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In the Garage: 1988 Ford Mustang Saleen
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1988 Ford Mustang Saleen coupe #509 owned by Joshua Rivera
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
“Mustang on steroids” is one term that comes to mind when collectors think of the Ford coupes, hatchbacks and convertibles modified and massaged by former race driver Steve Saleen going back to 1983. His early creations began their lives as base Ford Mustang LX models (known internally as the “Fox platform”) delivered from the company’s Dearborn, Michigan plant with the big 302-cubic-inch V-8 engine and a few other options. They were shipped to Saleen’s California facility and given special suspensions and other performance upgrades, new body parts to enhance air flow and distinctive exteriors and interiors to make it absolutely clear you weren’t driving an ordinary Mustang.
Each had its own serial number (hence Rivera’s #509) and modifications were done largely to hatchbacks and convertibles, making Saleen coupes exceedingly rare. “This Mustang is one of only 59 coupes ever produced by Saleen Autosport, Inc. from 1987 to 1993,” says Rivera, “and is a true time capsule with a little over 19,000 original miles. It wears ‘Oxford White’ paint with rare tan interior and the gold graphics package, making this car a documented one-of-a-kind Fox-body coupe.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
Since July 2012
WHERE HE FOUND IT
“I had been looking for a special Fox-body Mustang for a few years and had to sell two LX V-8 Mustangs to purchase it,” he says. “I found it in a private collection in Richmond, Virginia.”
“There is no rust and no sun fade and, having been stored for more than a decade in a mini-storage unit in California, it is immaculate,” Rivera says of his coupe. “I have all the build paperwork from Saleen Autosport, Inc. and the car is 99% stock down to the 1988 date-coded plug wires and air silencer.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Visit the Saleen Owners and Enthusiasts Club of America web sites for more information on owning and/or sharing this specialty Mustang group,” he advises.
“The car is currently insured for $25,000, a value that is very much underrated and sure to go up over the next few years,” Rivera says.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“My 1988 Ford Mustang Saleen Coupe #509 is a true time capsule,” he says. “It takes me back to my very first car, which was an ’84 Mustang coupe with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. This Saleen Mustang shares the #17 spot (with just 24 made) on the "Rarest Mustangs in the World" list and is my absolute pride and joy.”