By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Given the Ford Mustang’s prominence in American car culture, and culture in general, anything tied to the car’s history is significant. Consider the first Mustang ever sold to the public, a ’64 convertible still with its original owner, which is estimated to be worth over $350,000.

But the original Ford Mustang wasn’t a V8-powered stallion, or even a pony car at all. The Mustang actually got its start in 1962 as a small prototype with a V4 engine mounted mid-ship. Meant to fill the gap between go-karts and larger sports cars, the Mustang I would be an affordable and stylish two seater that qualified for SCCA Class G racing. The engine in the Mustang I was a 1,500cc V4 lump from Ford Germany, and the front-wheel driveline was pulled from the German Taunus sedan. The compact driveline was mounted behind the cockpit, for a mid-engine, rear drive layout.

The Mustang I had several other interesting innovations and features. The car was based off a space frame with a one-piece body that featured built-in seats for improved rigidity. Given the fixed seating, drivers were able to adjust the pedals and steering wheel. Four-wheel independent suspension was used, along with front disc brakes and an integral roll bar built into the body.

Just two Mustang I prototypes were built, one a complete car with an alloy body, and the other a nonoperational fiberglass mock up. But the Mustang project soon transitioned to a four-seat layout that more closely reflects the final 1964 Mustang, and genre-defining pony car would share little with its prototype parent. The operational alloy Mustang I was donated to Henry Ford Museum in the 1980s.

But it seems that’s not the only piece of Mustang I history still in existence. An ad on Grand Rapids Craigslist titled "1962 Ford Mustang I Concept Fiberglass Mold," offers this explanation for ancient prototype parts:

“My father bought the mold back in the mid to late ’60s in Detroit and had it shipped home. And it’s been in his garage ever since then. So if you would like to build a piece of history of the Mustang I, here you go.”

The artifact looks the part, and does seem like it has been sitting around for decades. But other than that, the mold looks legit and serviceable if you wanted to build a Mustang I. But the price might be a bit prohibitive at $17,000; after all, you’re getting molds for that price, not a complete body.

I’m not certain on the whereabouts of the original fiberglass Mustang I mock up. The car may have been destroyed, or lost over the years. If someone owns it today, they’re not bragging about it too much on the web. Recreating the fiberglass mock up (as a functional car obviously) could be a worthy project if that's the case, especially using the original molds, but what would an appropriate price be? Enough to rationalize spending $17, 000 right off the bat?

See the ad here on Grand Rapids Craigslist.