1985 Mercury Capri ASC McLaren

Customization and uniqueness has always been a part of the automotive marketplace. Customers are always seeking more power, more luxury, and designs that set them apart. In 1984, the Saleen Mustang was introduced, offering customers even more horsepower from the ponycar. Peter Muscat had similar aspirations for creating a unique and upscale experience for customers on the Fox-platform Capri. From 1984 through 1990, the American Sunroof Company (ASC - now known as the American Specialty Cars) built 2,678 examples of the ASC/McLaren Fox-body cars in both coupe and convertible body styles. ASC is known for creating one-offs or low volume convertibles for major automakers. McLaren has a reputation in the racing arena for their experience and expertise in chassis and engine building.

In the early 1980s, McLaren teamed with Ford to create 11 custom Mustangs to showcase the then new body style.

ASC enlisted the services of McLaren for help with the suspension and engine. Muscat and ASC designed the convertible body to be a 2-seater with a manual folding top that folds completely under a hard cover. Other modifications were made to the cosmetic and mechanical features of the car.

The first year of production was in 1984, which saw the sale of 50 convertibles and 10 hatchbacks. Though this may appear low, it was rather impressive considering that Mercury was not officially involved in the project nor would it warrant any work done by ASC. Promotion for the cars was done in individual dealerships through brochures, signs and posters.

For 1985, sales rose to 407 which included 257 convertibles and 150 hatchbacks. ASC began offering a super-sport suspension kit which had stiffer springs that lowered the car and help improved performance. Inside were Recaro seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and a 140-mph speedometer. There was a new rear valance, side body ground effects, and a new front air dam.

1986 was the first year for the SEFI engine which helped resolve the issues with carburetion and CFI. This was also the final year for the Capri, which meant it was the last year of the ASC/McLaren built Capri. Sales remained steady with 245 convertibles and 115 hatchbacks. An additional 47 Eurocoupes were also constructed.

Sales were never very strong for many reasons, but many attribute it to its high price. In 1986, the 5-liter Carpi sold for $10,225. The ASC/McLaren Coupe demanded an additional $4,212 on top of that. The open-air Capri ASC/McLaren models required $12,059 for the conversion - bringing the total to $22,282.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2014
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