Ford has done a really good job in 2014 telling all kinds of great Mustang stories. The 50th anniversary of the car has been handled with amazing prowess by the company from the way they interacted with fans at events across the country to the way they have been revealing lots of internal history about the Mustang, and just giving the model the rock star treatment it deserves after having weathered the often treacherous waters of the domestic auto industry for half a century. One of the coolest stories that we have not highlighted ties together an Ohio man with a one of none Mustang that managed to escape certain doom through the craftiness of designer Vince Gardner who conceived and sketched the idea of a shorty two seater Mustang model. Obviously this configuration never made production, but it did make the show circuit and that’s where this story begins.
It was at a car show in 1965 that Ohioan Bill Snyder saw the car at a show where Ford had an array of customized vehicles on display. Constructed by famed Ford specialty house Detroit Steel Tubing company, the car was a fully functional two seater that even had a special engine. That engine was a 260 that had been punched out and fattened up to now displace 302ci. The engine had multiple carbs on it and everything. That same engine is in the car today and represents what may actually be the first 302 in a Mustang! Anyway, Snyder sees this car and immediately falls in love with it. He has an old Corvette and think that having one of these babies would be a perfect compliment to it. Those hopes were dashed when the Ford rep told him that they were never going to reproduce this car and it was just for show. The dream was dead…so he thought.
Ford didn’t want a two seater Mustang because it appealed to such a small market. The show/styling exercise was fun and once the travel schedule was over, the display cars headed back to Dearborn and were set for a meeting with the crusher where they would be destroyed and melted down for scrap. But a funny thing happened on the way to see the automotive hangman. Vince Gardner liked the cat so much he could not bear the thought of it being crushed so he managed to effectively hide the thing in some backwater warehouse no one knew about. It was gone and out of the eyes of Ford for so long that they declared it stolen, got an insurance company payout and that was kind of that. The car was then discovered and given to the insurance company that paid the claim. Apparently one of their executives for a hold of it for a while and later listed it on Hemmings where Snyder saw it and purchased it sight unseen over the phone. What a story!
As you can see from the photos below, the car is in amazing shape and Snyder plans on keeping it that way for a long, long time. The car is exactly how it was shown back in the day, plexiglass reat windows and all!
Thanks to Sean Moore for the tip on this story!
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE SHORTY TWO SEATER MUSTANG AND THEN HIT THE LINK TO READ THE FULL STORY OF HOW BILL SNYDER CAME TO OWN IT –