We've never lost our fascination for the odd finds. Back in April of this year, Kevin Marti of Marti Auto Works and I were sitting in his suburban Phoenix showroom chatting about Mustang oddities—those Mustangs that many enthusiasts swear Ford never built because the orders made little sense. Of course, on the flip side there are the Mustangs that people claim were built but actually never saw the end of an assembly line, let alone ordered.
Kevin visited his vast Ford database (home of the coveted Marti Reports) to find some of the most unusual Mustang orders ever, plus those "rare" Mustangs that enthusiasts insist a buddy or an uncle had that were never built. Currently, Kevin's Mustang information covers the 1967 to 1993 model years, which gives him a broad database for research.
Because the Marti Auto Works Ford database doesn't go back beyond 1967, it leaves 1965-1966 as a huge production mystery. Yet Kevin has answers there too because he has acquired the In Search of Mustangs Registry & Census, having recently created a website and database at www.insearchofmustangs.org. The In Search of Mustangs website is user friendly and invites your participation, including adding your Mustang to the database. From the Ford database and In Search of Mustangs, we have amassed an interesting line of Mustang oddities—ones we have confirmed Ford built along with the ones Ford truly never built.
1971 Boss 302
Skeptics struggle to believe this one, but it is true. Ford ordered six pre-production 1971 Boss 302 Mustangs with "G" engine codes and Boss 302 engines for photography and magazine road test purposes. One was built and the others were cancelled when Ford discontinued the Boss 302 program in the summer of 1970.
Andrew Hack bought his Grabber Yellow 1971 SportsRoof in 2007 because he liked the looks with Mach 1 hockey stick stripes. Yet it wasn't a Mach 1; with 4-speed transmission and 9-inch rear end mounted with staggered rear shocks, it was more like a Boss 351. That's because the SportsRoof left the Dearborn assembly plant as a 1971 Boss 302 for display at Ford's dealer show in Las Vegas and possibly for promotional photography—only the "Boss 302" decals were later air-brushed to read "Boss 351."
When Ford was finished with this car, the Boss lettering on the fenders and rear deck lid were removed, and the engine was replaced with a 2-barrel 351 Cleveland, including a new VIN with the corresponding H engine code. Hack used a hair dryer to loosen the door decals, enabling him to uncover the original VIN label with the G engine code—for Boss 302. Ford eventually sold the Mustang in 1971 as program vehicle (see "The Lost Boss" in the February 2008 Mustang Monthly, or search for the story on the website at www.mustangmonthly.com).
Two Millionth Hardtop
On May 24, 1968, at the Dearborn assembly plant, Ford rolled out the red carpet for a Candyapple Red '68 Mustang hardtop, which was celebrated as the 2 Millionth Mustang. For years, it was unknown what happened to this car. Recently, it was learned that the car was given away at the National Council of Mustang Club's 1968 Mustang National Round-Up in San Francisco, California, Won by Southern Arizona Mustang Club members Margarette and Bill Forrester, the car's location is unknown today. We don't even know if it survives. Kevin Marti did extensive research to determine the 2 Millionth Mustang's vehicle identification number without success. His research continues.
1983 Mustang GT Turbo
Many will tell you that the 1983 Mustang GT Turbo does not exist. However, Ford sold 604 of them, according to www.mustanggt.org, which is a great website for those interested in 1982-1983 Mustang GTs. All 604 turbo cars were hatchbacks produced at the end of the 1983 model year. The GT Turbo continued as a rare option into 1984 with 412 convertibles and 3,386 hatchbacks sold. (It is important to understand the difference between numbers sold and numbers built. They are rarely the same number and challenging to confirm because true numbers are confidential according to a trusted Ford insider).
Henry Ford II's Hi-Po
The first production 289 High Performance Mustang is definitely a one-of-a-kind. The story continues in 1977 when Detroiter and retired Ford engineer Art Cairo spotted a newspaper ad for a 1965 Mustang "once owned by the Ford family." Asking price: $750. He saw the car, heard the engine, and couldn't pass it up. It was unique with all-leather interior, lots of bling, plush carpeting, real teakwood appointments, and leather top. When he spotted the car's early VIN, 5F07K100148, it was a done deal. At the time, Art used it as an occasional weekend driver. But when his brother blew the engine, Art rebuilt the Hi-Po and tucked the black hardtop in his garage.
For years, Art assumed the car had belonged to Edsel Ford II, based on a 1965 owner's manual found in the glove compartment. A 1983 conversation with Edsel revealed that the hardtop was a one-of-a-kind build for his father, Henry Ford II. Although it is easy to assume this car was owned by HFII, it actually belonged to Ford Motor Company and was an executive vehicle custom-built for his use before being sold on Ford's Employee Resale Lot in Dearborn. The low consecutive unit number and a date code of "05C" confirms this car's status as a pre-production unit.
A few years ago, Rustbusters in Redford, Michigan, restored the car. With a faithful full-scale restoration behind it, Henry Ford II's Mustang is ready for its 50th birthday in 2014.