This is an original 1989 Ford Mustang Saleen SSC, it’s one of just 161 that were made and at the time of its release it was the fastest and most powerful brand new Mustang money could buy.
The Saleen Mustang of the 1980s was the direct equivalent to the Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s. The cars were lightning fast race winning specials based on regular production Mustangs.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Steve Saleen’s first car was a 1956 Porsche Type 356, this may sound unlikely given the current values of 356s however Steve got his car back in 1966 when they were actually relatively affordable secondhand, as everyone was more interested in the newer, faster 911.
In 1969 he upped the ante by buying a secondhand Shelby GT350, an SCCA championship winning model that was essentially a road-legal race car. Always chasing ever more performance he changed the wheels, suspension, exhaust, and by adding two four-barrel Weber carburetors and a roll cage for safety.
He began racing the car, in hillclimbs at first, but before long he was lining up on the grid as a professional driver in the Southern California B Production Championship. Race wins and lap records would seemingly come easy for the young racing driver, he started competing in the Formula Atlantic series in 1977 and won the Southern California championship.
In 1983, still a competitive racing driver, he founded Saleen Autosport from the dinner table of his home in Santa Rosa, California. His first cars were highly modified Mustangs that were offered for sale in 1984, many more Mustangs followed throughout the 1980s and beyond.
In the year 2000 the Saleen S7 was released, a supercar developed in house by Steve and his now sizable team. A number of other production cars would follow, and the company is now working on a new electric production car.
The Ford Mustang Saleen SSC
1989 would be the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Mustang and surprisingly Ford did very little to celebrate it, they just attached a dashboard emblem with a galloping-horse logo on the year’s Mustangs .
Steve Saleen had other ideas. Working with is team he developed the fastest new Mustang money could buy, with almost 300 bhp and 325 lb ft of torque. A slew of modifications were made to an otherwise stock fox body Mustang, creating the unofficial 25th anniversary Mustang that Ford had missed the boat on.
The Saleen SSC wasn’t just a sticker job with a couple of bolt on go-faster bits, it was a comprehensive rebuild of the fox body that turned it into a vastly superior car to the one it had started out as.
As a racing driver Saleen understood that handling is everything, so he equipped the car with advanced Monroe Formula GP electronic cockpit-adjustable three-position shock absorbers and struts, redesigned front and rear coil springs, and Quadra Shock rear suspension.
Four-wheel disc brakes were fitted, the original had rear drums, along with a heavy-duty clutch and clutch disc, and a 3.55:1 Traction-Lok rear end.
Most of the performance modifications took place under the hood where the 5.0 liter V8 was uprated with a larger 65mm throttle body, modified intake manifolds, ported heads, roller rockers, tubular headers, and a Walker Dynomax dual-exhaust system.
Power was sent back through a 5-speed manual Borg Warner transmission and the car was fitted with a set of 5-spoke Saleen alloy wheels and a distinctive bodykit including a front air dam, side skirts, a rear spoiler, and a diffuser.
Just 161 examples were ever made and now as the fox body-era Mustangs slowly become Radwood-style classics in their own right, special edition vehicles like the Ford Mustang Saleen SSC are becoming increasingly desirable.
The 1989 Ford Mustang Saleen SSC Shown Here
The car you see here is a 1989 Ford Mustang Saleen SSC with just 18,000 miles on the odometer.
It comes with manufacturer’s literature, a Saleen specification sheet and letter of certification, SSC-related magazines and literature, the original removed headers and brakes, a clean Carfax report, and a clean Arizona title.
It’s being offered for sale out of Scottsdale, Arizona on Bring A Trailer and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer
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