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Rare 5-Speed: 1986 ASC/McLaren Convertible

This 1986 Mercury Capri is one of the less-than-1,000 produced ASC/McLaren conversions, which featured a chopped roof and other styling and suspension tweaks to create a limited edition model with a hefty price tag premium. The example shown here is already rare for being one of just 874 made, but is even more so because it features the five speed manual gearbox. Convertibles and stick shifts are strange bedfellows, it seems, as most softtop owners appear to prefer automatics, especially in muscle cars like this. The seller claims this ASC/McLaren Capri, listed here on craigslist for $10,000, is in great shape and still “…very fast.”

Featuring a sharp leather Recaro interior, the ASC/McLaren worked hard to distinguish itself visually from the run-of-the-mill Fox body. The differences may not seem that drastic at first, especially in hardtop form, but the convertibles featured a novel tonneau and top design that definitely set it apart from conventional Mustang convertibles. A steering wheel emblazoned with the ASC/McLaren logos, hardwood dash trim, custom center console, and the Recaros rounded out the cosmetic tweaks, but then ASC also bent the A-pillars back a few degrees and welded in additional body reinforcements wherever possible. The overall package was quite robust, and added a decent premium to the purchase price.

The engine compartment was largely unaffected by all of this, with no major enhancements made under the hood. The venerable 5.0L V8 continued to provide reliable, steady performance while flying under the ASC/McLaren flag, and the stock engine makes me even more curious as to the origins of the seller’s sentiment that the car’s acceleration is somehow more noteworthy than any other Fox body. Sometimes, there’s a sentiment among owners of special edition or limited production models that performance is also enhanced along with the cosmetic tweaks, but that’s not the case here. Suspension tuning amounted to lowering springs and shocks with custom valving and some meatier tires.

The Capri for sale here does look quite clean in pictures, fitted with a set of aftermarket wheels. The custom roof treatment is what some would describe as “Euro-style”, whatever that means, but the original inspiration did supposedly come from a 1980s Mercedes SL roadster, and you can see some parallels here. The seller notes the A/C still works and there are some period hi-fi upgrades throughout, including a radar detection system and custom stereo with an amplifier mounted in the trunk. The condition and presence of a five-speed sets this one apart, and despite the ASC/McLarens never becoming immensely collectible, a convertible with three pedals is one of the few that’s likely to hold its value.


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Two in one week here on Barn Finds. I didn’t know the made one in black. It doesn’t look as distinguished as the white/ blue, but it’s sharp looking. I like these.

    Like 2
  2. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Looks like a not great retrim on the seats? I would love to own this though.
    Very unusual.

    Like 1
  3. Red_Sox_DFW

    A good friend in ABQ had one years ago. It was fast, smooth, and rare…a trifecta. The legend back then was that these were positioned on dealer lots right beside Lincolns that cost about the same, and few people ponied up the money for the ASC cars. It’s a shame…I like the Capris much better than the later Mustangs, and the ’85s and ’86s are the right ones to own…the early cars had several predictable problems.
    Their value has been trending up overall…good examples have crossed at around $20k recently, so this one seems to be priced right, given the changed wheels/stereo…I’d still like to have it…too many others in the driveway at the moment.

    Like 0

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