Over the years, Ford has often experimented with two-seat variations on the Mustang’s four-place pony car theme. Here are a few interesting examples.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that Ford’s decision to make the 1965 Mustang a four-seater rather than a two-seater was the correct one. This savvy move made the Mustang a viable option for a far wider range of car buyers, including young families. And it provided a much-needed product differentiator, putting some distance on the Corvette and other high-performance sports cars. The Mustang’s rear seat may have been minimal, but it helped to define the pony car category.
Still, it’s fun to note that Ford repeatedly experimented with the concept of a two-place Mustang, both during the pony car’s development period and over its long production life. Many of these designs are interesting indeed. Here are a few examples.
Introduced at the 1993 North American Auto Show in Detroit, the Mustang Mach III concept foreshadowed a number of styling elements that would later appear in the 1994 production Mustang. However, the two-place cockpit and low, roadster-style windscreen signalled there was little if any production intent in the Mach III concept as a package.
This Ford styling proposal for two-place Mustang coupe is dated April 23, 1964, only days after the debut of the production four-seat Mustang at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Obviously, Ford was at least contemplating a two-seater variant on the standard four-place Mustang platform right from the start.
Here’s another two-seater proposal from the Ford styling studios, this one dated October 19,1966. The fastback SportsRoof profile, badging, and overall styling theme are shared with the eventual 1969 Mustang production car. There’s no reason to believe the two-seater ever went beyond this mockup phase.
Here’s possibly the best known of all the two-place Mustangs: the famed “Shorty” Mustang built for Ford by Vince Gardner and Dearborn Steel Tubing, Ford’s favored performance subcontractor. Based on an early pre-production Mustang coupe assembled in late 1963, Shorty had 16 inches sectioned from the stock floor pan and new rear fenders and sail panels designed and molded in fiberglass by Gardner. The unique two-seater toured with Ford’s Custom Car Caravan in 1964 and today resides in a private collection.
The Mustang story begins here, with the original 1962 Mustang prototype that would later become known as the Mustang I. But with its petite mid-engine chassis, Ford Cologne V4 engine, and aluminum bodywork, the Mustang I contributed little to the eventual Mustang production car—the name, of course, and in stylized form, the distinctive side cooling scoops. Mustang I is now in the Henry Ford Museum.