#46 Of 140: 1985 Saleen Mustang

Despite the association Saleen has with building high-performance cars and trucks, their first fling with the Fox Body Mustang platform didn’t actually incorporate any dramatic power increases. This 1985 model is largely a case of significant aero upgrades and suspension tuning, as engine upgrades were still a few years away when Saleen decided to work its magic on a few 1985 Mustangs. This example listed here on eBay has just 38,000 miles and seems to retain all of its original Saleen enhancements, with bidding currently at $14,300 with no reserve.

To me, the early, four-eyed Saleen cars were the epitome of 80s excess. The ridiculous spoiler, aggressive front air dam, color-matched basketweave alloys, and stripe kit running along the bottom of the doors and quarter panels were all styling cues that buyers were very much into at the time, and those tweaks are surviving nicely on this three-owner car. Interestingly, the seller notes that a previous owner made some enhancements to equip the Saleen for battle at local road course events. These include four-wheel disc brakes, headers, Tremek TKO transmission, and more.

The interior is surviving nicely, with some light areas of wear but nothing to get distressed about. At first, I thought there was some caked-in dirt in the carpets, but that appears to just be a trick of the lighting. The Saleen retains its factory bucket seats with bolsters that appear to be holding up well. The Saleens also got a sweet three-spoke steering wheel, which thankfully hasn’t been swapped out. The seller notes that aside from the aforementioned tweaks by the previous owner, the Saleen remains stock – he even sourced new reproduction Goodyear Gatorback tires to keep the OEM vibe.

Now, there is one additional enhancement that should be noted that breaks with stock components, which is the addition of a cat-back exhaust from a 1998 Ford Mustang Cobra. Now the biggest deal, but worth noting for the purists in the room looking for a 100% bone-stock Saleen. Overall, this presents as a great example of a rare Fox Body that you can actually use without feeling bad about it – and the enhancements are sure to make it even more grin-inducing to drive.

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  1. Weasel

    I took my drivers test in one EXACTLY like this except it was blue. Awesome car.

    • Superdessucke

      Hopefully you passed the smokey burnout segment!

      • David Ulrey Member

        I’m guessing you haven’t read how many times he’s taken his driver’s test in blue cars or are you playing along with his ongoing joke?

    • David Ulrey Member

      Apparently that was before the Alzheimer’s kicked in. Or was it too many drugs. Wait! Are you one of many from alternate universes that all took their driver’s test in blue vehicles but of different vintages and brands and body styles????

  2. Todd Zuercher

    Sweet ride.

  3. Michael Leyshon Member

    Jeff, please define “80’s excess”… Relative to…?

    Performance was on the rise again in this era. Partnerships by Steve Saleen and Ford special vehicle team (SVO) was very significant to revival of performance cars, domestic and abroad.

    This example didn’t need help to accelerate. Just needed better road manners. I would argue that an early, less refined Saleen car is more desirable than a later model. I humbly accept if I’m wrong…

    • Weasel

      Duh. The Dow Jones industrial average and cocaine.

  4. Tom c

    Yea , what weasel said , good times .

    • Steve

      And cool Saleen Mustangs!!


    I almost bought one of these until I discovered the “GRAND NATIONAL” no contest I bought a brand new 87 GN.

  6. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Drove #001 from Farmington Hills, MI to Florida and back as part of a multi-car test done for a car magazine. There were a few quirks, many due to having been used as a parts bin for one of the Saleen race cars after a crunchy situation occurred at a track. But at ANY speed, it was rock-solid stable on the road, if jarringly bouncy on some of the rougher pavement sections.

    For autocross, it was not as quick as the non-modified LX 5.0 also in the test, but much, if not all of that was likely do to the selection of General tires. They were a Saleen racing sponsor at that time.

    Talk about tall gearing. That car showed only 2000 RPM at 80 mph indicated in high gear. Just for grins, I took it to 3500. Would not have the chutzpah to do that today; I’m happy that the statute of limitations has run out, so that my confession won’t land me in the custody of the Florida HP.

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