My Car Quest

July 18, 2024

Update On The Mustang Prototype From The Owner And Others Who Know More Than I Do

by Mike –

The Mustang Prototype post from earlier today attracted a lot of attention from a regular reader, a professional car writer and the owner of this Mustang. Before we get to what they had to say let me set the stage.

When the Mustang was introduced in 1964/65 I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, arguably the car enthusiasts capital of the world.

Naturally I loved the Mustang and became particularly fond of the 1965 and 1966 Shelby GT 350 (one of which is my Car of the Day for sale today).

Yet I have never owned a Mustang and I have never heard of this Mustang prototype. It seems like maybe I am the only one who hasn’t heard of this one of a kind Mustang.

I was walking around the “What Were They Thinking” Class at Amelia Island a few days ago and after I shot the photos of the Ugliest Car I have ever seen I came upon this unusual looking car that reminded me of a Mustang.

Ford Mustang Prototype

I took photos, read the plaque and then yesterday posted an article about this unique Mustang.

I then heard from Glenn in the Bronx, NY who told me that an article had been published in Hemmings Blog recently – read his comments at the end of the Mustang Prototype article.

Then Marty Schorr, a friend and publisher of Car Guy Chronicles, sent me an email telling me that he had also written an article about this Mustang Prototype.

Marty had this to say,

Hi Mike:
Saw your posting this AM on the shortened Mustang at Amelia. I had published a piece on this car first week in Feb. Back in the day I spent time with Vince Gardner and did a cover story on his Cayuse Falcon for one of my magazines. Neat guy with incredible design background before Ford. The execution was done by Andy Hotten’s Dearborn Steel Tubing, a Ford (exhaust system and low volume racecars) vendor that also built the Ford Thunderbolt 427 drag cars. Andy was a big collector of classic Lincolns.


Ford Mustang Prototype

Finally, Bill Snyder, the owner of this special Mustang wrote in an email,

My preproduction Mustang seen at Amelia Island

I’d like to clear up a few points. The car’s fiberglass body was built by Dearborn Steel Tubing from Vince Gardner’s design and with his assistance. While it was one of ten pre-production chassis it was the only one modified. It was shown throughout the country on a Ford promotional tour. It was not intended to be a protoyype of a saleable car. In fact I went to see it at a dealer’s display early in 1965 as I had read about it in Motor Trend and the story indicated that a limited number of these cars would be offered for sale. Not True! I wanted to retire the 1954 Corvette I was driving every day hence thought a fiberglass two passenger Mustang would be great. I approached the dealer salesman regarding purchase and he laughed and told me this was never meant to be a production design and this car could not be sold to the public since it was a preproduction vehicle. In fact it would be crushed after the tour was complete. That is why Gardner stole it and why it still exists.


Well there you have it – the truth from people who were there and know what really happened. Perhaps this car should not be called a prototype but a concept car?.




  1. autotraveler says

    Mike, I hope that you won’t find this a self-serving plug but I shot the car as it was driven on to the show field early Sunday morning ( and I thought it looked great, even if I wouldn’t have shortened the wheelbase as much as they did. I also spoke at length with the owner later in the day and had hoped to shoot it after the awards ceremony but it didn’t work out (I ended up shooting the 1908 Benz Prinz Heinrich down on the beach). The story need to be told and at some point I hope to do it if I can re-connect with Bill Snyder.

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