Ford Needs Your Help to Identify This Mid-Engined Mustang
Ford just discovered its third mid-engined Mustangby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 04:15
A front-engined pony car since its inception in 1964, the Ford Mustang has occasionally been imagined as a mid-engined sports car. In fact, Ford used the Mustang name on a mid-engined concept car it built in 1962. It’s called the Mustang I and it sparked rumors that Ford might build a competitor for the Corvette.
The idea was revisited in 1967 with the Mach 2 concept, but the production Mustang remained a front-engined vehicle to this day. But it seems that Ford built another mid-engined Mustang in 1966 and forgot about it. Photos of the vehicle were found recently in Ford’s archives and the automaker wants your help to identify it.
The mid-engined Ford Mustang that the company doesn’t remember
As silly as it may sound, Ford has no idea what this car is all about. Photos of the mid-engined prototype were discovered by a retired Ford Archives employee and shared with several former Ford designers and experts with no results.
No one seems to remember the car and the only known fact is that the photos were taken at Ford’s International Studio in Dearborn.
It’s also obvious that the prototype is different from the Mach 2, which used parts from the 1967 Mustang. This vehicle seems to be fitted with body parts from the 1966 model, particularly the rear fenders and the front bumper. There are no fenders up front, but the section seems just as long as the regular Mustang. Ford obviously made some changes to the cooling system here.
In the back, the trunk lid and the rear passenger section were removed to make way for a V-8 engine mounted longitudinally. There’s also a spare tire between the engine and the rear fascia. Naturally, the prototype features only two front seats that sit lower in the floor. Given the state of the prototype I’m tempted to believe that it was never finished and Ford started working on the Mach 2.
Maybe it’s just an early version of the Mach 2, prepped before the 1967 Mustang was introduced? Unless someone at Ford remembers this project, we might not even find out.
Do you have any info on it? If you do, make sure you send it over to ClubHub@Ford.com to give FoMoCo a hand in solving this mystery. If not, what’s your take on it? Let me know in the comments section.
Mid-Engined Ford Mustangs from the past
1962 Ford Mustang I
The iconic Mustang started life as a two-door, mid-engined roadster built in 1962. Featuring a simple and aerodynamic design, as well as pop-out headlamps, the Mustang I was powered by a tiny 1.5-liter V-4 engine. The concept was less than four meters long and tipped the scales at only 1,544 pounds.
Ford debuted the concept at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, where it was driven by F1 ace Dan Gurney, spawning rumors that Ford was readying a competitor for the Chevrolet Corvette. The Mustang I was also showcased at various automotive events for the next two years. It was followed by the Mustang II in 1963, but this roadster featured a front-engined layout, just like the production model that followed.
1967 Ford Mustang Mach 2
The Mach 2 concept had nothing in common with the more familiar Mach 1. While the latter was an iteration of the production Mustang, the Mach 2 featured a completely different design. Not only it had its engine behind the seats, but it also featured a more aggressive and streamline design. It looked more like a Lotus sports car from the era than any other vehicle that Ford was offering at the time.
Unlike the Mustang I, it featured a 4.7-liter V-8 engine under the hood. Developed at a time when General Motors also built Corvette prototypes with mid-engined layouts, the Mach 2 sparked rumors that Ford might preview a successor to the Shelby Cobra. But the concept was retired in a museum after it toured the auto show circuit.
Source: Ford Performance