Back in 1984, Steve Saleen upgraded a Fox Body Mustang with a sweet body kit, added a Racecraft suspension, larger wheels and tires, and a big-ass wing, among other cool bits. It was an instant hit and won races at the track and on the streets. If you grew up on the East Coast, it was the type of car usually driven by guys named Tony and gals named Tina. They’d do donuts next to Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel and cruise up and down the Jersey Shore all summer long.
Fast forward 35 years and despite plenty of business-related twists, turns, and detours along the way, Saleen is still kicking and still cranking out some seriously modded Mustangs. The latest Ford Mustang GT is already one hell of a car, and Saleen’s S302 White Label treatment makes it even better—despite a name that reminds us of a new line of perfume or a special batch of homegrown hooch.
The S302 White Label is the tamest pony in the Corona, California–based tuner’s present day corral, checking in with 15 more horses than the base GT at 475 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. The increase is thanks to a few minor enhancements, but mainly its performance exhaust system. The V-8 is mated to a six-speed manual transmission fitted with a fun-to-operate short-throw shifter. Mash the pedal, listen to the engine roar, drop it into gear, and away you go in a cloud of smoke.
While it’s not a supercharged beast like Saleen’s higher-spec Yellow and Black Label Mustangs—read our recent review of the 800-HP Black Label here—the ride and handling of the 35th Anniversary Edition S302 White Label has been dialed up dynamically thanks to a unique Saleen strut tower brace and a specially tuned Racecraft suspension.
Visually, the Saleen package screams, “Hey, look at me!” and you’ll get plenty of stares and thumps up while racing from stop light to stop light thanks to a Saleen-specific front fascia; a rear wing; and distinct, 20-inch five-spoke wheels that sit over bright-yellow four-piston calipers. It’s a look that was nicely complemented by our test car’s Oxford White paint and would be right at home in towns from Bakerfield to Bensonhurst, where this pumped-up pony car would be welcomed with open arms. The SALEEN windshield sticker and custom grille with a thin red accent will further announce the car’s specialness, as will that throaty growl emanating from the custom exhaust and mufflers. It was certainly sweet music to our ears.
If you’re the massive-horsepower type, you can always step up to Saleen’s aforementioned supercharged Yellow Label with 715 horsepower or the super-duper-charged 800-hp Black Label. We had a chance to sample the White and Black Labels back-to-back, and while we appreciate the latter’s extra ponies, the White Label version is more tractable and feels just right. Don’t get us wrong, the Black Label is wicked fun, but is more akin to a race horse with anger-management issues—exhilarating to ride but difficult to tame.
Inside, the White Label looks a lot like a similarly priced 2019 Mustang GT Coupe Premium trim model minus the leather-trimmed seats. Our Saleen test car came with black cloth seats instead, albeit with Saleen-branded headrests. It also featured a sporty Saleen steering wheel in leather and suede, white face gauges, a billet shifter, Saleen quarter window covers, and B-pillar trim. The limited-production car also sports a serialized dash plaque and embroidered floor mats to let any passengers who happened to completely overlook the exterior cosmetics know this isn’t your garden-variety Mustang.
The Saleen 302 White Label also comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Even better, the test model we drove checked in at a relatively affordable $47,195. If you’re looking for a somewhat unique Mustang that can roam at the front of the pack with the best stock GTs, look no further. Now excuse us—we need to drive this beast to Nathan’s for some clams.
2019 Saleen S302 White Label Specifications
|ENGINE||5.0L 32-valve DOHC V-8; 475 hp @ 7,000 rpm, 430 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|L x W x H||188.5 x 75.4 x 54.3 in|
|WEIGHT||3,750 lb (est)|
|0–60 MPH||4.2 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph (est)|