The 1987 Saleen Mustang: A Rare Gem Heading to Auction
In the world of Fox Body enthusiasts, the 80s were a golden era. The 1987 model, in particular, marked a significant milestone for these enthusiasts. It introduced a sleek, aerodynamic design, leaving behind the previous “four-eye” headlight version. Not only did it boast a more stylish appearance, but it also came with a substantial increase in horsepower. As Ford brought new aesthetics and performance to the market, aftermarket companies also joined the race, offering their own take on how a modified Mustang should look. One of the central figures in the Fox Body Mustang era was Saleen, and now a unique Saleen Mustang from 1987 is set to be auctioned.
This particular Saleen Mustang holds a rare pedigree. It was the first unit acquired by Saleen after Ford’s shift to the aerodynamic front end, and it was designated as 87-01, signifying the year 1987 and VIN 001. Initially, it served as the poster child for the 1987 sales campaign, but Saleen also used it as a strategic marketing tool. The car traveled across the United States, making stops at various race tracks and even joining forces with the SCCA General Tire Saleen Mustang race cars.
However, this car was not destined to be stored away once its marketing duties were fulfilled. Instead, it continued to be a workhorse for research and development purposes. Saleen utilized this vehicle for both the SA-5 and the 1989 SCC. Eventually, it was retired after being employed for the EPA certification of the 1989 Saleen SSC. At the 2023 Carlisle Ford Nationals Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation dinner, Steve Saleen himself highlighted how this exact vehicle was the first Saleen to receive engine modifications from the Saleen Autosport factory.
Unlike many vintage cars that undergo extensive restoration, the seller of this Saleen Mustang has chosen to preserve it in its original condition as much as possible. Over the past 30 years of ownership, the only changes made were the replacement of the oil filter, oil, coolant, and serpentine belt. The odometer indicates a mere 6,700 miles, with only 1,000 miles added since the seller purchased it in 1991. This car served as a multi-department test mule, and as a result, it displays visible blemishes in its original paint. These imperfections, however, narrate the car’s history during its Saleen years, making it an invaluable part of its story.
As expected, this Saleen Mustang hides numerous hidden gems. It features prototype headers and alloy roller rockers. Remarkably, it still retains its original hoses, spark plugs, and plug wires. Even more astonishing is the fact that it bears the same set of tires from when it was acquired in 1991 through Saleen Autosport. The upcoming auction will include various additional components such as the complete wiring for the SSC cockpit, adjustable Monroe GP shocks, Saleen DSO tag, exhaust extension for EPA dyno testing, an external fuel filter, SSC plenum plate, and SSC DP5 wheels that are painted entirely, without the later-styled machined edge.
While one might be tempted to judge this 1987 Saleen Mustang based on its low mileage or the absence of replacement parts, it is crucial to remember that this car is more than just a pristine collectible. It is a storyteller, with its narrative etched throughout its chassis. The scrapes and scars from loading and unloading at countless tracks, the exhaust extensions used for EPA testing, and the prototype headers that unlocked more power all contribute to its rich history. Soon, this extraordinary Saleen Mustang, known as 87-01, will be up for auction on the Bring-A-Trailer site, and it is sure to command significant attention and perhaps even break records.
In conclusion, the 1987 Saleen Mustang embodies the spirit of the Fox Body era. Its design, performance, and iconic status make it a sought-after collector’s item. With its rare pedigree, preserved condition, and countless original components, it presents a unique opportunity for enthusiasts and investors alike. As it heads to auction, the anticipation builds to see what kind of numbers this remarkable car will achieve. The 1987 Saleen Mustang is a symbol of automotive history and a reminder of the exciting era it represents.