One-Off "Shorty" Mustang Prototype Expected to Fetch Up to $600,000

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Meet the Mustang prototype that stolen from Ford by its designer.

Obviously this is no ordinary Ford Mustang. Not only is it a classic gem, but it's also a one-off find that we never knew existed until now. Here's its story: Officially called the Mustang III concept, it was built by a company called Dearborn Steel Tubing, which back in the day worked closely with Ford on many show car projects. The idea was to explore what a two-seater Mustang would look like. Initially, the Mustang's design called for just two seats, but that changed because Ford wanted the car to have more practicality, i.e. a greater profit potential.

Drew Shipley, Auctions America

Obviously that went ahead but a two-seat variant was still intriguing enough to build a concept. This is the result, nicknamed "Shorty." Power comes from a Ford 302 V8 paired to a custom automatic gearbox. The front end came straight from the '65 Mustang, but the fiberglass bodywork at the rear is entirely bespoke. Once finished, the car was put on tour and even displayed for a time at the Henry Ford Museum. After that, Ford intended to send it to the crusher. Only this didn't happen because Shorty's chief designer stole it. He didn't want to see his creation destroyed. So he quickly and quietly put it in storage but only paid the first month's rent on the unit.

The owner of the storage facility found it after tearing down the unit's wall. He called the cops and it turned out that Ford reported it stolen. Its insurance company also assumed it was stolen by amateurs and paid the claim. Ford was happy and moved on. But an employee of the insurance company bought it and later put it up for sale. It was then purchased by its current owner who gave it a complete restoration in the early 2000s. "Shorty"" will now be put up for auction this March at Fort Lauderdale, Florida by Auctions America. It's expected to fetch between $400,000-$600,000.

Drew Shipley
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