Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1980 M81 McLaren and the Enduro Mustang History and Recent sale

Now LMR.com had this nice little write up and it's great but isn't 100% accurate 

Recently a couple cars from an estate went to ebay for auction and I know of one selling for 60,300 or at least that is what the auction ended up with. Yes, the 2.3 Turbo and the Ford 5.0 were used in the Enduro cars, but not all. A couple had the European Cosworth 4 cylinder that was also used in the Ford Escort Rally cars. and it was a bad little beast. Owner advertised with 320 to 340 hp out of the little force of nature. This by far is one of my most favorite cars ever produced.


The Mustang McLaren M81 was a prototype Fox Body Mustang equipped with a 2.3L Turbo motor that had been blueprinted, polished, deburred, & reassembled by McLaren engines. It is often believed that the M81 was the first SVO vehicle from Ford’s new Special Vehicle Operations division. While 250 M81 Mustangs had been scheduled to be produced, only 10 cars were made after the first prototype.


In the late 70s, Ford wanted to bring attention to the 2.3L turbo motor due to the energy crisis and death of big block motors. To help spread awareness, Ford gave the approval to a special project car that would become the showcase car for Ford’s new turbo 4 cylinder motor. Todd Gerstenberger & Harry Wykes collaborated on the design of the new M81 McLaren and completed the prototype in the spring of 1980. Ford had a few requirements for this car which included highlighting the handling capabilities and using current, off the shelf parts inventory. With the massive positive response to the prototype, Ford’s Motorsports division and McLaren Engines got the approval for a limited run of 249 vehicles to begin production in 1981.


Although the prototype had a surprisingly large amount of positive feedback, the M81 did not appeal to the consumers at the hefty price tag of $25,000. This caused the hand built cars to come up incredibly short of its approved 249 vehicles by producing only 10 cars other than the prototype. While the M81 did not catch on, it has been thought that it paved the way for the later SVO Mustang.


  • 2.3L Turbo Motor
  • T-3 Garret Turbo
  • 9.0:1 Compression
  • 175 Horsepower
  • 145 Ft/Lbs Torque


  • Fully Adjustable Koni Shocks
  • Fully Adjustable Koni Struts
  • Unique Higher-Rate Springs
  • Police Packaged Fairmont Sway Bars w/ Tungsten Bushings


  • 3 Piece BBS 15x8 Wheels
  • 255/55/15 Firestone HPR Tires
  • 10.6” Front Rotors
  • Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
  • V8 Mustang Calipers
  • 9” Rear Drums


  • Functional Heat Extracting Hood
  • Chin Spoiler
  • Active Front/Rear Brake Ducts
  • Wide Steel Fender Flares


  • Recaro LS Bucket Seats Matched To Rear Seats
  • 14” Racemark Leather Steering Wheel
  • SCCA Approved Bolt In Roll Bar
  • Unique Stewart-Warner Instrument Panel That Integrated To The Factory Dash
  • Small Brass Dash Plaque


  • 249 Slated For Production (Plus One Prototype)
  • 10 Actually Produced (Plus One Prototype)
  • 7 Bittersweet Orange
  • 1 Black
  • 1 White
  • 2 Enduros
Each of these cars were setup in their own way. 

Stewart Warner stage III gauges. Popular pick back in the day.

I have seen some with the Gas fill through the hatch and some with out. 

This Prototype only had 75 miles on it.

Now this one I believe was the one offered to the public as regular commuter. 
This would have been the street look alike kit offered Notice the fuel door. 

Now this is Street Car Production number 10 and the US 2.3L Turbo Equipped. 

The Cosworth M81 McLaren Mustang Racecar number 001 that was at Indianapolis.
Unfortunately this engine really wasn't an option in production cars in the USA. However overseas it was. 
This was a 1.6 L twin cam that pushed impressive 320 to 340 HP.

Notice below the headlights the additional over sized lighting added.

1982 Enduro 

For Photo Credits: Ryan Merrill © 2015 Auctions America on the 1982 Blue Enduro below
Excellent Job on the photos by the way. 

1980 Ford Mustang "GT Enduro" Prototype
Sold For $40,700
RM | Auctions - HILTON HEAD 2015

The Fiberglass Kit that was advertised for awhile. 

The Iron Horse used to create the Fiberglass kit for the Cars

Now if you want to recreate the Iron Horse like I have thought about doing, then this is the book you need. Parts of the build were documented in this book as a teaching tool. IF you recreate the Iron Horse new molds can be made for replacement parts and restoration of the existing M81 and Enduro cars out there. 

Hood discussion on Page 10, 106 - 112 Fender Flares are on 118 

Hood was a 2 person job with welding, hammering, and english wheel work being required. 

Insurance $54.91 
Treatment $37.18 
Loans $44.28 
Attorney $47.07 
Mortgage $47.12 
Hosting $31.91 
Rehab $33.59 
Classes $35.04 
Transfer $29.86 
Recovery $42.03 
Software $35.29 
Claim $45.51 
Trading $33.19 
Lawyer $42.51 
Donate $42.02 
Credit $36.06 
Conference Call $42.05 
Degree $40.61
Gas/Electricity $54.62 
Cord Blood $27.80

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