1989 Ford Saleen Mustang - $29,900
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Today, the Saleens live at the top of the Mustang food chain, a perfect blend of sophistication, exclusivity, and flat-out performance, all at a shockingly reasonable price.

If you don’t know who Steve Saleen is, let me share his resume with you: a talented race car driver who took stock Ford Mustangs and upgraded them for the track while selling street versions to finance his racing habit. Sound familiar? Just like Carroll Shelby in the 1960s, Steve Saleen transformed the reborn pony car scene in the mid-80s. By improving the performance of the Fox-platform Mustangs and filling them with premium equipment, he created an entirely new niche of performance: the tuner car. Saleens were not just Mustangs with bolt-ons, however; Saleen was one of only a handful of tuners to be granted manufacturer status, which technically means this is a 1989 Saleen Mustang and no longer a Ford Mustang. Today, the Saleens live at the top of the Mustang food chain, a perfect blend of sophistication, exclusivity, and flat-out performance, all at a shockingly reasonable price. And thanks to their reliable Mustang 5.0 underpinnings, they remain virtually indestructible.

Of course, indestructibility is all academic when the car has only 18,052 original miles and remains completely unmodified. In fact, this one-owner Saleen is still sitting on its original General tires! 540 Saleen hatchbacks were built in 1989, with this being number 067. Coming from its original owner, this stunning Saleen is extremely well documented with its original window sticker, manuals, Saleen information packet, and more. It has never been used as a daily driver and has already won shows and been featured in magazines, suggesting it is surely one of the finest of its type. Yes, this may seem like a lot of money for a 1989 Mustang, but then again, have you checked Saleen auction results lately? Some of the leading Mustang collectors have started adding these cars to their collections—remember that a Shelby GT350 in 1974 was just another used car…

Finished in Bright Red, this might just be the best-looking Fox Mustang ever built. The Saleen aero additions were fully functional, designed to work on the track as well as the street, but they were also beautifully integrated into the design. Where the factory GT often looks chunky, the Saleen looks athletic and the subtle upgrades do wonders for the familiar fastback shape. Most of the paint is factory-applied, with the Saleen pieces painted to match at the Saleen facility in California, and its current condition speaks to the care it has received over the past 30 years. There’s hardly a mark on it save for some touch-ups where stones have nicked the low-hanging chin spoiler. The gold Saleen graphics are crisp and well-adhered and it’s great to see all the extra callouts, from the ‘Racecraft Suspension’ label on the front fenders to the ‘302’ emblem on the hood to the famous serial number under the driver’s headlight. Out back there’s a dramatic Saleen rear spoiler, which neatly integrates the third brake light, and since Saleen used the LX as their foundation, you get simple taillights and those cool polished stainless exhaust pipes. You can’t tell me this isn’t a great-looking Mustang!

Saleen was moving the Mustang upmarket, and that meant the ordinary Ford interior just wouldn’t cut it. Flo-Fit custom bucket seats were installed in place of the stock LX chairs, and the grippy tan cloth features red piping to make it feel especially racy. In fact, a tan interior in a red car is a rather unusual combination, Saleen or not, and it works exceedingly well today. You’ll also note the door panels and even the rear seats were custom upholstered to match the front buckets, a nice touch and probably expected when you’re doubling the price of a Mustang. You’ll also note a custom leather-wrapped steering wheel in place of the clunky Ford piece, and since it’s an ’89, it tilts. Saleen installed their own 170 MPH speedometer in the original gauge cluster, replacing Ford’s embarrassing 85 MPH unit plus a pair of VDO oil pressure and water temperature gauges in a beautifully made gauge panel integrated into the center A/C vents. A fairly sophisticated Pioneer AM/FM/cassette stereo system with equalizer was standard equipment (Pioneer was one of Saleen’s racing sponsors). This car is loaded up with every option you could get, including A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, and more. And, as a proper limited edition, there’s a plaque on the console indicating that this is Saleen number 89-0067 and Steve Saleen has personally signed the dashboard, just like Ol’ Shel used to do. The fastback offers a very spacious trunk with fold-down rear seats, and you’ll note that the spare tire and jack assembly have never been out of the car. This is a survivor in the purest sense.

Ford’s bulletproof and seriously fast 5.0 liter V8 was standard equipment, and Steve Saleen decided not to mess with a good thing, so it’s almost entirely stock. Mustang fans will quickly recognize the hardware, and 1989 was the first year of mass-air metering, meaning that drivability was improved. With 300 pounds of torque on tap, the car still feels punchy and a well-driven Mustang like this isn’t to be trifled with on the street. Saleen added the big strut tower brace and a few specialized decals and another serial number plate, but the rest is bulletproof FoMoCo equipment. It carries its original plug wires, rubber distributor cover, and even factory wire hose clamps, all perfectly preserved for show purposes. Of course, it starts instantly, idles properly, and drives beautifully—what 5.0 Mustang doesn’t? Seriously, until you drive one, you just won’t understand how much fun these cars really are.

Where Saleen’s work really shines is in the handling department. Springs, shocks, bushings, sway bars, and more were upgraded on the Saleen Mustangs, all in the interest of making it a serious road car. More heavy-duty reinforcements help improve rigidity in a way you can feel and the ride height is 1.5 inches lower than a stock Mustang, so it looks menacing just sitting there. The T5 5-speed manual gearbox is one of the best-shifting transmissions you’ll ever row and its ratios are ideally set for the 5.0’s torque curve. Out back, this one is fortified with 3.55 gears to make it a bit punchier, while a deep overdrive gives it long legs on the highway. Experts will note that the exhaust has been modified with an “off road” H-pipe that doesn’t have any catalytic converters, but the original H-pipe is available. In the braking department, the Mustang was always lacking but the Saleen guys cured that problem by adding a set of disc brakes and 5-lug hubs to the Saleen Mustang so it scrubs speed without any drama. Upgraded control arms eliminate the need for the pesky “quad shocks” in back and the Saleen-spec exhaust system sounds downright heroic. 16-inch American Racing wheels were standard equipment and since Steve Saleen raced on General tires, all his street cars wore the 225/60/16 General radials found here—yes, these are the car’s original tires!

Documentation is extensive, including both original window stickers, all the original Ford and Saleen manuals, warranty plate, spare Saleen data plates, and the Saleen information booklet. It also includes several magazines where this car has appeared and even the original paper floor mats from its day one delivery!

These are collectible, make no mistake, and their day has come. It’s no secret that high-performance Mustangs are a dime a dozen, but cars with a pedigree, high levels of documentation, expert care and maintenance, and low mileage will always command a premium. I can’t imagine there are many better Saleen Mustangs than this and in the years that come you’ll either be the guy who owns one or the guy who merely remembers when he could afford one. Don’t be that guy, call today!

Vehicle: 1989 Ford Saleen Mustang
Price: $29,900
Stock Number: 116037
Mileage: 18,052
VIN: 1FABP41E6KF112295
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.55
Wheelbase: 100.5 inches
Wheels: 16-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: 225/50/16 General radial
Exterior Color: Bright Red
Interior Color: Tan cloth
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