Foxbody Mustang – 1993 Saleen #33
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It’s interesting how cars flow through their life. What I mean by that is that every vehicle at some point was a shiny new penny sitting on a dealer lot or in a showroom somewhere. A person walked into the dealer and said “I’ll take that one” and drove off in their brand new vehicle. They all start out shiny, warrantied, and wearing that ode de perfume “new car smell”. Even the most economical of vehicles will be clean and shiny. Maybe not for long, but shiny on day one of delivery.
Stay with me here. After that first day it is up to the care of the owner(s) to keep the car in check. Some cars, like the economical ones mentioned, will become just like the old used washing machine. It gets used over the years and at some point is replaced due to it falling into disrepair or becoming more costly to fix than it is worth as a whole. It makes sense that those cars are disposable. And truth be told, that’s what manufacturers want. Buy it, use it, get tired of it, dispose of it and repeat the cycle. That puts money in their pockets.
But, there are certain cars that are bought because of exclusivity. They are produced in small numbers and are given performance advantages over other makes because a buyer wants more out of what they are driving. Typically that means the first owner is one that really desires what they have and takes good care of it. Not all of the automobiles produced for people like this have an easy life. One can look back at history and see this in the barn finds you see all over the internet. Big block Chevelle’s, Porsche 911 short wheel base cars, race cars with provenance, Corvette’s, Boss 9 Mustangs, E-type Jaguars…etc. etc. Somewhere along the path they get into a state of disrepair. Whether it is from an incident like being stolen but then found later, wrecked/fixed/sold by an original owner, or bought and pushed into a barn and it sit because the owner never has time or money to fix what they bought.
No matter the reason there are always barn finds. This will continue as long as the human race is alive. At this point in automotive history we’re seeing 2nd generation barn finds on cars that were restored in the 1980’s. 1993 Saleen #33 is a Foxbody Mustang that has that story to it. It was once a streamline butterfly on day one. A black Foxbody Saleen Mustang with black interior sold through Danielson Ford in Connecticut.
The car was driven for many years and due to it being a non-factory supercharged car it didn’t require as much maintenance. Being driven up north for some time really did the car in. This caused areas of rust to form in the typical areas. Although as of the 2006 eBay auction it wasn’t horrible.
Our path crosses with this car at the next owner. The gentleman that owned it had several vehicles. All of them in various stages of disrepair but some did run and were well cared for. The gentleman passed away and the family needed to liquidate the cars. All of the cars in the gentleman’s collection were sold off fairly quick except for 1993 Saleen #33. This one had sat for so long outside that the rust had gotten a hold of it pretty bad. The floor pans were rusted all the way through and needed to be replaced. The rocker panels were fine amazingly. But, the Saleen subframe connectors were rusted. One was rusted all the way through and was in two pieces.
We were able to secure a deal with the family and get the car pulled out thanks to a long time friend and car enthusiast Jamie Hammonds. He’s a huge fan of saving cars like we are and jumped at the opportunity to help because the owners had to have the property clear by a certain date. Had we not stepped in to help the car would have most likely been parted out and scrapped.
Once the car was in our hands it sat at Jamie’s house for a few weeks. As each day passed the car would drop rust on the garage floor. It was the saddest site to see. The 1993 Saleen’s are rare and to see this car in this condition makes you ask “how does it get this bad?”
We were able to secure the title to the car and ended up selling it to a mutual friend of Jamie and I’s. That owner ended up getting the car running and making sure the motor and transmission were good. Even though things were running fine it was a good idea to get everything rebuilt. This car had been sitting outside under a tree for right at a decade. It was obviously driven in, but it didn’t drive itself out. Thanks to Jamie, it was towed out, gingerly, from its hibernation spot.
The owner that got the car running had too many projects on their hands and decided to sell. That’s when the current owner took ownership and started a multi year process of getting the car whipped back into shape.
The car was stripped down to its bare shell and deconstruction began. Another parts car was sought out to use to repair this chassis. A lot of the chassis of 33 was able to be reused in this process and only panels that had to be replaced were replaced. The chassis used as a parts car for #33 was a 1993 chassis. But, not only was it a 1993 Mustang chassis, it was a chassis that was completed the same MONTH of production at Ford as the chassis from #33. So ALL of the panels on the car have the correct date stamps for the chassis build. And since the 1993 chassis floorpan is different along with some other details changed for 1993, #33 got its exact floor pan and panels needed to make it exactly as delivered from Ford. The owner did decide to add a Saleen SC/SA10 hood to complete that period correct look on the exterior.
The owner took good care in replicating the ford factory finishes underneath and under the hood. So many Fox Mustangs get over restored because people want a shiny finish under the hood. That’s not correct because the only paint that landed under the hood was overspray during the painting process at Ford. Replicating these processes and finishes is actually more difficult than spraying base/clear over an engine bay and suspension K member. The factory finishes may not be perfect under the hood for some people, but it sure is for us purists.
The owner decided to add some period correct touches, which we’re ALL about here at Purist Motorsports, that are pieces from the Saleen Catalog. The Boost and Fuel pressure gauges in the vents are getting very difficult to find in black and fetch a pretty penny. The interior is finished off with a two point Saleen interior brace and standard Saleen Recaro appointed interior. Recaro is a very comfortable seat compared to the Flofit seats used by Saleen from 1987-1991.
A V1 Vortech Supercharger was added to the engine to replicate a factory supercharged look and function of a 1993 Saleen Mustang. The heads are aluminum Edelbrock heads that could have been bought through the Saleen Catalog as well. The short block is a built motor with forged internals and some liberties were taken to ensure reliability and strength. The engine has the Saleen Catalog T shaped oil pan. A Tremec 5 speed transmission backs up all that power and delivers it to a rear axle that has been overhauled and sports 1994-2004 cobra rear brakes.
The front suspension was changed under our care at the request of the owner to a Maximum Motorsports coil over suspension with Saleen Alcon four piston calipers and 13” Alcon rotors. These brakes are period correct and are another item that is very difficult to find. The owner plans to drive this car and sought to have a more modern suspension but keep the stock look of the vehicle including that classic looking Saleen stance. You just can’t beat that perfect tire to fender “cleavage” that Saleen nailed from their designs.
ll in all this car has risen from the ashes and been brought back to factory finish. This is the kind of restoration we like to see. A few modern touches underneath with suspension that we’re installing for the owner, but that can’t be seen. So the car presents itself as a factory supercharged 1993 Foxbody Saleen with all kinds of Saleen Catalog parts.
Our prediction over the next 10 years is that you’ll see cars like this one more often. The rare and desirable will become valuable enough to save. We’re glad to have had a part in saving this precious vehicle. There were just over 100 examples of 1993 Saleen’s produced. That includes Saleen SA10’s and Saleen SC’s. So as you can see these 1993’s are very desirable being the last year of the Foxbody Saleen and the Foxbody Mustang.