McLaren Ford Mustang M-81


the rare as hen's teeth collab from heaven

There are a load of Mustang specials, studies and concepts you didn’t even know exist.

Here’s one of our faves. The McLaren Mustang was the result of a collaboration between Ford Design and McLaren Performance and was penned right after Ford announced the formation of Special Vehicle Operations at the end of 1980.

At the time McLaren was already famous for its motorsport endeavours and success – particularly in the Indy and Can Am scene. This heavily modified hatchback exploited this McLaren cachet with straightforward Fordist flare, borrowing design elements from the Ford IMSA race car, including that Bocanegra nose and the massively flared arches.


There are obviously a load of functional scoops and intakes, but under the skin there’s a suspension upgrade and BBS alloys with hefty Firestones.

That paintjob is pure McLaren reference, meanwhile, with a orange-ish golden exterior finish similar to that seen on most of the Can-Am weapons.

The beast was motored by a turbocharged, 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine that generated 175 horsepower. Production was initially set at 250 units, but only ten of them were eventually built including the prototype.

Ever spotted one? No, we thought not.