This is the 1989 Ford Saleen Mustang SSC that was bought new by NBA legend Dennis Rodman from Avis Ford in Southfield, Michigan. It’s the 121st car of the 161 that were made and it’s now being offered for sale out of Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The Saleen SSC Ford Mustang was the fastest new production Mustang money could buy in 1989 – engine modifications boosted power output from the stock 225 bhp up to 292 bhp, slightly more than the 289 bhp being produced by the 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo.
Fast Facts – The Ford Mustang Saleen SSC
- The Ford Mustang Saleen SSC was released in 1989, the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Mustang. Saleen upstaged Ford with the SSC, as Ford did almost nothing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the model which is widely recognized as one of their most important model series.
- Steve Saleen is a former professional Formula Atlantic race car driver, he built his first high-performance Mustangs in 1984 and by 1986 one of his cars had taken a win at the 24 Hours of Mosport.
- The Saleen SSC was the fastest and most powerful new Mustang that money could buy in 1989, with 292 bhp vs the regular Mustang’s 225 bhp. The cars were also fitted with significantly upgraded suspension and brakes front and rear.
- A long list of modifications were made to each of the Saleen SSC Mustangs including a reworked 5.0 liter V8 with a larger 65mm throttle body, modified intake manifolds, ported heads, roller rockers, tubular headers, and a Walker Dynomax exhaust system.
The Ford Mustang Saleen SSC
In 1989 the Ford Mustang celebrated its 25th anniversary, but Ford’s commemoration of this milestone was surprisingly minimal. They just added a dashboard emblem featuring a galloping-horse logo to that year’s Mustangs.
Steve Saleen had a different vision. Collaborating with his team, he set out to create a more appropriate new Mustang – one that would be the fastest money could buy at the time, boasting nearly 300 bhp and 325 lb ft of torque. Transforming an ordinary Fox Body Mustang, Saleen and his team set out on an extensive modification process, effectively creating the unofficial 25th anniversary Mustang.
The Saleen SSC Mustang was far more than a superficial upgrade with a few bolt-on performance upgrades. It was a comprehensive rebuild of the Mustang GT with uprated suspension, brakes, and a significantly modified drivetrain.
Recognizing the importance of handling as a racing driver, Saleen equipped the car with Monroe Formula GP electronic cockpit-adjustable three-position shock absorbers and struts, redesigned front and rear coil springs, and Quadra Shock rear suspension.
The vehicle received an upgrade to four-wheel disc brakes, replacing the original rear drums, along with a heavy-duty clutch and clutch, and a 3.55:1 Traction-Lok (limited slip differential) rear end.
The 5.0 liter V8 received a slew of upgrades including a larger 65 mm throttle body, modified intake manifolds, ported and polished heads, roller rockers, tubular headers, and a Walker Dynomax dual-exhaust system.
Power was sent back through a 5-speed manual Borg Warner transmission, while the car sported a set of distinctive 5-spoke Saleen alloy wheels and a unique body kit comprising a front air dam, side skirts, a rear spoiler, and a diffuser.
Just 161 examples of the Saleen SSC were produced. As the Fox Body-era Mustangs gradually gain recognition as classics in their own right, vehicles like the Ford Mustang Saleen SSC are growing increasingly desirable, particularly among enthusiasts who appreciate their status as special edition models.
The Ex-Dennis Rodman Saleen SSC Mustang Shown Here
Dennis Rodman has been called “arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history.” Over the course of his career he would he play for the Detroit Pistons, the San Antonio Spurs, the Chicago Bulls, the LA Lakers, and the Dallas Mavericks.
Above Video: Even people who don’t follow the NBA or basketball in general are familiar with Dennis Rodman thanks both to his on-court ability and his off-court infamy.
1989 would be one of the most important years in Rodman’s career, he was playing for the Detroit Pistons and the team swept the LA Lakers to win the 1989 NBA Finals. That year he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and was lauded “for his defense and rebounding skills, which were unparalleled in the league.”
In 1995 Rodman would be traded to the Chicago Bulls, it was considered a risk due to the fact he was already 34 years old well-known for his volatility. Despite this he would become a critical part of the legendary Chicago Bulls team that won 72 of 82 regular season games, an NBA record at the time.
It seems somewhat fitting that Rodman was piloting a Saleen SSC Mustang in 1989, the car was finished in Oxford White with gray trim, and of course it had the Saleen SSC graphics package. Inside it has gray and white leather upholstery, equipment includes a rear spoiler, white 16″ wheels, a Hurst quick-ratio shifter, a roll bar, FloFit adjustable bucket seats, cruise control, and power windows.
The car now has 87,000 miles on the odometer and it come with production and service records, as well as model-specific literature, a sample SSC window sticker, removed parts, an extra set of wheels, two show boards, and Saleen accessories. It also has a prominent “Saleen” decal across the top of the windscreen to help people understand what they’re looking at.
It’s now being sold out of Jeffersonville, Indiana with a clean Carfax report, and an Indiana title in the seller’s name. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here on Bring a Trailer.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
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