One of One: Mercury Sable Custom Convertible

It doesn’t get much more unique than this. Here is a Mercury Sable Convertible Concept car. Apparently, Ford was toying with the idea of making the Sable into a convertible. While all production Sables were either 4 door sedans or 4 door station wagons, this convertible has only 2 doors. It was hand built to give it some unique features. This Mercury Sable Custom Convertible Concept car is for sale here on Craigslist in West Lake Hills, Texas. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for bringing this unique car to our attention.

This Sable does have a VIN so it can be licensed. It is in excellent condition because it has been stored in Austin and not been driven much, with only 9,800 miles. The car was built for a 1989 auto show. This is the only prototype or concept car of the Sable convertible in existence. The seller manages a dealer where it has been cared for and serviced in the dealership’s service department. The seller says that as a rule, cars like this never make it out into the public’s hands. The car has special wheels that were not found on Sables as well as lower cladding a little different from production Sables.

The seller has newspaper articles and a full press release package along with other verification information. If the car’s selling price were based on the car’s cost to build, it would be selling for well over $400,000. The car is not exotic but is unique in the fact that there are none others like it, and you will never see another Mercury Sable convertible.

There are no pictures of the engine which is an unknown 6 cylinder. I’m assuming maybe it is a 3.8 liter V-6 engine, which was the largest engine for a Sable in 1988 and 1989, probably about the time this car was built. No clear interior pictures are available either, but it appears the car has a custom burgundy velour interior to contrast with the car’s metallic silver paint. The convertible has a hard boot cover and the ad provides a picture explaining how the car’s soft top operates. If you are searching for something that is absolutely unique, this could be what you need. The seller is asking $17,995, but remember, you are getting something no one else will have.


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  1. TimS Member

    It’s different, but for this price there are about 40 years worth of driver-quality convertibles to pick from.

    Like 8
  2. Tiberius1701

    A photo with the top up would be nice.

    Like 14
    • John Schroeder

      I’m with you. So many of these aftermarket or “one-off” convertibles look great with the top down, but godawful the rest of the time.

      Like 11
  3. lc

    Wold love to know the story on how this Merc escaped Ford and wound up in Austin…

    Like 7
  4. Andre

    Waste of a sawzall blade.

    Like 9
  5. healeydays

    This could be a find. Yes it’s a Sable, but if it really is a Ford concept car, they fetch good money from collectors. I too would like to know the complete history of the car before purchasing it.

    Like 7
  6. James S.

    I can see why it never went into production. Reminds me of the Metallica song “The Thing That Shoukd Not Be.” I wouldn’t even pay $2500 to have that thing sitting in my driveway. Pass.

    Like 4
  7. Tom Justice

    Most concept cars get crushed, I would love to know how this one got a VIN to be allowed to be registered. If you are in Texas, I would do some serious research before I bid as Texas has some crazy registration hoops to jump through if things are the slightest bit out of normal. One of one makes it rare but desirability is certainly up to the individual.

    Like 4
    • Miguel

      It has a 17 digit VIN. A carfax can be pulled to see the registration history.

  8. Wayne

    I was a Ford/Mercury service manager at the time these first came out. Lots of brake problems (Due to composite rotors) and transmission problems. (which they still seem to have today) So I was not much of a Taurus/Sable fan. That being said, I was a huge fan of the SHO. My inlaws bought a base model Taurus with the 3.0 V6. Once I drove it I ordered up a set of SHO sway bars and it transformed the base car into a very nice driving car. They were under strict orders to have the transmission serviced every 12 months and never had a transmission problem. A couple of months after my son was born a 9 month old Sable wagon was traded into the dealership with 65,000 miles on the odo. Since I knew the pitfalls and the car had all the options (including the electrically heated windshield) and cheap, I bought it. Put another 125,000 miles on it and then sold it. (The only required repair(s) was an intake manifold gasket and 2 injectors. (found the leaky injectors when changing the manifold gasket) That said, I kind of like this car. I actually tried to visualize one of these as a 2 door many years back. I agree, it would have been nice to see a picture with the top up. IF, it was available close by for about $6,000 I would be very tempted. But, to me it is not worth the asking price.

    Like 7
    • Dave

      I owned an 88 Taurus GL that I bought with 64K miles in 92. Two months later I had to put an engine in it because the previous owner never changed the oil. Probably a lease car. Transmission was the worst ever! One day both backup lights quit. Couldn’t be both bulbs so I replaced the switch on the trans. Turned out to be the bulbs after all. Drive to work next day, it was like I put a new trans in it. Trans switch tells the computer what position it’s in, if switch is bad computer puts trans in limp home mode. I put a lot of good miles on it until things started rusting and falling off.

      Like 1
  9. Dave

    I owned an 88 Taurus GL that I bought with 64K miles in 92. Two months later I had to put an engine in it because the previous owner never changed the oil. Probably a lease car. Transmission was the worst ever! One day both backup lights quit. Couldn’t be both bulbs so I replaced the switch on the trans. Turned out to be the bulbs after all. Drive to work next day, it was like I put a new trans in it. Trans switch tells the computer what position it’s in, if switch is bad computer puts trans in limp home mode. I put a lot of good miles on it until things started rusting and falling off.

  10. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972 Member

    Let’s see…………. 30 years old, only 9,800 miles, near mint condition, a concept car and the only Sable convertible on the planet. Can’t say you’ll wait for another that’s cheaper so maybe $18,000 isn’t out of line.

    Like 12
  11. AF
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I thought it looked familiar. Thanks for digging it up.

