Saleen calls it a “game changer.” It’s the most powerful production(-based) Mustang ever created. And the tuner says that if I don’t write about the 302 Black Label, I have no journalistic integrity. And if I don’t drive it, I’m hiding in a hole next to… Saddam Hussein? Okay, then.

Forget about the fact that Saddam has been caught and dead for over a decade. That’s the word from Maxwell Matthewson, a marketing associate at Saleen, and a man who knows Journalistic Integrity as the former feature editor of the esteemed Truckin magazine. Here’s what he had to say in an email (emphasis mine, screen cap below):

I have tried reaching Matt and Damon numerous times to no avail. They must be in hiding since they ran the article that Saleen was going out of business. Anyway, we unveiled our 730 HP (750 on 93+ octane) 302 on Friday. Would have loved to have let Damon drive it. Oh well. Hopefully you guys will realize the value of journalistic integrity and run an article on the most powerful production Mustang ever built.

All of the photos and specs can be found on media.saleen.com. Also, let me know if you would like to come out of the hole you are hiding in, next to Saddam Hussein, and give this thing a drive around the block.

Damn, Maxwell. You make a compelling case. I’ve obviously abdicated my journalistic responsibilities by depriving readers of the knowledge that a $73,000 Mustang exists with 730 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque thanks to slapping a supercharger on top of the 5.0-liter V8. But I really don’t think that’s what this is about.

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The accusations lobbied against me – and Matt – may have something to do with the article actually written by Mike last November about Saleen’s latest financial filing. Specifically, the company had over $5 million in total liabilities, including more than $500k in unpaid payroll taxes, and a scant $7,261 in the bank.

Mike never explicitly wrote that Saleen was “going out of business”, but he did point out – based on publicly available documents – that the company’s books didn’t look healthy at the end of last September. He asked for a comment from Saleen, including its namesake Steve, but never heard back.

So how about now?

Saleen’s most recent quarterly 10-Q filing, which covers the company’s financials through the end of 2014, states that it now has $95,435 in the bank. Hey! That’s an improvement!

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Except now it has $7,045,503 in total liabilities, including $635,250 in unpaid payroll taxes, $365,998 owed to a bank by the end of March, and $1,295,705 in accounts payable “greater than 90 days past due.”

That last quote is pulled from the “Going Concern” part of the filing, which basically outlines what the company needs to do to keep the lights on.

It goes on to state:

These factors raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The Company’s independent auditors, in their audit report for the year ended March 31, 2014, expressed substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

The Company’s ability to continue as a going concern is dependent upon its ability to raise additional capital and to ultimately achieve sustainable revenues and profitable operations. At December 31, 2014 the Company had cash on hand in the amount of $95,435 and is not generating sufficient funds to cover current production and operations.

Saleen’s filing also reveals that R&D spending fell to $144,316 (from $250,130), as did its revenue, from $866,524 to $536,895 at the end of the year.

Saleen also took care of some litigation last year, including a suit “related to an engine installed by a third party vendor” where a judgement was passed in October forcing the company to pay $68,950. Additionally, Ford of Escondido is seeking payment for seven Mustangs for a total of $222,871. Both of those amounts have been added to the accounts payable portion of Saleen’s 10-Q.

But I’m sorry. This was supposed to be about an ass-kicking ‘Stang.

Saleen says, “This car is set to change the way pony cars are looked at from here on out,” with its twin-screw supercharger, S4 suspension package, 20-inch wheels, and 15-inch dimpled rotors that will “bring the car back down from hyperspeed.” That’s right. Hyperspeed!

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And now that I’ve written about the 2015 Saleen 302 Black Label™ I really feel like I’ve lived up to the “journalistic integrity” outlined by Maxwell and my other muckraking heroes.

I can just see them all now – Murrow, Cronkite, Tarbell, Blitzer – proudly smiling down from on high with the knowledge that someone out there is telling the masses about a Mustang with “black leather and suede seats accented in contrasting chevrons.”

All that being said, I absolutely do want to drive it. It’s a 730 HP Mustang. I may have no journalistic integrity, but I’m not crazy.


Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.
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