1988 Ford ASC/McLaren Convertible

Price: US $14,900.00 Item location: Macedonia, Ohio, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Other Makes
  • Type: Convertible
  • Year: 1988
  • Mileage: 15,601
  • VIN: 11111111111111111
  • Color: Black
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1988 Other Makes


Mustang GT? No, but close! You should probably rehearse your story as the new owner of this 1988 Ford ASC/McLaren convertible. The result of one heck of a brilliant guy with a great idea, the industry’s biggest convertible supplier, and the Blue Oval, these awesome 2-seater convertibles were envisioned as competition for the Mercedes-Benz SL. The story behind it is fascinating, pre-dating Ford’s own convertible Mustangs and the engineering is OEM-grade throughout thanks to ASC’s involvement—they were, after all, the guys building Ford’s own 4-seater Mustang convertibles at the same time.

The most obvious difference is the fact that this is strictly a 2-seater. It did not start as a Ford Mustang convertible, but rather as a coupe that was extensively modified to emulate the high-end 2-seat convertibles coming out of Munich. The roof was cut off, the windshield was raked back, and a custom hard-shell tonneau cover was built to hide the convertible top structure when it was down. The result is an altogether unique look that’s quite a bit sleeker than your garden-variety Mustang. Only 1015 ASC/McLaren convertibles were built in 1988, making it rather rare and you probably won’t see another one at the local cruise-in. Better still, this one shows only 15,601 original miles, so it has clearly lived a life of leisure. The black paint is factory-applied and shines up brilliantly, and the stylists at ASC wisely chose to go a minimalist route, keeping the Mustang GT’s front fascia and enhancing it with custom side skirts and a tidy rear valence with similar but distinctive taillights. A small deck lid spoiler combined with the extended tonneau gives the McLaren a very long, lean look that erases the Mustang GT’s inherent chunkiness. A silver stripe around the beltline adds some contrast and unique ASC/McLaren emblems replace the Ford oval up front and the “MUSTANG” lettering on the rear bumper. It doesn’t erase the Mustang’s DNA, but it sure gives the car a unique look that stands out.

Build quality was surprisingly good for something that was essentially hand-built. The chassis was reinforced with rocker panel braces and you can really feel that upgrade from behind the wheel, especially if you’ve driven a stock Mustang convertible. The front end is all Ford, but the custom work out back is just beautifully done. The tonneau springs open with the touch of a switch, folds forward and then back again to allow the top to disappear underneath. There’s also a motorized pull-down that secures the rear of the top to the tonneau, as well as a clever little switch that prevents the tonneau from being opened if the trunk is open, just to eliminate costly accidents. If you haven’t seen one of these up close, the workmanship will really impress you.

The interior also received extensive upgrades, starting with new leather covers on the Mustang’s already excellent bucket seats. The ornate stitching and ASC/McLaren embroidery make this one stand apart from its more common cousins and the carpets are the same plush stuff found in Rolls-Royce and other high-end European cars. A custom center console adds a useful arm rest but keeps the Ford controls for the power mirrors, and a wood-rimmed steering wheel (remember this was pre-airbag) moves it upscale. Mustang gauges were big and clear and it had one of the best-designed dashboards of the period, so no need to reinvent the wheel there and Ford’s HVAC controls were powerful and effective, then and today. There’s a newer Alpine AM/FM/cassette stereo head unit to replace the Ford setup, but that and an alarm system appear to be the lone deviations from original spec. The neat package shelf behind the seats is great for gear and doesn’t interfere with top operation, and you’ll find a CD changer tucked behind the passenger’s back. And speaking of the top, it’s black canvas, not vinyl, and looks fantastic with crystal clear rear windows and no signs of UV damage. The trunk a little bigger than the Mustang convertible’s and is fully carpeted for a more luxurious look and feel. Heck, even the top well is carpeted!

But the very best part of the ASC/McLaren is the same thing that makes the Mustang GT a perennial favorite: the 5.0. Sporting the same performance hardware as the legendary 5.0 Mustang, it remains a formidable performer, even in this age of 700 horsepower Dodge sedans. Better still, this one is completely unmodified and original, so you know it hasn’t been raced or abused by a younger owner like so many other unfortunate 5.0s. This one has actually been part of a funeral home owner’s collection, and he’s owned it since 1990, so it’s been very well maintained and always babied. It starts instantly, idles smoothly, and pulls with that endless supply of torque for which the 5.0 was justifiably famous. This one is so stock that it still has the rubber boot on the distributor and the lifting brackets bolted to the exhaust headers! And if 225 horsepower and 300 pounds of torque aren’t enough, there’s an infinite amount of horsepower available from the aftermarket, which rivals that of the small block Chevy. Either way, this one is ready to enjoy however you prefer to do it.

The 4-speed automatic transmission was a $510 upgrade for the ASC/McLaren and it makes this a genuine grand-touring car. It’s got quick reflexes so when you punch it it’ll drop down a gear or two, but the towering overdrive combines with 2.73 rear gears to make this a superlative highway cruiser that actually pulls down decent fuel economy. The suspension is agile yet still supple enough to drive every day and the structural upgrades that ASC added underneath make a notable difference in how it rides and handles. Of course, this car has never seen snow or inclement weather, so it’s extremely clean underneath, still exhaling through the factory exhaust system. In fact, it’s likely that it’s still using its original shocks and struts and perhaps even its original brake pads, all of which are OEM-spec. The only notable deviation is a set of shiny 16-inch wheels that were added early in the car’s life, perhaps even by the selling dealer, and were a nice step up over the original 15-inchers. Recent 225/55/16 performance radials are fitted and they’ve got plenty of life left in them.

A very cool piece of Ford history, this limited-production ASC/McLaren convertible will get everyone talking when they see it and remains an awesome way to enjoy some serious firepower with a more luxurious lining. There just can’t be many nicer than this. Call now!