Congratulations to Mike Holian (FEP Username: TopGear85
) and his 1985 Mustang GT Saleen #73 as the winning car of the August Ride of the Month. This win is a special one for Mike and his Saleen due to the long journey the both have been on to get here. Mike purchased the Saleen in October of 2013 to fulfill a 20 year dream of owning a Four Eyed Saleen Mustang. The main reason Mike wanted this specific car is because it's unusual and different. This unique Saleen began life as a GT model (1 of only 7 converted by Saleen in 1985) rather than the standard LX that most Saleen Mustangs were built off of. The car is a factory tu-tone car and has cruise control. Both of these options were the only two that Saleen specifically asked cars NOT have. Saleen did offer the conversion to a GT over the LX models, but did charge more for the conversions. The reason Saleen didnít want to convert models with those options is due to the tri-colored stripes on the lower aero package didnít work as well with the tu-tone paint job. Saleen also installed the Wolf steering wheel instead of the stock 3 spoke on the LX models that were not equipped with cruise control. Mike estimates that with all the extra painting and body work involved in converting this GT, probably made it one of the more expensive 1985 Saleens built. Mike also states that so far this is the only factory tu-tone Mustang known to be converted by Saleen.
Mikeís Saleen was a bit worse for wear when he purchased it. Over the last 2 years he has spent endless hours getting it to the condition you see today. For the most part the Saleen is stock, or being returned to stock as work progresses. Mikeís goal is to return the Saleen to its original glory using original or O.E style replacement parts when possible. The Mustang still retains 95% of its original sheet metal with the hatch being the only piece that was replaced. This is a temporary replacement because the original hatch has some rust that is being repaired and the hatch will be re-installed when the car gets a professional restoration. Mike canít wait to begin a full restoration, but as so many of us he has to amass the funds for such a huge undertaking.
The Saleen has very few modifications due to Mikeís desire for #73 to be an original style restoration. The Saleen does have a bit more exhaust rumble, thanks to a pair of Flowmaster mufflers that were installed by a previous owner. The Saleen is currently wearing a 1986 front air dam and a pair of fiberglass replica rear spats, but Mike does have the correct 1985 urethane air dam and urethane rear spats which will be installed when the car is professionally restored.
Most if not all the members of FEP are aware of the challenges Mike has faced with his Saleen thanks to his build threads and picture postings. The Saleen started off as a challenge even before Mike picked it up. Mike had some issues when picking up the Saleen from the previous owner. Then the car had some title status issues that had to be worked out before Mike got his clear title. Since then the Saleen has had one mechanical issue after another. Mike did say that the 30 year old wiring has by far been the worse part of the repairs.
Mike humbly states that the Saleen looks as it does right now because that is the best job that he could do as a paint and body rookie. Mike does admit the Saleen has been a learning experience the whole way through. A large number of members here on FEP feel his work looks pretty good as is evident by the Saleen being featured here as the Ride of the Month. Mikeís ultimate dream for the Saleen is to have a professional restoration that would include a full mechanical, interior, and exterior restoration. All that work would bring the Saleen back to its original glory and beauty which is exactly what Mike would love the most.
Mike wanted to wrap up the August Ride of the Month by saying ďI want to thank everyone that has helped me throughout the way. The car would still look exactly as it did when I picked it up if it wasn't for all of you.Ē FEP would like to thank Mike for sharing his #73 Saleen with us as well as allowing us to see all his frustrations, setbacks, and successes along the way. This is exactly what great communities like FEP are about...fellow enthusiasts helping one another out when things get tough, giving support and motivation to keep going during those tough times, and congratulating fellow members when all that hard work pays off.