Why are ASC/Mclaren's so cheap?


New Member
May 29, 2021
So after a 30-year hiatus I'm thinking about another fox (had a '94 GT 'vert way back when) and looking around the interwebs, McLarens seem to be significantly cheaper than an equally well preserved/low mileage GT convertible... is it just the 'love it or hate it' styling or is there some sort of inherent structural problem that developed from them starting with a notch rather than a factory convertible? It's not like ASC doesn't know how to build a convertible (didn't they in fact do the prototyping for Ford in '82 for the 83 models? Relying on memories from 12-year-old me here, so the old hard drive has some bad sectors).

Poking around I don't see the usual "don't buy a mid 90's Tacoma because the frames disintegrate" or "don't buy a GM muscle car with a vinyl roof because of the dissimilar metals used they all rot out" or "T-10 transmissions have a weak second gear and can't handle the 427's they were put behind" etc. etc. Seems the cars which are legendarily bad it's to find 10,000 references to why they are bad, but the McLaren just seems to be forgotten and ignored for no real reason that jumps out at me. Sure, the wheels and body kit didn't age well but those are easily changed. For some reason I'm feeling the bug for a phantom Saleen roadster :)
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The factory convertibles started as a notchback and were converted by a vendor.

The ASCs are just ugly.
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It’s all perspective. Personally, I think all convertibles are ugly, (with their tops up), and only slightly less with them down. But if i ever decided to buy one, I’d prefer the ASC car over the standard version convertible. It looks way better when the tops down IMO.
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Perfect, thanks. Structural weakness or a particular propensity for rust where ASC changed something was my worry- like a spot where water collects so they developed a rep for causing the rails to rust out compared to a standard car or something. I'd love to rebuild the V8 Vega I grew up in, but they used so many dissimilar metals in building those POS's they all disintegrated- you can find low mileage Pintos if you're so inclined to indulge your 1970's street sleeper genes, they survived, but not Vegas- they just melted away of their own volition.
As I mentioned, the Miami Vice mono-chromatic look and IROC-inspired rocker panels are easily changed, and the windshield easily painted Trim Black, the ugly ground effects and spoiler are easily returned to normal, the wanna-be Mercedes 3-window soft top can be remedied. Could prolly make a few bucks selling the bits back to 'restorers.' Personally, I just like the way they handled the rear seat delete- it's cleaner than the bulging bows of the standard car and is less annoying than the folding hard cover that was on my '94.

Thanks for the input gang, I appreciate it.
For the most part, convertible Mustangs don't really get a whole lot of love. The issue with the McLarens is that there are many unique parts on them that make it impossible to find replacement parts. Thirdy, the looks are subjective.

But they are rare. Under 2000 total Mclarens were made. 1600 or so of just the 87-90 versions.

I actually like the 1990 version the best, but they only made 65 of those
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Yeah, and I'd be removing the unique bits anyway. Doesn't take a lot to clean them up... at least no more than the normal spring/brake/5-lug wheel swap one would do anyway.


Still hate the Camaro rocker molding though :)
I'd drive that ASC. Looks very well done.

IIRC, these started life as coupes, hence the tacked on side skirts and rear bumper skirt. They added the GT bumper, so if you look closely, you can see the molding lines of the rear bumper/doors do not match the molding lines on the front GT bumper. Always wondered how one of these would look reverted back to an LX with the rear tacked on fairing removed and an LX nose.
I don't think i'm sold on how that one really looks based on one picture. (especially since they are a nose heavy looking car, then adding a cowl hood)
It's not the front end that looks wrong, it's the back that is the problem coupled with how the roof looks when it's up.
I think it would really take the right wing to offset the look.
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This one has the rear bumper lip removed. I'm curious now how it would look with the side skirts taken off and the front bumper changed to an LX bumper.

I think the part of it that looks the most awkward is the Mercedes SL inspired convertible top profile. It's too short and stubby. The standard 83-93 vert profile matches the coupe, so the look is one that we've seen many many times before. To see this profile so much shorter just doesn't look right.


With the top down, the lines are much cleaner, especially with the convertible roof hard cover. Still, a few changes are needed. This pic shows the big difference in moldings as you can see by the different size tape stripes from the front bumper and compared to the rest

Hence my leaning towards the Saleen plastic. The nose would go back to LX to match up the body molding, the side skirts and rear facia don't have the heavy droopy look and the picnic table rear wing would lengthen the lines of the car as well. Since the windshield is standard, the molding will be as well, so might be possible to get rid of the fiberglass cover. And yeah, the cowl induction doesn't help an already vertically fat car look any more svelte, but there aren't exactly a lot of McLaren hot rods out there. As for the lines of the top, well, who buys a convertible for the way it looks with the top up? I ain't 22 anymore, not going to be driving in the rain with top down.

I totally agree as a wanna-be Mercedes the car was a total fail, especially for what they cost. If they had offered this a 'Roadster' package? Just a 2-seat LX with the lower windshield and the GT-40 bits on the engine for just a $3-5k premium over a GT? Shoot for a market niche that was half the price of a Corvette but larger than a Miata? They might have had something there.

I'm the last guy on the planet you want photoshopping your voter ID, but...sort kinda the thought...


Not going to pretend to draw in a roll bar.
A saleenified mclaren would probably be pretty unique.

if that’s your goal, I’d find a mechanically sound car that’s missing those unique parts and use that to justify a lower initial cost of the car. Then ebay all the mclaren stuff and replace with standard fox stuff. Leave the top down...forever
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