It’s not often a car manufacturer comes across a vehicle that they have completely forgotten about, is it? It’s also quite unusual when said car manufacturer is unable to find any information about the vehicle.. this is exactly that.
Let’s begin with the Chevrolet Corvette and after 66 years on the market becoming a mid-engined car. Throughout the 66 long years, the Ford-owned brand has, of course, put together several concept cars with the engine behind the seats, including the 1959 CERV-I and the 1964 CERV II. Around this same time, Ford was also playing with the idea of making their pony car’s mid-engined too but it would appear that this project had been all but forgotten.
Ford Performance’s official website recently posted four images of what appears to be a mid-engined Mustang concept vehicle, but there is a catch, they don’t seem to know much, if anything at all, about the car’s origins.
It is believed that Ford stumbled across the images around 5 years ago and have been trying to work out the vehicle’s history ever since. Dean Weber former head of Ford Archives took it upon himself to decipher the mystery and got in touch with Mustang expert John Clor at Ford Performance as well as John Clinard who heads up Ford’s West Coast Public Affairs wing – as he believed they were both best qualified to get to the bottom of this enigma. The only clues they had were the photos and the knowledge that it was photographed inside the Dearborn Design Studio on May 2, 1966.
Weber emailed both Clor and Clinard in the hopes that they may be able to shed some light on the situation, to which Clor replied:
“Wow! Unreal! I have NEVER seen these shots or anything even REMOTELY like them before … almost look like they were part of [Eugene] Bordinat’s previous Allegro project? I bet either Hal Sperlich or Gale Halderman would know; mind if I show these photos to them and see if they can remember? After all, they were both down there in the Design Studio at the time”
As we can imagine, Clinard was just as excited about the images and was able to identify where the images were taken thanks to long time Ford designer Greg Hutting:
“My thoughts exactly. I’ve never seen or heard of this car. So cool! I showed it to Greg Hutting, veteran designer here in the Irvine studio. He identified the location as the ‘International Studio’ in Dearborn but said he had never seen this property before!”
As Clor mentioned in his email, he went on to speak with Hal Sperlich, a product panner for Ford, in the hope that Sperlich would be able to shed some further light on the elusive concept car, but unfortunately, they too, drew a blank:
“The only thing I can think is that this might have something to do with the drivable version of the Ford Research mid-ship car that was used as a Mustang tease.”
Determined to get to the bottom of this, Clor didn’t let his shortcomings stop him and also spoke with Gale Helderman, who was the original lead designer of the Mustang, and amazingly Halderman had a completely different opinion for the origins of the vehicle. Halderman believed the mid-engined Mustang concept was nothing to do with the development of new Mustang’s but was rather developed as a one-off Ford project, years before what they believed.
We’re eager to see how this unfolds and will be keeping an eye on this as it develops, until then, stay tuned.