Get Shorty: The curious tale of a one-off Mustang, on sale after 47 years

Auctions America will be offering the one-off ‘1964½ Ford Mustang III Factory Prototype’ on 27-29 March in Ford Lauderdale, Florida. As if the year of manufacture weren’t odd enough, you might also like to know that the car is affectionately known as the Mustang ‘Shorty’. Here’s why…

The Mustang III was a one-of-a-kind design study built at Ford’s request by the Dearborn Steel Tubing Company, and it was based on a prototype Mustang chassis, shortened by 16 inches. Hence ‘Shorty’, we presume. Having created the Shorty’s chassis, the designers equipped it with a custom-built 302-cubic-inch V8, while the two-seat, fastback coupé body was the work of freelance designer, Vince Gardner, better known for his custom creations of the 1950s and 60s.

Now for the curious bit...

Ford’s plans for limited production never came to pass and, apparently upset at the thought of the prototype’s impending destruction, Gardner hid it away in a nearby warehouse. It was subsequently reported stolen by Ford, only to be discovered several months later (after the insurance had paid out for it). It now leads a much more sedate and sophisticated existence, restored to its former glory and shown – in public for the first time in 40 years – at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

The ‘Shorty’ will carry an estimate of $400,000 - $600,000 when it goes under the hammer in late March at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale sale. The multi-day auction is expected to feature around 500 cars, from all sectors of the collector car market. See auctionsamerica.com.

Photos: Drew Shipley © 2014 Auctions America

You can find several Ford Mustangs of standard length for sale in the Classic Driver Market.