Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						Mid Engine Mustang 1
Help I.D. This Mid-Engine Mustang

Mid-engine ’66 Mustang found in Ford archives

By Dean Larson

Photos: Ford Performance, Courtesy of John Clor

The top-secret projects and skunkworks builds of the 1960s are a fantastic study in the evolution of performance and the fine art of automotive design. And back in the ’60s, there were truly innovative projects going on behind closed doors at Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and the others; just think of the early Ford GT40, Corvette Grand Sport and Dodge Charger Daytona. Now some 50 years later, you might think that all the photos have been shared, and the stories told from such projects, but that’s not the case. Ford uncovered some striking photos of a mid-engine Mustang concept and know one seems to know the scoop, so the Blue Oval is asking the greater enthusiast community for help in identifying this wild two-seater.

According to Ford Performance, the story all began about five years ago, when Dean Weber, then head of the Ford Archives, found four photos of a mid-engine Mustang project from May 2, 1966 while sifting through some scans. Weber was aware of a few mid-engine projects taking place in those days, but none that fit the bill, as this car appeared to be based on a modified ’66 Mustang body. Weber circulated the photos to several contacts at that time, but the car was a mystery to all. Notably, former Ford Design VP Jack Telnack, Hal Sperlich (the project planner who tackled the Mustang program), Gale Halderman (principal stylist for the original Mustang) and Roy Lund (“godfather of the GT40”) all could only speculate on the car, suggesting a loose connection to the midship Mustang I and ’67 Mach 2 concept cars. But the experts noted that any potential relation to these cars would be distant at best, given the ’66 Mustang underpinnings.

What’s seen in the photos is a pretty radical adaptation, quite a bit removed from the production Mustang coupe. The proportions are much different in the rear to accommodate the mid-mounted engine and transaxle setup. There’s also the addition of the rear firewall, adjusted roof structure and enhanced cooling provisions up front. The silhouette is sorta reminiscent of a Porsche 914 from the side, but the view of the engine screams De Tomaso Pantera.

At this point Ford is asking for anyone who may have information on the Mustang project to email ClubHub@Ford.com to help piece together the story. The photos were shot in the International Studio in Dearborn on May 2, 1966, but that’s all that’s certain. Send them a note if you’ve seen this machine before, and then let us know as well!

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