Fox-body Saleen Mustangs: Why I’m buying them


Think Carroll Shelby was the only racer who hopped up Mustangs that went on to win championships? Nope. Steve Saleen did the same thing a couple of decades later with his Fox-body Saleen Mustangs. Starting in 1984, and using a similar formula to what Shelby employed on the original 1965–66 GT350s, Saleen focused on chassis, suspension, and braking upgrades to the factory Mustang. Shelby called it making “a racehorse out of a mule.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/11/27/fox-body-saleen-mustangs


Contact info@cbjeep.com if you have low mileage 79-93 Fox body for sale large finders fee for 80-81 Cobra


The Saleen Mustang was based on a great cost effective vehicle platform for its time. Steve Saleen followed the Shelby model pretty much to a T. Steve actively campaigned the cars in various SCCA classes and produced championships against serious competition. These race wins and Championships provided significant credibility for the Saleen brand. The marketing and styling were very appealing to a budding performance buying public during the 80’s and 90’s. Having consulted and worked for Saleen provided an opportunity to see firsthand those first and second generation Saleen’s being produced in the mid 80’s to early 90’s.

As far as investments go, consider purchasing any of the early 84 - 86 models as they produced less than 200 '86’s. There were only a handful of 84’s. The 1984 press car had serial number 37. Another good marketing ploy. But I think they produced 3 or 4 cars can’t recall specific details. I finished the prototype name plates on the original 1984 car by hand as I worked for the name plate manufacturer that produced name plates for the automotive OEM’s.

Also consider the specialty models such as the 1989 SSC there were very few built less than 180. They had blue printed engines, unique interiors and were marketed as a 2 seat sports car. If you like the second gen Fox Saleen’s consider the 91-93 models these are few and far between. These are very rare as the buyers dried up during the '90-91 recession. The SC models from 90 - 93 can be counted on both hands during each model run. Good luck in your search!


@kjonec - I didn’t realize how small the production run was on the 84-86 models. That is pretty darn low! Hopefully a few good survivors are out there.


The SSC is a bit of a holy grail car for me…


I take a little offense to “Yet as cool as they looked, they just didn’t have the bite to match their visual bark.”

In the context of the early 80’s and even beyond, the early fox GT cars were fast in their own right. More that one publication had an 83-84 5.0 4bbl HO GT running low 15s and even breaking into the 14s with minor-at the track tweaks. That was plenty of bark.


@espo70 - You make a good point. The 5.0’s certainly did help bring the power back to muscle cars, even if it was a bit less potent than we might have been used to in the muscle car prime.