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FrontRunners: Mean, Clean Machine

The Saleen S5S Raptor (www.saleen.com)—a 650 hp sports car that made its first public appearance at the New York International Auto Show in March—is still in the conceptual stages. However, “a savvy viewer would notice that the hardware was real,” says Paul Wilbur, president and CEO of Saleen Automotive, the Troy, Mich., carmaker that plans to produce the Raptor. That hardware includes a midmounted, 5-liter, supercharged V-8 that runs on cellulosic ethanol. “[The engine] takes us out of the gas-guzzler category and into the clean-and-green category,” says Wilbur. The motor will give the Raptor a 200-plus-mph top speed and a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.2 seconds. This supercar-caliber performance will come at a fraction of the usual price—about $185,000. . . . (For more photos and a transcript of interviews with Wilbur and Saleen designer David Byron, visit www.robbreport?.com/salee?n?interview.)

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