Mustangs that never were: The alternate history of Ford’s pony car


The Ford Mustang's path from affordable coupe to performance icon has taken many twists and turns in its near-55-year history. Built on a platform similar to that of Ford's econo-oriented Falcon when it was first introduced as a mid-year model in 1964, the Mustang pulled much of its styling inspiration from the Allegro concept that had appeared the year before, and its formula of small car plus V-8 engine would set the tone for the next five decades of its existence.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/17/alternate-history-of-fords-mustang


The Mustang wagon shown in the photo is most definitely NOT the Intermeccanica car. The Intermeccanica car is clearly recognizable as a 64-65 Mustang, as opposed to the car shown which looks somewhat more like a 67-68. About 5 - 7 years ago my brother and I owned a replica of the Intermeccanica car which was brilliantly constructed in the late 1980’s by a gentleman in the Midwest from a derelict 65 Mustang. The most attention-getting car I have ever owned.


In 1966 Ford Motor Company designed and built one additional Mustang that was given the model # 51A. This project, headed by engineer-in-charge Ben J. Smith who designed and built the 1957 - 1959 retractable hardtop Skyliner line, was given a budget of $250,000 to design and build a Mustang retractable hardtop. The retractable hardtop Mustang was built and reviewed by Ford executives who decided to place it into production in the model year 1967. Before the 1967 Mustang line began, a decision was made by Ford not to put the design into production and canceled the project. The completed retractable hardtop Mustang was never crushed by Ford and it is somewhere in Ford’s vast vault of cars that never were. The Michigan license plate number the retractable hardtop Mustang used during testing was 12M-119.


Why do publications and enthusiasts continue to identify the Mustang as a “'64 mid year introduction”? The car was introduced in April 1964 as the '65 Mustang. There was never a car identified by FoMoCo as the '64 or '64 1/2 Mustang. It is interesting that the stylists at Ford had so promptly undertaken the redesign of the Mustang for a 4 door sedan and a station wagon. Look at what they were able to achieve with the successful Baby Bird. Some people never seem to learn.


What about the mid-engine that was built any info on that?


I am sorry, but I do not have any information on the mid-engine Mustang. I will see if Ben J. Smith has any additional information on that model and get back to you if any information exist.



I have a 1966 Mustang coupe that was bought new by my Grandmother and which I inherited in 1994, with only 35K miles. It has only five options(289 2 bbl V-8, automatic, power steering, white wall tires, and wire wheel covers). Although Grandma didn’t drive a lot and it was garaged from new, Omaha Winters took enough of a toll that it needed a good bit of bodywork.

The shop farmed out the paint work and after it came back to them they put on the new chrome trim kit. The kit included an antenna and they drilled through the brand new fender to add it and never noticed that the car was not equipped with a radio. I was not pleased. Excuses about needing to wait for the paint to cure, the paint man’s availability, and additional mechanical issues that slowed my ability to have the issue fixed quickly dragged things out. When everything finally lined up, two years had passed and the shop owner refused to fix it. I believe he went out of business a short time later.

I have driven it sparingly over the years and frankly it isn’t much fun to drive. I keep the car for sentimental reasons and could never sell it. I have had other toys as well, including Harleys and currently a '92 Maxton Rollerskate roadster. But I would like to update and possibly transform the Mustang into something that is enjoyable to drive. Having had sports cars, and also planning on finding a vintage Pontiac GTO at some point as my muscle car, I am not looking for the Mustang to be a performance car, but rather a cruiser.

One thought I had was to make it into a one-of-none luxury Mustang, a “What If” car, a Mustang LTD if you will, complete with bench seat, column shift, and some luxury options borrowed from the T-bird. Another option I am considering is to have the car converted into a convertible. As I will never sell the car and have no concern about trying to keep it stock, and have no interest into making it into a sports car, muscle car, or to Shelby-ize it, I thought the luxury route would make the car more usable and enjoyable and also unique. Although Ford never made a luxury Mustang during the 1964-66 years(that I know of), before making the Mercury Cougar and then eventually more luxury-oriented Mustang trims(Grande, then Ghia, and finally GLX), I thought this might be a fun way to go and definitely a road less traveled. I appreciate any sincere and constructive suggestions.