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I'll Tell You What's a Car of Real Sound and Fury: The Saleen S7R

Illustration for article titled Ill Tell You Whats a Car of Real Sound and Fury: The Saleen S7R
Photo: Getty Images

There are lots of cars that have great speed. There are lots of cars that produce great noise. Let me remind you of a car that has both great speed and volume in hand: the GT1 racing Saleen S7R.

Illustration for article titled Ill Tell You Whats a Car of Real Sound and Fury: The Saleen S7R
Photo: Getty Images

The Saleen S7 stands out as, let’s be honest, the most greatest coolest most car of recent history. Excuse me. The Saleen S7 is the Most Greatest Most Mostest Car of recent history. What other car has as many vents? What other car has as many swoops? What other car has the power, the pedals, the sense of complete determination and willfulness imbued in every inch?


That’s right, it’s the Saleen S7.

The S7R, its racing version for competition in the gone-but-not-forgotten GT1 class, was probably its greatest iteration, much more so than the Twin Turbo that can never match how you imagine it would be. The S7R was better than you’d imagine it’d be. This is the car that beat the Italian supercars in Italy, as Phil Frank, the car’s exterior designer recalled to Jalopnik some years ago:

September 8th 2004 Imola, Italy.

Privateer team Vitaphone Racing Team scores what could be the most dramatic home track upset victory in motorsports history with their Saleen S7R in the FIA GT Series. Drivers Michael Bartels and Uwe Alzen took the all American Saleen S7R Supercar to the overall victory at Ferrari’s home track Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in front of Fiat Chairman, Luca di Montemzemolo and the Italian Press against two Maserati MC12's (thinly guised Ferrari Enzos), three Ferrari 550's, three Ferrari 575's and two Lamborghini Murciélago in the GT Class.

“We were no match for the Saleen today.” Luca di Montemzemolo.

I’m a bit biased as I designed the beast.

Great looks, great history. Great. But there’s something else about it, more than just that it came out of nowhere to be very good and great. Also, it sounds excellent. Let’s take a listen of how it compares to other racing machines, heard at a recent Oldtimer test day at the Nürburgring:

Oh yes. That’s a lot of American V8 back there.

How about some more of the car alone, isolated:

Let’s hear how that sounds inside the car:

Yes, that’s quite good. Truly, should there be a car that you would need to provide both a sense of drama, and a sense of style, and a sense of achievement, and a sense of desire, and a sense of power, that car would be the Saleen S7R.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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Some GT1 Cars, Ranked

  1. McLaren F1 GTR
  2. Porsche 911 GT1
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR
  4. Saleen S7.R
  5. Aston Martin DBR9
  6. Chevrolet Corvette C6.R (before it moved to GT2/GTE)
  7. Chevrolet Corvette C5.R
  8. Maserati MC12 GT1
  9. Lister Storm GT1-
  10. Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV