most radical creation yet. With a custom suspension, longer wheelbase, and a patented supercharger, Saleen proudly calls it ‘all-new’.

Supercharged Engine

Saleen has been perfecting supercharging since the mid 1980s, and in 1999, they introduced a supercharged version of the S281. The S281 SC quickly rose to the top of the Saleen sales charts, surpassing its normally aspirated counterpart.

The 2005 S281 SC features an innovative supercharger design called the Saleen Series VI integrated TwinScrew supercharger. This design integrates the intake manifold, blower housing/assembly, and intercooler into one compact unit. The wider intake manifold allows for increased airflow, and the twin screws push 2300 cc of air per rotation, delivering more power with lower stress and temperatures.

Integrated Features

The S281 SC boasts several integrated features, including a bypass for low-speed running to reduce heat buildup in the engine, long downdraft runners for improved flow, minimal bends for maintenance ease, and a second cooler located in the airdam below the engine. Overall, these enhancements result in a supercharged V8 that generates an impressive 400 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.


The S281 SC features an innovative variable exhaust system with twin mufflers and vacuum-actuated valves that open at a specified back pressure. This design allows for increased engine torque, a free-flowing exhaust system, and compliance with pass-by noise regulations. Not to mention, it produces some delightful exhaust sounds at wide-open throttle. The system also includes a full 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust, from the manifold outlet to the tip of the exhaust pipes.

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Suspension & Handling

Saleen developed special springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars to ensure precise cornering and control body roll. High durometer rubber bushings provide the direct steering response that Saleen cars are known for. The all-aluminum design of the new engine reduces weight on the nose, balancing the car with a 53/47 percent front-to-rear weight distribution.

Wheels & Tires

All three S281 models come standard with Saleen-designed 20-inch alloy wheels. The front wheels are 9 inches wide, while the rears are also 9 inches wide. High-performance radials are equipped on all S281s, with sizes at 275/35ZR20 for all wheels. Optionally, ultra-high performance Pirelli P-Zero Rossos can be fitted with 275/35ZR20s on the front and 275/40ZR20s on the rear 10-inch wide wheels.

Exterior Design

The S281’s exterior design sets it apart from the crowd. Modified from front to rear, the styling cues command attention. Its long hood and short rear deck highlight the Saleen muscle beneath, while the alloy wheels and aggressive rubber fill the wheel wells.

The design of the S281 also includes elements inspired by the Saleen S7 supercar. The lower front grille opening, hood vents, rocker panel side skirting, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser all contribute to both form and function. In particular, the supercharged S281 SC features a distinct hood, rear wing, and quarter window.

Up front, integrated turn signals and available High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights enhance visibility. The Saleen-designed headlamp assemblies incorporate the industry’s first bi-functional Xenon/HID lamp, providing 40 percent more light in both low and high beam functions compared to conventional lamps.

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Interior Design

Saleen takes pride in creating a performance-focused driving environment for its automobiles. With the 6-inch gain in wheelbase, the S281 Mustang maximizes comfort and ergonomics. Taller drivers will appreciate the increased headroom and shoulder room, while rear passengers will enjoy more legroom and shoulder room in their sculpted bucket seats.

The S281’s interior features Saleen leather seats with louvered head restraints and side bolstering for greater support. Power seat controls are conveniently positioned on the outboard side, and the three-spoke steering wheel offers rake adjustment. Saleen high-grip, racing-inspired brake and throttle pedals are perfectly placed for easy heel-and-toe downshifting, and the short-throw shifter lever falls right to hand. Additional Saleen exclusives include unique gauges, satin aluminum trim, Saleen door sill plates, and S281 floor mats.


Q: How much horsepower does the 2005 Saleen Mustang S281 SC have?

A: The 2005 Saleen Mustang S281 SC produces an impressive 400 horsepower.

Q: What is the unique feature of the exhaust system in the S281 SC?

A: The S281 SC’s exhaust system has a variable design with twin mufflers and vacuum-actuated valves that open at a specified back pressure.

Q: What are the standard wheels for the S281 models?

A: The S281 models come equipped with Saleen-designed 20-inch alloy wheels.


The 2005 Saleen Mustang S281 SC is a true testament to Saleen’s expertise in supercharging and performance tuning. With its impressive power, innovative design, and distinct styling cues, the S281 SC stands out as a top contender in the world of high-performance Mustangs.

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