Rare Rides: The Singular 1989 Mercury Sable Convertible

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the singular 1989 mercury sable convertible

Today we head deep into the purest sort of Rare Ride: A vehicle which exists as a singularity, a one-off. It’s a two-door convertible version of the first-generation Mercury Sable.

The lightbar will guide our way.

Taurus and Sable were a big risk for Ford when it introduced its new midsize twins for the 1986 model year. The company went big on cohesive product development, aerodynamics, and a new, modern take on a family sedan and wagon. Six years in development paid off: The Taurus and Sable were an instant hit. They readily found favor with customers eager to leave their boxy rear-drive sedans behind.

The twins’ first generation ran from model years 1986 to 1991, and cars were available solely in sedan and wagon body styles. Sable remained in its original guise until 1989, when it was lightly refreshed via some new parking lamp lenses and different tail lamps. But over at Cars & Concepts, some designers had an idea for additional Sable development sans roof.

The project started with a standard Sable sedan that wore silver paint and a burgundy cloth interior and was powered by the reliable Vulcan 3.0-liter V6. Extensive surgery was required to turn the sedan into a convertible, and the first order of business was ditching the rear doors. Front doors were then made longer to aid rear-seat access, which meant the interior door panels were reworked entirely. A redesign of the rear suspension also occurred. Somewhere in the process, the roof and windows went away too.

Many engineering hours were spent to design a fully automatic hydraulic convertible roof. It folded behind the rear seats and was hidden by a solid tonneau cover. And speaking of the rear seats, tiny 3-inch televisions were added to entertain passengers who found Gameboy screens slightly too small.

The convertible transformation was finished in time for the 1989 SAE Expo, at the very first edition of the NAIAS. There’s no evidence to suggest the project was anything other than Cars & Concepts showing off what they could do. The concept was put in a warehouse for many years until it was titled properly and sold via eBay in 2006. It’s currently for sale via a car dealer in Austin, who used the Sable as a display at his dealership.

The car has accumulated slightly less than 300 miles between 1995 and today, and its odometer presently reads 9,800. This very unique Sable is all yours for $18,900 or thereabouts.

[Images: seller]

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Sep 09, 2020

    Really want to dislike this car, but I can't. They actually seem to have done a 'good' job.

  • 07NodnarB 07NodnarB on Sep 13, 2020

    I was not ready for that. (takes a pause) I...It... (takes another pause). Of all things I thought i'd never see that has got to be first on the list. Interesting...

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.