MONTEREY, Calif. -- Waylaid specialty auto builder Steve Saleen is making a comeback.
Saleen, who previously lost the right to put his name on his automaking ventures, has reclaimed the brand name and launched a public company, Saleen Automotive Inc.
And having once watched his company's inventories, tools, office furniture and assets auctioned off to the public, Saleen said here over the weekend that he will produce three new heritage-series models in the coming year -- all of them revved-up homages to Detroit 3 classics.
Saleen said the three-car venture is a modest mission -- with a target of just 750 sales -- intended to help get the new company rolling toward bigger plans.
Those include more performance cars and an entry into electric cars, but Saleen declines to give specifics.
Saleen, a former race car driver, rose to fame in Detroit by producing Ford's powerful, high-end GT, and helping to build Chrysler's iconic Viper sports car.
The new company began publicly trading this summer, and posted net losses of $2.4 million on revenues of $909,561 for the three months ending June 30.
Speaking to a cheering crowd of racing fans and muscle car enthusiasts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Saleen said his Corona, Calif., production company will use existing Detroit models as the base for limited-edition Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers, all retuned and specially equipped to replicate famous race cars of the 1960s and 1970s.
The first is a George Follmer Edition Mustang, re-creating the look of Follmer's 1969 Boss 302 racer.
The second will be a Mark Donohue Edition Camaro, as a tribute to the late NASCAR and Penske Racing star. The third will be a Savage Edition Barracuda, using a Dodge Challenger base to replicate NASCAR racer Swede Savage's 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.
Saleen said the vehicles will retail through his dealer network for about $70,000 each starting next year. The Mustang will sell for just less than $75,000.
While signing autographs at his racetrack announcement, Saleen acknowledged that the past several years have been difficult, and that a large financial mission lies ahead for his business plan.
The 10Q statement Saleen filed last week contains the following somber warning to potential investors:
"Our ability to continue as a going concern is dependent upon our ability to raise additional capital and to ultimately achieve sustainable revenues and profitable operations. At June 30, 2013, we had cash on hand in the amount of $1,012,655. These funds are insufficient to complete our business plan and as a consequence, we will need to seek additional funds, primarily through the issuance of debt or equity securities for cash to operate our business."
But Saleen says the U.S. market is ripe for powerful performance cars for racing fans and collectors.