Needs Rescuing: 1989 Saleen Mustang

If you’re a Saleen fanatic, prepare to have your heart ripped out! This is a genuine Fox Body Saleen, but it has clearly seen better days. Said to have been left outside for several years, the paint is peeling and rusting and the interior isn’t faring much better. The headlights are a questionable modification, but easy to fix compared to the bodywork. Find it here on craigslist for $8,900.

Still wearing its Saleen stripes and bodykit, it’s comforting to know this Mustang hasn’t been altered beyond no longer being in showroom condition. However, those rims are not stock as they came from a later Saleen and are not included. This puts the next owner in a bind, as the valuable BBS-style basketweaves are damaged to the point of needing extensive repair, so getting the car home will require proper planning.

Ooof – it’s tough seeing that recognize-it-anywhere Saleen script in such rough shape. The doors cards overall appear dirty and tired, but this also isn’t a trailer queen Saleen – it’s been driven, with 127,000 miles on the clock. I suppose that’s the upside to being in rough cosmetic condition, but you’ll have to judge yourself whether you want to bring this one back, especially since showroom-quality examples still pop up now and then.

The Saleen-specific bucket seats remain in place, and the seller says that overall, the important factory modifications haven’t been lost. It sports the desirable 3.55 limited-slip rear end, and the sport-style steering wheel is still in place. The seller has added a new fuel tank, fuel pump, filter, and sending unit in his time with the car, but he never touched the tires, so those will need replacing along with the wheels, assuming he follows through with removing the current alloys.

Here’s a shot of the damaged rim, and one of the others isn’t much better. If this Saleen could talk, I wonder if it would speak of previous owners who treated the car badly and just left it outside every night. For a vehicle as special as a Saleen, I’m surprised it hasn’t been better preserved; then again, if it was, folks like myself couldn’t likely afford it, whereas this one is within reach. Anyone else tempted to rescue this cheap Saleen?


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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    This just hurts. Bad.

    I have had good luck getting wheels straightened and cosmetically refinished, though…and they were bent worse than that one.

    • Jeff Staff

      The original wheels are definitely saveable, so finding some cheap steelies to get it home should solve the problem of the seller removing the current rollers.

    • JamestownMike

      Those RARE wheels are savable at a premium cost.

  2. curt

    I would check out the suspension.if it hit hard enough to bend the rims.beautiful pony,ruined.

  3. tirefriar

    Man, it hurts to look at this car. Another one of my bucket list cars but the prices are escalating and the clean ones are hard to find for anything close to reasonable. As much as I want one though, I would pass on this particular car as the price is on a high side. By the time you will be done with it, you are better off finding a clean one at $20k – you will be furhter ahead moneywise and stresswise.


    I don’t think it’s a Cali car. to much oxidation and rust. At this point its just a nice beater.

    If he doesn’t include the wheels the how do you drive home?

    • JamestownMike

      San Francisco bay car equals SALTY BAY AIR equals oxidation and rust!

  5. Dolphin Member

    As much as I like white Saleens I would wait, save a bit more cash, and try for a better car with fewer needs. The seller sounds honest, but this one is in poor shape, and curt’s comment about the bent rims and possible suspension problems are a warning. It looks like it was driven real hard.

    The price of this car looks cheap, but I think this Saleen would end up costing more than a good one after you fix everything it needs, clean it up, and pay for a good paint job. And then you would still have to do something about those badly worn seats and it would still have 127K on the ODO.

    Prices are rising, but I have seen decent Saleens for sale lately with fewer miles that were priced in the mid-teens and were in much better shape than this one. With prices rising, you can pay up for a good one now and end up with a car that’s worth more than you paid for it down the road.

  6. pursang

    For the wheels, try Wheel Collision Service in Bath, PA. No relation, I just know they do good work.

  7. Dusty Stalz

    I thought Saleens had their number under the left headlight. Pretty sure I’ve seen that before. Maybe they did that on a different year? Anyone know?

  8. Tommy

    What they’re supposed to look like.

    Like 1
    • Andrew Brown

      Only if it was an SSC

  9. Dave W

    Am I the only one who gets annoyed about “wheels (or other items) shown in the ad are not included in the sale” clauses? If you’re not selling them, don’t show them…

    Like 1
  10. Neil

    The seller claims it was never in an accident? How did those wheels sustain that damage then? Did they take them off the car and run them through a crusher?

  11. Britcarguy

    Before Saleen got into Mustangs, he was a formula racer. I remember walking through the paddock at the 1978 SCCA runoffs at Road Atlanta and seeing his tent. What caught my eye was the driver’s name on his car – Gas Saleen.

  12. JamestownMike

    I asked the seller, “How did the engine get so much oxidation and rust? Based on it’s mileage, condition and needs, would you take $5,000 CASH for your 89 Saleen WITH the 98 tires/wheels? Mike”

    He responded, “Really low offer. Thanks though”

    I noticed the Craigslist ad has since been deleted. He either got tired of low offers or sold it??

  13. Joseph

    What a shame to see this car in this shape. SMH hopefully someone buys it and brings it back to life.

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