Rare Rides: 1985 ASC McLaren Mercury Capri – the Fox Body Mashup

Last time on Rare Rides we featured a V8-powered American muscle car that started out as a coupe and had the roof removed by an aftermarket company. Opinions of the Callaway Speedster were mixed, ranging from “meh” to “1990s meh.” So for this Rare Rides entry, we are doing something completely different following the exact same formula, executed in a different way.

It’s a very special Mercury, at a much lower price point. McLaren anyone ?

Back in the 1980s, the American Sunroof Corporation (now called American Specialty Cars) worked in cooperation with British high-performance company McLaren to come up with special versions of the Mercury Capri.

Unlike the Mustang’s all-American roots, the original Capri was a European creation. Starting life as a rebadged Ford Capri, the first generation ran from 1970 to 1977 and was built in Germany.

Similar to the Mustang, this Capri was a much less successful Mercury offering built on the versatile Fox platform. Between 1979 and 1986 you could head down to your Mercury showroom and check out a Fox-body Capri.

ASC was fond of removing roofs in whole or in part, and that’s what they did here. Not many special Capris were produced — the listing indicates less than 260 convertibles were made for 1985.

Special paintwork coats the modified body and is very era-appropriate.

Modifications were quite extensive in order to obtain the flush-fitting convertible look. The rear seats had to go, and much of the body required reconfiguration; even windshield rake got pushed back by 10 degrees. The Capri’s fabric top is unique to the model, and wouldn’t fit a Mustang convertible. Not sure if the Cougar steering wheel came standard.

The interior is suitably plush, with tweedy blue seats and plenty of horribly fake period-accurate wood grain.

A familiar 5.0-liter Ford V8 rests under the hood, mated to a four-speed automatic. Don’t let the slushbox fool you — the ASC McLaren Capri was the quickest vehicle Ford sold in 1985. A special racing camshaft meant 0-60 times under six seconds, and quarter-mile times in the mid-13s.

All this rapid acceleration is motivated by special low-profile tires all around. Factory color-matched snowflake alloys were supplied by Campagnolo of Italy. They are fantastic, and would not be difficult to keep clean.

On offer via Streetside Classics, the Capri has under 52,000 miles, and is asking just $12,995. Surely a reasonable price for such a limited-run vehicle.

[Images via seller]


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