Stephen M. Saleen, founder, has been president and CEO of SMS Signature Cars, Inc. since its formation in July, 2007. He has been board chairman and CEO of Saleen Automotive, Inc. since its formation in July 2013.
Mr. Saleen is considered one of the most successful and well known automotive legends in the country. He was born and raised in Southern California, which has been the home of the “hot Rod” culture for decades. Like many of his peers, he was inspired by the performance and muscle car era of the time.
Mr. Saleen’s entrepreneurial business plan laid the groundwork for an entire new industry of design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales of high performance vehicles that were race proven and marketed for sales through showrooms nationwide; this included very successful racing programs featuring himself as a lead driver in vehicles of his design that went on to win numerous national championships.
Mr. Saleen’s approach to tie in the marketing with vendors created a never before seen collaboration of race proven parts that were subsequently used for the street cars. Mr. Saleen is recognized worldwide for his expertise in small volume vehicle manufacturing, vehicle certification processes and mass customization – creating customized products in an efficient mass – production manner. From humble beginnings in a 3 car garage to an expansive network for multiple manufacturing plants and distributions centers in North America and Asia, Mr. Saleen dominated the automotive landscape with his much respected brand.
Saleen Mustangs, Sportrucks, Saleen SSC, Saleen S351 and S281 led the way for the truly innovative and world class “Great American Supercar”, the Saleen S7, which is the most successful supercar to date, having won races at virtually every major racetrack in the worked, including Daytona (US), 24 Hours of LeMans (France), Silverstone (England), Monza (Italy), and Nurburgring (Germany). Other significant accomplishments are the engineering, development and subsequent manufacturing of Ford Motor Company’s supercar, the Ford GT (40), paint and sub-assembly of the Dodge Viper, the supercharged Harley Davidson Ford F150 and the construction of the first “running’ Camaro for its introduction in the movie “Transformers”. Numerous Hollywood films have featured Saleen vehicles such as “Fast and Furious”, “Bruce Almighty”, “Transformers” (as the Decepticon “Barricade”) and “Ironman”.
As the “History Channel” program pointed out, Steve Saleen is part of a trio of “legendary” performance car builders alongside Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche. Mr. Saleen has a bachelors degree in business from the University of Southern California.