Dad’s Wild Side: 1989 Mercury Sable Concept Car

The first generation Ford Taurus (and its twin, the Mercury Sable) were already significant vehicles in their own right. But take it one step further, and you might find yourself oggling this apparent one-off concept built by Ford for the showcar circuit: a Mercury Sable two-door convertible, as found here on craigslist with an asking price of $15,900.

Will you ever be as cool as the guy in the top photo? Not sure. What I can tell you is he looks pretty primed to be driving this drop-top Sable around town, and why not? It’s actually somewhat attractive and turned out way better than I’d expect for a car that looked perfectly decent as a sedan. The seller says it has been stored for many years and has only 9,800 miles on the clock. You’ll note this isn’t just a weld-the-rear-door shut conversion; it’s a true coupe.

The seller is quick to point out that this Sable concept car was captured in the automotive press when it was traveling to different car shows. That doesn’t necessarily add any value, but it does help establish that the Sable was intended to drive some positive press for Ford and its Mercury lineup. Similar to Buick today, I can’t help but wonder if Ford hoped cars like this would change perceptions of its Mercury brand being too staid.

Not going to lie: that’s a seriously good looking rear profile. Factor in the wheels and lightly smoked taillights and you have a recipe for an eye-catching concept car that was formerly one of the most vanilla family trucksters on Earth. If money were no object, I might consider a car like this solely for the one-off factor – and if you’re a s enamored as I am, the seller emphasizes he’ll consider interesting trades in lieu of cash.


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  1. jw454

    Nice looking car. On cruise nights you’d have the only one there for sure. Why some of these concepts don’t make it to production is beyond me. Especially when you see some of the ones that do.

  2. HBChris

    Except C&C didn’t build it for Ford, they built it to demonstrate their own capabilities.


    A great “What If” car with the right appeal. Ford over took Honda in sales with the Taurus and was really a great car when new. Sadly when they had miles on them it was either the 3.8 V6 head gasket issues or the cheap plastic parts in the transmission let go leaving you stranded. Then overnight the typical used car you wanted to avoid.

    However stubborn owners who refused to give up would have the expensive issues fixed and have known them to last 200K miles.

    Had a friend who bought a new 86 Taurus. He was fresh out of school and married. The guys all made fun of it but looking back now was a rare bird. It was called an MT5. A 4 cyl. 5 speed. It would cruse a comfortable 70-80 mph in comfort. Was a remarkable car. A few years later he got divorced and the wife let it go to the repo man.

    As far as the ask I think of a lot of other vehicles I could have instead but again where would you find one or why? Dunno!

    • Scot Douglas

      My old man bought the same dang car for his 100 mile round-trip commute, new, in 1986. I was so bummed when he didn’t get the V6 and bought a “stupid” 2.5L 4 cyl with a 5 speed.
      That was, until I got to drive it. :) The chassis felt much smaller than the car looked and was a great performer for anything that wasn’t 0-60. He averaged 35MPG over the life of the car during his commutes and decided to give it to my sister when it had 188K on it – and it was still a great runner. She and my BIL might have gotten 10K more out of the car before their lack of care and maintenance killed it.

      Like 1
  4. JW

    Nice car and I wish I could buy it just for the one off bragging rights at car shows.

  5. moorevisual

    wonder why no top-up photos

    Like 2
  6. jdjonesdr

    Looks like a female dog in heat. Need to find a way to drop that rear a little bit.

    • Tom Member

      Put some junk in the trunk !!!

  7. Miguel

    Anybody who has ever bought and sold cars knows to stay away from these cars for the extremely expensive transmissions they need.

    I am sure this car is no different.

  8. Dave

    I bought one of the sable’s new in ’86.
    After one winter she was bubbling around the fenders already.
    Sold it before it fell apart.

  9. brock

    I love to see a photo of the hard top up, as well wondering if it has the 3″ tv in the rear still. 1995 it had 9,300, so only 500 miles in 22 years.

  10. Wagon master Member

    $15,0000 ???????


    Sorry but that thing is butt ugly.

  12. Mark

    Why are there plastic tarps in the back seat ? Or is that the convertible top. ?

    • Scot Douglas

      Car cover. :)

  13. redwagon

    needs more pictures to sell it – or at least pique my interest.

    i think it looks fine, the rear could be lowered a little pretty easily my guess.

    silver on red a classic color combo, much better than silver on black.

    only 9k miles or 109k? hard to believe it was driven only to the tune of ~300 miles / year or so.

