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Fresh Paint: 1985 Ford Mercury ASC McLaren

The harsh reality is that Summer is drawing to a close, which means that the opportunities for some relaxed cruising on a sunny day behind the wheel of a convertible are about to become rarer. However, it also means that now is an excellent time to look at a car like this 1985 Mercury Capri ASC McLaren as a project car for the colder months. It presents well for its age, but it has a couple of minor issues that the buyer could tackle in their home workshop to while away the colder months. Then, when the weather turns warm once again, that person will be ready to make the most of what this classic has to offer. Located in Tavares, Florida, you will find the Capri listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the sale price at $14,495. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder GPAK for referring this cool convertible to us.

The Capri Convertible represented a collaboration between Mercury and ASC/McLaren, and it emerged during a significant era in world motoring. Various regulatory authorities across the globe were looking long and hard at convertibles, and their very existence was under threat. As these organizations saw it, the problem was that these cars offered little in the way of rollover protection, and there was a concerted move in some quarters to ban the sale of new convertibles entirely. Thankfully, this never came to pass, although many changes were instituted in subsequent years to address some of these perceived shortcomings. This Capri is the result of a collaborative effort between Mercury and ASC/McLaren, and it involved a lot more than hacking the top off a production Capri and hoping for the best. ASC put a lot of engineering effort into the car to ensure that it maintained its structural integrity. This was not a cheap undertaking and involved detail changes like removing the rear seat to provide storage space for the soft-top and dropping the windshield’s rake by 10° to give a sleeker look. The seller is this car’s third owner, and he has spent a few dollars on this classic recently. He treated it to a repaint in its original shade of Bright Red last year, and it still presents superbly. The color is crisp and clean, with no signs of any defects or problems. He says that the soft-top is in excellent order, and thanks to a life spent in Florida, the vehicle remains rust-free. If I am going to level any criticism about this car’s exterior presentation, the wheels are starting to exhibit some oxidization. Still, that’s nothing that can’t be addressed with a high-quality alloy polish, and it is one of those little tasks that the buyer could tackle during the Winter months.

The Capri’s interior hasn’t escaped the owner’s attention, and it presents well. He had the beautiful Recaro bucket seats fitted with new leather covers last year, and they’ve come up a treat. They look soft and supportive, and while there are a few wrinkles, I think these will improve with further use. The rest of the trim is in good order, as are the dash and carpet. Once again, there are a few issues here that the buyer might want to consider. A previous owner cut all of the power wires for the seats, so they are now manual. If the buyer wants to reinstate the power function, they might need to investigate why that person cut the cables in the first place. The original stereo has made way for a CD player, but the original unit and speakers are included. Whoever installed the current system was a bit slap-dash in their approach because the speakers are sitting on the back floor. Fitting these correctly sounds like another Winter project. Apart from the CD player, the Capri comes equipped with ice-cold air conditioning and power windows.

The owner supplies no engine photos, but we know that the Capri comes equipped with the 5.0-liter “HO” V8 engine, a 4-speed automatic transmission, and power steering. The little V8 would be producing around 165hp, which was a respectable number in 1985. McLaren’s expertise came into the picture when they performed some suspension upgrades to give the Convertible sure-footed handling. The owner says that he wouldn’t consider the car a daily driver, although your opinion could be at odds with that view, depending on your circumstances. He acknowledges that the vehicle runs and drives well and is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

The owner of this Capri Convertible claims that it is 1-of-186 produced during the 1985 model year. However, various sources offer different totals, so pinning down actual numbers seems to be an inexact science. Regardless of the exact figure, it is still a bit of an automotive rarity. However, his asking price is right at the top end of what you might expect to pay for a spotless example today. The owner indicates that he might be open to reasonable offers or trades for the right vehicle, and that is an option that is worth considering. Does this Capri tick the boxes enough for you to pursue it further?


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Nice looking in Red/beige leather. I’ve only seen these in white/navy and silver/navy. Man the old pinto shifter really got around Ford. My mothers 85 Escort had the same one.

    Like 3
  2. grant

    Wtf is a Ford Mercury?

    Like 4
    • qmmq

      Kinda get your point, but it ain’t a Saab GM or Jaguar Ford. Mercury was never an independent OEM acquired by a third party. It was an in-house marquee. Technically makes it a Ford Mercury. So buddy.

      Like 1
  3. Ray

    As tge Capri was on the Mustang platform, I had often wondered why Mercury didn’t offer a convertible version. Seems like it might’ve sold better than the hatchback at the Lincoln-Mercury dealers

    Like 2
  4. Keith

    Really, a nice looking little car & I also recognize the Pinto shifter lol

    Like 2
  5. Jcs

    Seems to me that these originally came with full lexan coves for the taillights that fit flush with the body. I always liked that look and would imagine it difficult to source replacements.

    Like 2
  6. Bunky

    It’s a Mercury Capri. If it was a Pontiac you wouldn’t call it a General Motors Pontiac.

    Like 3
  7. Steve Clinton

    At first glance, with those wheels, I thought it was a Chrysler Maserati.
    A beautiful car though, and rare as hen’s teeth!

    Like 0
    • Dayle Gray

      If Im not mistaken they are made by MSW. Ive had a few ASC s from this era. They are worthwhile cars to own if taken care of.

      Like 0
    • Dayle Gray

      I was referring to the rims.

      Like 0
  8. Brian Ellis

    I daily drive a 85 ASC McLaren Carpi and love it ac works great go to cruise nights in it. Always have people checking it out mine has a cell phone installed in the rear bucket I leave it open for the kids to see. I also have a mustang gt and love the capri’s ride and the seats are much better for long hauls. Cars were meant to be driven and enjoyed so get em out there.

    Like 0
  9. Dan Warren

    I have 1986 ASC Mclaren just like this car. ; If you have the Recro seats the speakers should be in the headrests. Those seats I believe were a 1500 dollar option. . I alsoe have 1987 ASC Mclaren red with gray interior. Is is a very nice fun driving car. This is my first post. I really enjoy this site. Thanks Much.

    Like 1

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