Brian Black and Tony Lanahm believe in striking when the iron's hot, capitalizing on the opportunity ahead of them. The Longwood, Florida, residents grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit. Brian and his brother Robbie were partners in Black's Automotive, a performance car dealership in Longwood specializing in Mustangs, with a slant toward Saleen models.
Brian has even owned a few Saleens himself, like the Beryllium S281 Extreme we featured a few years back. That S281E is extremely rare, and that's what drove Brian to get it. From his obsession with all things Saleen, Brian was able to forge a relationship with another automotive entrepreneur in Steve Saleen.
Even through all changes of the last few years, Brian has remained a staunch Steve Saleen supporter. So when Brian sold out of Black's Automotive to start SuperCars of America (www.supercarsofamerica.com) with Tony, they chose Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars as their ride-along partner. The Mustang you see on these pages, EU-01, is the result of Brian and Tony's entrepreneurial spirit mixed with an SMS Signature Series 302 Mustang.
Partnering in SuperCars of America, the duo's goal is taking good, old-fashioned American horsepower to compete against Europe's best on their own turf. "Tony's automotive background and experience is truly second to none," Brian says. "Having Tony on this team increases our chances of success exponentially. Every decision has been made between the both of us."
The exterior of the '11 SMS...
The exterior of the '11 SMS 302 is left stock by SuperCars of America. Why mess with a good thing? The SMS-added body panels are made from Reaction injection-molded plastic. These components include the front and rear bumper covers, side skirts, front splitter, rear diffuser, and the high-downforce rear spoiler. No doubt, the spoiler will be put to the test on the roads of Europe. Steve Saleen says the body panels go through a rigorous test to make sure it's the most aerodynamic package available for the car. "The '11 SMS exterior package should be right at home on the Autobahn," Steve says. The SMS five-spoke wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero treads.
Knowing the Europeans would have home-field advantage over many automotive offerings, Brian and Tony chose to stick with what they know ... as a starting point, they chose Steve Saleen, specifically SMS' 302 Mustang. To bring a different flavor to European shores, the SuperCars of America EU-series Mustang would not only bring an SMS Mustang to its market, but a twin-turbocharged SMS Mustang. Brian and Tony needed to differentiate the EU-series from SMS offerings, and the twin turbochargers proved to be the perfect addition.
For those trying to get a grasp on this car, let's break it down. The SMS Mustang 302 is an '11 GT at the core, which means it boasts the new-for-'11 5.0-liter engine, which has enthusiasts stoked. Now let's add to that its SMS Supercars package, of which dreams are made. We all know Steve Saleen knows how to package a car, but wait, there's more ... on top of the SMS Mustang's 440 hp, SuperCars of America throws in an Exile Turbo Systems twin-turbocharger system. Can you say big steam?
As with everything that seems too good to be true, there is a catch. You and I won't be able to buy the car turnkey from SuperCars of America-unless we move to Europe, which all of a sudden looks really attractive.
Steve Saleen gave SuperCars of America his blessing for this upgrade, but based on the premise that the cars would only be sold in Europe. That's understandable since the EU-series would step on the toes of SMS' own supercharged offering. However, if you would want to, say, buy an '11 SMS Mustang 302 and send it to Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida, for an Exile Turbo Systems twin-turbo kit, that's your business.
What does Steve Saleen think of all this? Truthfully, Brian was nervous about talking to Steve about his idea. "We're proud of the SMS cars," Steve Saleen said. "We've always supported pushing the envelope, so it'll be interesting to see how well the car is received and how well the car performs overall. The chassis is capable of handling the power increases."
On whether SMS would support a twin-turbo offering here in the states, Steve has learned to never say never, so it is possible that if the car does really well, SMS could follow up its own models with a twin-turbo version.