This $1.2M Saleen S7 LM smashed the auction record

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It’s not too often that American supercars with four-figure horsepower figures hit the used market. When that American supercar hails from a manufacturer that’s raced at Le Mans, and when the car in question is both exclusive and unmistakable—that’s when supercar fans really start to take notice.

This 2007 Saleen S7 LM sold for $1,205,000 on Bring a Trailer a few weeks ago, marking the first time an S7 LM has crossed the block. The final result shattered the existing S7 auction record.

Midway through his Mustang hot-rodding journey, Steve Saleen found himself with a hankering to build his own supercar. The recipe: an in-house chassis powered by a Windsor small-block V-8, bored and stroked to 427 cubic inches. The S7 debuted in 2000 with 550 hp and, after satisfying homologation requirements, unleashed a Saleen endurance racing effort. The stripped-down S7R attacked the endurance racing circuit in Europe and America, earning a class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring within a year (2001). Towards the end of the car’s nine-year career (2010), it notched a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

saleen s7r 2003 Le Mans
Flickr/Martin Lee

In 2004, while the S7R was storming tracks around the globe, Saleen bolted twin Garrett turbochargers to the street-going S7’s mill and created the 750-hp S7 Twin Turbo. Production ranged from 2005–09. A year after the Twin Turbo’s run concluded, the S7R racing program wrapped up, and Saleen’s home-brewed supercar went quiet.

Then, in 2017, Saleen announced plans to recommission seven existing S7 examples to celebrate the brand’s Le Mans legacy. Each Le Mans edition would receive a generous power upgrade, an aggressive aero kit, and enough interior appointments to make it palatable on the road. (McLaren’s LM-spec F1 was a possible inspiration.)

The S7 LM debuted at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show with the Twin Turbo model’s 7.0-liter V-8 tuned to 1300 hp, as advertised by Saleen. (Other reports put the S7 LM’s total hp figure between 1000 and 1500 hp. Our best guess is that Saleen’s 1300 figure is an average of the engine’s output on pump versus race gas.) Power went to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transaxle.

The S7 LM’s carbon-fiber bodywork wore a combination of silver paint and simple clearcoat. Additional aero came courtesy of the Competition Package (also offered on the S7 Twin Turbo), which added a rear wing, tweaked the front and rear diffusers, and upgraded the suspension to match the higher power output. Wheels were center-lock affairs hiding Saleen-branded monoblock calipers and clad in monster rubber: Michelin Pilot Super Sports measuring 275/35 front and 335/30 rear. The interior sweetened the deal: Clad in leather and Alcantara, the cabin was equipped with air conditioning, a heated front windshield, and a tilting/telescoping steering wheel. Naturally, Saleen threw in a bit of seat embroidery to hammer home the “Le Mans edition” vibe. Price at the car’s debut sat at a cool $1,000,000.

The S7 before us today is one of these seven LM editions. Originally built in 2007, this car received the LM makeover in 2018 and was fitted with a new plaque declaring it chassis no. LM-007. The car is pristine and shows only 158 miles, though it’s reasonable to assume these miles date from after the car’s LM baptism.

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“Not many S7s come up for public auction in general,” notes Hagerty valuation editor James Hewitt, “and no other LM edition has been sold publicly.” The previous S7 record holder was a 2005 Twin Turbo model, which sold at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale, Arizona sale for $687,500.

A total of 27 S7s have appeared at auction since the car’s 2000 debut, selling, on average, for $450K. Their fortunes have improved recently, even aside from this recent record; the average auction price for an S7 in the past two years rose to $599K.

There’s good reason that LM-007 is the new world record holder for the S7 auction record. It’s a pristine example of the most powerful S7 offered, one that’s doubly distinguished as a one-of-seven special edition with desirable upgrades. Did we mention it’s also got genuine poster-worthy cool factor?

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