1980 Ford Mustang

McLaren Prototype
Mecum Indy 2023
Friday, 12 May - Saturday, 20 May
Sale Price
$75,000 - $100,000
Est. Range
18 May 2023
Sold Date
Lot Number
Unrestored original
Mecum Auctions
Auction House
Chassis no. 0F03A308227. Bittersweet Orange with gray cladding over black cloth. 2.3/175hp turbo four, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Cooper Cobra tires, fiberglass hood and fenders, hood pins, adjustable Koni shocks, Recaro seats, Stewart Warner gauges, roll bar. Original Firestone HPR tires included.

Evaluation: Not to be confused with the ASC McLaren Capris and Mustangs that were built in decent numbers in the late 1980s. This is the prototype for the McLaren Mustang from the beginning of the decade, and it toured US Ford dealerships to promote the model. Featured on the cover of Motor Trend in December 1980. Showing 562 miles and really does present like it’s still promoting a line of new Mustangs. It’s fresh and gorgeous.

Bottom Line: At the dawn of the ‘80s, the Mustang was still recovering from a knock to its reputation thanks to the Mustang II – the right car for the right time but a disappointment in terms of performance. The Fox-body would eventually bring the muscle back to America’s pony car but it had only just come out the year before, so this turbocharged coupe by the racers at McLaren was one of the very first hot Foxes.

Prepared at McLaren Engines’ Michigan-based facility, the McLaren Mustang got a tweaked turbocharged engine (ported and polished, balanced and blueprinted), upgraded suspension, body kit, and better interior. A planned 250-unit production run shrank to just 10 cars, however, as a much less expensive Mustang GT and Ford’s own in-house turbo four ‘Stang – the SVO, which was developed with significant input from McLaren – were more sensible options.

This prototype sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale three years ago for a surprisingly modest $37,400. The odometer shows just 38 more miles since then and it sold for twice as much in Indy. It’s a healthy return, but also a more sensibly strong price for one of the rarest special edition Mustangs not just from the Fox-body years, but ever.

by Andrew Newton
3 June 2023

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