One Owner: 1989 Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren

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The ASC/McLaren Mustang project started out with a flourish, but it eventually collapsed due to both the high purchase price of the vehicles, and a dispute between two of the parties involved in the development and production of the cars. The result was that during the 4-years of production, only 1,806 cars were built, with the majority being produced during 1988 (1,015 cars). Barn Finder Pat L spotted this one for us, so thank you so much for that Pat. This one owner Mustang is located in SOMA/South Beach, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The asking price for the Mustang is $9,995.

The 1989 model year was not a banner one for the ASC/McLaren Mustang, with production being limited to just 247 cars. One of the greatest limitations on vehicle sales was the price, as these were not a cheap car. Of that 1989 production run, numbers were split across a number of different color combinations, with 6 cars being finished in silver with a black top, the same as this car. The Mustang looks to be in generally quite good condition, but it pays to have these professionally inspected to identify potential rust issues in the quarter panels and trunk, as these are areas that are prone to problems in this model. Having said that, the condition of this car looks good, with no obvious issues or problems. The silver paint has survived with a nice shine to it, which has been helped by the car receiving some recent clear coat restoration. The convertible top is also only around 2-years-old and still looks as good as new.

The interior of the Mustang presents quite well, and if it wasn’t for the condition of the wheel, it would be hard to believe that this is a car with 173,000 miles under its belt. There really isn’t a lot to fault on the appearance and condition front, but there are a few things that will need to be attended to. The air conditioning doesn’t blow cold, and the heater core has been bypassed due to a leak in the core itself. This is a pain, as removing the heater core requires some pretty major dismantling of the dash, but this is something that I would make a priority. While it is dismantled, I would be having a look under the carpet to ensure that the leaking heater core hasn’t caused any rust issues to start.

Powering the Mustang is the venerable 5.0-liter V8 engine, which is backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. There are a few areas under the hood where the car is beginning to show its age a bit, but it still looks pretty reasonable. The owner appears to be pretty meticulous about the maintenance on the vehicle, and it sounds like it is in quite good health. This engine/transmission package is notoriously long-lived, so if it has been maintained, it should still have plenty of life left in it. The Mustang has recently received new catalytic converters, a new radiator core, a new starter, new battery, and new tires. Importantly, it has also just passed its smog test, so it’s good to go. One interesting item that the owner does provide is regarding a source of parts and components which are specific to this breed of Mustang. There is a company in Odessa, Florida, called Paradise Automotive. Apparently, the owner of that company is a former employee of ASC, and he bought the company’s spares inventory when new car sales ended. He, therefore, has a pretty decent collection of new parts for these cars.

As I said in the beginning, one of the factors that hobbled the sale of the Mustang ASC/McLaren when new was the price. The owner of this car admits that when he bought the car new in 1989, it cost him $28,000. Allowing for inflation, that equates to a healthy $64,600 today. Now sit back and think about what you could buy today with that sort of money, and you begin to realize just how expensive these cars were. This car looks like a pretty good one, and the only thing that really impacts its value is the mileage. It is on the high side, but if the car has been well maintained, then it shouldn’t present any real problems. The low build numbers for the 1989 model year make this an interesting classic car to consider.

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  1. stanley kwiecinski

    While you have the dash out for heater repair? Do what you could with that bland looking $ 28,000 dash panel. TiKi dolls? waving palms?….

    Like 1
  2. CanuckCarGuy

    I prefer the earlier Capri based conversions, more unique in appearance given the Mercury body nuances and better looking IMHO. This is nice, don’t get me wrong…but tarted up Mustang convertibles aren’t particularly uncommon.

    Like 6
    • bry593

      So what makes this thing anything special? Stock everything except for? I saw one of these at the Leake auction and it had web spoke aluminum rims and a couple badges. Seemed like it brought $8k. Heck, it even had drums on the rear axle. I don’t get it….

      Like 2
  3. grant

    Gotta love a car that someone actually used and enjoyed, as well as maintained reasonably well. That heater core is a mother, ask me how I know.

    Like 1
  4. Jett

    $28,000 US at a possible employee price?? That would have been over $38,000 CDN. In 1989, as leftover inventory?? Geez Louise.

    Like 1
    • Tirefriar

      Obviously this owner fell in love with the car at the time of the purchase and from the looks of it that love affair continued through the entire ownership period. Any car, especially domestic, doesn’t get to 173k miles and 30 years old while looking like this without lots of love and care. Hence the purchase price was not a concern.

      Judging by his asking price he’s still deeply in love. Luckily, he may continue to enjoy it as I can’t see anyone lining up to buy a very high mileage fox body mustang without working HVAC system.

      Like 3
  5. Doyler

    Hey, that’s where I walk my dog!

    Like 0
  6. Poptheclutch

    That’s a lot of money for a high mileage no hvac car.
    If you couldn’t make the repairs yourself
    And more $$$ to the tally!

    Like 0
  7. Frank

    Ok. I lived through this era but I still don’t understand- what possible rationale was there for buying this instead of a regular Mustang convertible? A flush fitting fiberglass top cover?

    Genuinely would like to know what the value proposition was (at the time)

    Like 1
    • Tirefriar

      I think it had to do with the “exclusivity” factor, note the number plate on the dash. The car is also devoid of any Ford/Mustang badges on exterior/interior of the vehicle. Furthermore, this is a two seater, more akin to a MB SL. All of that coupled with a performance and reliability of the american V8 running gear. Sort of the same rationale for Chrysler TC by Maserati.

      Like 0
    • ChebbyMember

      I’m with you, Frank. Seems like a less practical and odder-looking version of a car Ford already built.

      Like 0
  8. rm

    Over priced Escort. Would prefer to buy a Thunderbird SC with manual transmission for loads less cash and smoke this preppy boy car at every redlight.

    Like 0
    • Jett

      Where do you see the logic in comparing it to an Escort?? Other than being a Ford product and having four wheels, they share absolutely nothing in common.

      Like 0
  9. RoughDiamond

    Anybody else see body style similarities between this and a Chrysler LeBaron convertible? Now in my defense, I have been drinking Pina Coladas tonight.

    Like 0
    • Jett

      More like a third-gen Mercury Capri to me…

      Like 0

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