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Introducing the 1985 Saleen Mustang GT

Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Steve Saleen has never been a tuner. Sure, he made his name picking cars off factory production lines and modifying them -- heavily -- for enthusiasts craving something a little bit different.

But what he does is more akin to remanufacturing than mere hopping-up, as this review of the 1985 Saleen Mustang GT from the Aug. 5, 1985 issue of Autoweek makes clear. Look beyond the aftermarket interior, laden with cutting-edge electronics. Look beneath the substantial body kit that changes the appearance of the Fox platform car from nose to tail. The venerable Mustang has been turned into "a taut-riding performer" thanks to its no-nonsense stiff Racecraft suspension; after it leaves Saleen's factory, it can pull 0.89 gs on a skidpad to the stock car's 0.79 gs.

It makes a statement, and not for too much money -- $15,876 total to the stock Mustang GT's $9,885. Even better, we reported, the cars are available (at least theoretically) from your local Ford dealer and are covered by warranty. Warranty! Good luck getting a back-alley tuner to even utter that word.

"If going around town in a nondescriptmobile is your idea of a hoot," we cautioned, "forget the Saleen Mustang. Simply put, this is a high profile muscle/image car, if that's what you seek." But if you seek something more potent, you can check the box for an engine adjustment -- or even a supercharger. You'll pay more, true, but you'll also get 370 hp out of the deal.

A lot has changed since we wrote about the 1985 Saleen Mustang GT. The Fox platform is dead, but after weathering some corporate drama, Steve Saleen has been reunited with the company bearing his name and seems to be back in the business of reinventing modern muscle cars. We can't wait to see what he does once he gets his hands on a 2015 Mustang.

1985 Saleen Mustang GT drive review

Ford Mustang at 50

The Ford Mustang turns 50 years old during 2014; to celebrate the many lives of America's favorite pony car, we'll be posting selections from our archives. Check out our Mustang mini-site where you'll find news, road tests, sneak peeks and even classic Mustang ads from the pages of Autoweek. We'll also have all the latest news and photos surrounding the redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang as it rolls out, so stay tuned.

By Graham Kozak