  14. OA5599

    Borrows heavily from the school of Generic Car Design

  15. Ken Member

    My father bought a first year ’86 wagon in Salt lake and drove it all over the west. As delivered, it wore out rear tires as the rear alignment was off from the factory but the dealer finally fixed it. The only major problem it had was a head gasket failure from a hot drive in the southwest. But the gasket was replaced and the 3.0 L V6 Vulcan engine was pretty darn reliable. After Dad died, the car sat for a couple yrs until I started using it during trips to SL to visit mom. When it came time to move mom to Ca. I fixed another temp. overheating problem with a new waterpump, radiator and thermostat. The dealer wanted $3K for the work, so I bought $500 of parts & did it myself. After moving mom to Ca. over the Sierras while pulling a trailer, I used the car as my tow vehicle with my car dolly, pulling oddball cars out of the Sierras down to San Jose. In spite of the Ford guys i did a lot of consulting work with telling me their auto trans in the Taurus/Sable line wasn’t very durable, they did say they beefed up the wagon version a bit and i never had any trouble and sold it with about 180K miles on it, still in good running condition and after towing cars all over mountain roads in bad condition. We definitely got our money’s worth.

    Like 2
  16. charlie Member

    Guess I am just old, but I have thought the 2nd generation Taurus/Sable, including the wagon, with all the ovals, was a great design, and still looks good, at least to me. And asking $15,000, say you get it for $12,000, a low mileage drop top you can drive anywhere, and when the transmission goes replace it with a rebuilt station wagon tranny, and keep driving. Now, maybe it does not have a top at all, which would be OK in the Southwest where it almost never rains, but a real issue in the east where it rains every 3 or 4 days, and often on the spur of the moment.

  17. Dallas

    Just like with the similarly listed Lincoln that is listed top down ONLY …. the top up is usually an awkward configuration/design that ruins the top down look portrayed.

  18. Ralph Robichaud

    Very clean lines, conversion executed particularly well, and with taste.. We’re it not for its unique heritage, however, it ‘s very much a plain vanilla looking convertible/ ragtop set of wheels. Just an opinion , Keith in case you’re lurking.

  19. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking car. I’ve seen plenty of Mercury Sables, but I’ve never seen a Sable convertible. It’s a shame it was never produced.

  20. SAM61

    Agree that the gen 1 Tauraus and Sable were milestone cars at that time.

    Not a bad looking convertible although you could do the same thing to a 2 dr Olds Achieva for a similar look albeit smaller.

  21. W9BAG

    I’ve seen a few concept cars of this nature. An early 2000’s Grand Marquis, 2 door convertible was gorgeous. This really is a nice looking car.

    • Carl

      It was a Mercury Marauder convertible! It should’ve been Built!! I hate ford for killing the fullsize car in favor of stupid SUV! 5.0 coyote 6spd auto is all this icon needed! I hate progress I was born to late. Today’s car are not long enough.
      This is a cool car should do a SHO swap. Sadly it probably don’t have a top. Nice find.

      Like 1
  22. Nova Scotian

    It interesting to note. But not THAT interesting….

  23. Walt Kulwicki

    Anyone else wondering how a factory built concept car has a “clear” title????

  24. AF

    This thing is the answer to a question nobody asked. Bet the guy with the mullet thought he was joe cool cruising around. Did he eventually realize how ridiculous that car looked?

  25. glenn

    everyone used to say i was crazy when i told them i had a friend with a two door sable or Taurus i cant remember. if was gorgeous black with black leather and convert top. i always admired that car and now i know i was right

  26. Hunontherun

    I was a wrench at a lincoln Merc dealer when these were new. What a drastic change from the cars we were used to.. I ended up buying a 3.0 v6 wagon for my wife as w had a 2 year old to cart around. What a wonderful]l car this was. White with tan interior. You could cruise down I 5 from LA to SF at 90 mph and it was quiet as can be. Alas after several years the Achilles heal, the transmission gave out and after the replacement i sold it while it still ran. Truly a landmark vehicle I never heard nor ever thought of a convertible veresion though…

    • Ken Member

      What I remember about their introduction was how mysterious Ford made it – hints of a new more space-age design – lots of “heads-up” warnings that something radical was coming – which I think was centered around the cars “jellybean” aerodynamic shape. They were preparing the consumer for the change from squared-off design to much more rounded in hopes that would keep the styling from being a bomb in the market. Seems to have worked – their styling certainly had a long run.

      Like 2

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