2002 First Editions #14
Mattel has included
in this year's First Editions a model of the Saleen Incorporated American-marketed street
machine, the S7.
The S7 was conceived in 2000 and is constructed at Saleen's California facilities.
The car is marketed through exotic automobile dealers. The 19-year-old company
specializes in specialty vehicle manufacturing, and the S7 is the first offering designed
primarily for sale in the United States. The car was designed to provide racecar
performance in a road car package. Autoclave carbon fiber body panels are grafted to
a chassis consisting of space frame lightweight steel with honeycomb composite panels.
The power plant is an in-house designed 7.0-liter displacement 550hp all-aluminum V8 engine
that propels the S7 from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds and to a top speed exceeding
200 mph. The Grand-Am racing version, the S7R, exceeded expectations by winning 19 of
32 races and earning Saleen the Manufacturer's Championship for 2001. Not an automobile
for the timid, the suggested retail price of the S7 is a hefty $395,000, with annual sales
expected to be 100 vehicles per year through 2004.
The Hot Wheels version of the S7 has the overall dimensions of the full sized car.
The die-cast body is painted silver enamel, and sits over a black plastic chassis.
The body detail is fairly complete, although the panel separation lines are slightly exaggerated
while the louvers and gills-like side vents have soft relief. The chassis has no underbody
detail at all. Yet the visible portions of the lower bumper, also part of the chassis,
are neatly masked in silver enamel, which is a nice touch. The glass is dark smoked
gray plastic. The interior appears to be light gray plastic and well detailed, although it is
difficult to see through the dark windows. A tiny Saleen crest is nicely tamped on the
front of the nose, and the headlight detail is simulated with black, white and orange tampos.
The new Hot Wheels flame logo is tamped on the rear window in white, silver and black.
While the real S7 rides on six-spoke wheels with thin tires, this First Edition sports the newer
five-spoke wheels and thin tires, with fat slicks in the back. The car is manufactured in
Although the body is the only major metal component, the Saleen S7 appears to have some
heft to it, with most of the weight in the back half of the car. It sits low to the
ground, as does the actual car. The front axle is solidly mounted and the rear axle has
a little float, giving the model strong stability. Because of the fidelity to the
prototype, and the glass being the only visible plastic component, the car looks surprisingly
good. And with the low center of gravity and firm axle mounting, the example I have
rolls smoothly and true. I didn't think I'd like this one, but after comparing it to
pictures of the real car, it's grown on me. Another plus is that the decorations of
this initial release duplicates the real S7 instead of being covered with loud graphics.
The Saleen S7 should perform well in all areas except for the loop, so the kids should
like it for those reasons.