Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330
While the McLaren name today is synonymous with super cars and Formula One, in the mid-1980s the company looked to leverage its already significant racing heritage by offering improved versions of certain performance cars. One example of 245 happens to be this Raven Black 1986 Capri 5.0 SC Roadster listed on Craigslist in Washington, DC where the current caretaker is asking $12,000. According to the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool this asking price is slightly higher than the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $5,300, $8,250, and $11,600, respectively. In the early 1980s, American Sunroof Company (“ASC”) was a growing “OEM” (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in the automotive industry doing convertible conversions and other limited editions of several different cars. ACS’s relationship with the McLaren engine development branch of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing spawned a Capri coupe in the McLaren colors of blue and orange. That limited edition car started the ASC McLaren series on the Fox-platform Mustangs and Capris built from 1984 through 1986.
Enter Peter Muscat. He was a free-lancing engineer who knew ASC founder Heinz Prechter. Peter came up with the idea of developing a two-seat roadster based on Mercury’s version of the Fox-Body Mustang, the Capri. Prechter loved the idea and ASC took over the concept and developed it for series production with buy-in from McLaren to provide a number of styling and performance enhancements.
Apart from the famed 1965-1970 Shelby derivatives, ASC/McLaren cars were the only Mustang/Capris to be specially prepared for aftermarket conversion by Ford. Stock coupes received a body buck tag on their radiator support bar stamped “D32 ASC MCLAREN.” After said, “Body in White” arrived at ASC’s factory, workers removed the steel roof, bent the A-pillars back nearly two-and-a-half inches, and then welded in a number of reinforcements in the rear seat area, under the windshield, and along the transmission tunnel to add torsional strength back in.
The 5.0 SC retained the coupe’s distinctive blocky four-headlamp nose treatment and the IMSA GT-inspired flared fenders. The convertible offered two hidden storage compartments in the carpeted area where the coupe’s rear seat would be, and unlike the production Mustang convertible, the modified car’s top folded completely into the body, resting under a flush hard tonneau with a power release, like the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 380 SL. ASC’s shops completely repainted the modified cars, and also installed unique upgraded interior trim. In 1986, ASC offered a $1,395 Sports Appearance Package, which consisted of the lower ground effects from the coupe as well as the Hella Fog Lamps that the car featured here has installed.
When ACS determined Lincoln-Mercury dealers were more interested in an image car, they decided the stock 5.0-liter V-8 was already a good performer, and only modified the suspension. McLaren provided ACS with unique springs that lowered the vehicle one-and-a-quarter inches while Carrera 50/50 shocks provided a better road feel.
The 5.0 SC used the Capri RS/Mustang GT’s 302-cubic inch high-output V-8 that by 1986 made 200 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 285 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. While the example featured here relies on a Borg-Warner T-5 five-speed manual transmission, as few as ten examples were built with the four-speed overdrive Ford AOD automatic transmission. Interestingly, the stock front disc/rear drum brake combination of the time remained in place.
The ACS McLaren featured a number of luxury touches that tried to make it rival the Mercedes SL of the day, right down to a similar looking Haartz cloth, triple window, convertible top. For 1986, the SC’s special Recaro seats became optional, as was a Whistler Spectrum II integral radar detector and a 140-mph speedometer. The combined cost of the conversion along with the new Capri typically averaged in the $25K-$30K range, which is roughly the equivalent of $60K today. Unfortunately, the high outlay was not enough to entice buyers so only 245 examples were built during its short three-year run.
Here’s a MotorWeek review of both the coupe and convertible models from 1986:
The current caretaker does not provide information on where in the 245 production sequence his Capri falls, but it appears to be a nicely preserved example with only 72k original miles. It appears only the aftermarket stereo and trunk mounted amplifier are the non-stock additions to this rare car. If you’re looking to join RADwood royalty as well as stand out at any Fox Body Mustang based show, the ASC McLaren makes a great choice that currently doesn’t break the bank. Good luck with the purchase!
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