      • Kman

        It’s not hard to find. It’s at the top of the comments in the related finds section.

        Like 1
  12. Patrick Kelly

    Top mechanism looks similar to Volvo convertible

    Like 1
  13. David

    Whoever said you can’t polish a turd, never saw this car.

    Like 6
  14. Will Fox

    Press releases don’t confirm a thing. Unless this car comes with proven documentation, all it is to me is an ASC (American sunroof corp.) exercise. They made Toronado & Buick Century convertibles too; it doesn’t mean they were factory-authorized. CAVEAT EMPTOR, folks.

    Like 3
    • aribert

      I don’t think this is an ASC design study or show car. I hired in at ASC in ’89 and never saw nor heard about it until this posting. I did see a number of design studies / proposals. ASC frequently used Metal Crafters out in CA to build show cars.

      Like 3
      • aribert

        Looks like a Cars and Concepts project. C&C was somewhat of a competitor to ASC. As to the vehicle having a VIN, C&C probably bought a new car to modify. May have not had any Ford involvement in the project.

        Like 4
    • healeydays

      I don’t see ASC making a 2 door Sable as Mercury never released one. There must be a back story on this car. Love to know what it is…

      Like 3
    • Joe

      Will, I get what you are saying.
      But this is a 2 door. They were never made. So ASC couldn’t buy one to do this conversion.

      Like 1
      • aribert

        First of all, it looks like it was done by C&C, not ASC. One buys a Fordor sedan plus a pair of rear door skins plus a pair of rear qtrs. Set the car on a surface plate, secondary support under the rockers and cut off the roof rear of the windshield and above the rear qtrs and cut about
        9 to 12 inches out of floor/rockers. Slide the remaining two halves of the car back together, reinforce and weld. Join the rear door skins to the rear qtr, trim as needed and attach to car. Now you have a two door that still needs a roof. Not that big of deal for a one off show car. I worked on a low volume production program where Ford built a LWB Town Car in the early 2000s. OEM in asm plant build, not an outside conversion. Just the opposite was done. Car was stretched 6 inches thru the front of the rear door, very wide B-pillar. Car was intended for livery services. New roof, rear
        outer door skins and new rockers, rest of the parts in the area were spliced. This was for about 2000 cars per year.

        Like 4
  15. Comet

    I hope the builder added braces to the floorpan.

  16. Glenn Quagmire

    The result of a one night stand between a Citroen and Mercury.

    Like 1
  17. Healeymonster

    Like Wayne, i worked at a Linc/ merc dealer when these were new. I bought a white wagon with the 3.0 v6 that had been turned in on trade for a newer wagon. My wife put 80k on it before the trans let go. Then the replacement GPD trans lasted a week. We loved that car but the problems with the trannys (3)made me donate to Cars 4 kids. I actually like this convertable but the wheels and stance would change under my ownership. Unfortunatly the price is too high for the novelty. I also wonder how much heavier this car is as the jelly bean shape was a structural part of the car.

  18. Chris

    This car has been “for sale” for years now. Seller doesn’t seem to understand that unique doesn’t always mean valuable. As someone who likes old Sables, once owned a 1-of-1 Sable SHO wagon conversion, and LOVES convertibles, I have absolutely no interest in this. It looks awkward, and I’ve never seen one photo with the top up so I’d be willing to bet that 30-year old canvas isn’t in great shape. At least the seller finally bothered to take some new photos this time…I’ve literally see this car with the SAME photos for years. My advice to this seller — if you really manage a dealership you should know presentation is everything. Do a full-on photo shoot showing everything, not a handful of angles you’d take to sell a typical used Pontiac. And for crying out loud, get this “$400,000-to-build” crap out of your head. That means absolutely nothing to buyers, and since you’ve been trying to sell it for years, your $17,995 asking price also means nothing to buyers. Sorry, but you’d be lucky to get $10k for this car.

    Like 3
  19. cmarv

    I’d post a vomit meme if I could .
    : (-)—–

  20. Paul

    I see a hole on the drivers side and one on the passenger side of the convertible top boot . Would they possibly be for a removable hard top ?

    Like 1
    • Paul

      I see now that the two holes are for the convertible top after reading the craigslist ad .

      • aribert

        Holes are for latching the 5-bow to the decklid. Same latching concept in a C4 Vette or Prowler or Solstice/Sky/Opel GT.

        Like 2
  21. Maestro1

    I’m not sure about this. I’m like the rest, I’d want to see the top up and operating,
    and I’d like to know a lot more about the history. It’s a big number for an essentially custom interior/exterior car, and frankly it has a questionable upside in the market. Unless it has provenance. And what is it doing in Texas?

  22. Todd

    A lot of talk about seeing it with the top up, my question, does it even have a TOP. With it being a concept car and chances of it seeing the elements at all maybe they didn’t even build a top.

    Like 1
  23. moosie Craig M Bryda

    some of the posts make me laugh

    Like 1
  24. Uncle al

    “but remember, you are getting something no one else will have.” yup, like a dose of gonorrhea.

    Like 1
    • Concinnity

      No, then you’re just like the person who gave it you, (and the person who gave it to them etc), you’re not alone with an STD.

      Like 1
  25. Jay Nix

    Loved my 1988 Sable LS. Loaded with everything and drove quite well. The Sable’s lit grille made it stand out against the Taurus.

  26. Paul R Bellefeuille

    Wait..they spent a lot of money making this and didn’t add leather interior which is usually what is/was found in convertibles due to the chance of inclement weather??

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