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Prototype Mustang

The following photos and article came to us from the folks at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. We have been to this event and it should be on every car guy and gals bucket list. It is all that you can imagine it would be with muscle cars to vintage race cars, concept cars as well as vintage brass cars and everything in between. All in concours condition. Plan on a full day or go for both days there is more than enough to keep you busy and entertained.

As for this car, it is a concept I have never seen before and it really peaks my curiosity. Can you imagine the fight this could have given the Corvette back in the mid-sixties if Shelby had been given his way with this car? The proportions are just a little off to my eye but lower it a couple of inches, stick in a “K” Code 289, paint it Wimbledon white with the Shelby blue stripes, add some slightly more aggressive body work, take off the white walls and this could have been a challenger to the Vette.

 “The Amelia’s” *WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Class is much more than a place for what some might label weird, odd or strange. The class, with a philosophy unique to “The Amelia”, is a place for significant and interesting cars that fit no class, category or commercial orthodoxy. Nearly half a century later, we still don’t know what Ford was planning when they commissioned the creation of Bill and Chris Snyder’s 1964 ½ “shorty” Mustang. We do know that they created one man’s dream car. We just don’t know why.

Bill and Chris Snyder, own the 1964 ½ Mustang two-seater that is a true one-off. It’s fiberglass from the cowl to the tail. Seeing it is like hearing a familiar piece of music, but in a minor key. All the design signatures that shout “Mustang” are there, but they’re wearing someone else’s clothes. In this case, the fastback fiberglass panels of Dearborn Steel Tube Co who built it on a pre-production Mustang chassis pulled for research and experimentation.

“It was custom built and became part of a Ford travelling show,” said Snyder. That’s where he first encountered the fiberglass “shorty” Mustang. “I loved it, I said ‘I’m gonna buy one!'” The Ford salesman said that there would be no such car for sale and that this fastback fiberglass Mustang was likely headed for exile or worse.

The two-place, one-of-a-kind Mustang fastback was designed by one Bill Gardner. He too became convinced that Ford would consign his show car to the usual unhappy fate of cast off Detroit experimentals and prototypes: the crusher. So he stole it and walled up the fiberglass mystery Mustang two-seater in a warehouse in Inkster, MI.

He didn’t try to sell it and he didn’t leave a trail. He also didn’t pay the rent for the warehouse. Within six months it was found behind a wall. By then, the insurance company had paid the claim. Ford didn’t want it and the shorty Mustang was taken to the insurance company’s New England headquarters and parked outside. A company executive bought it. Soon an ad in a car collector publication alerted Bill Snyder that his two-seat fantasy Mustang was available. The deal was done long distance and, as one of Snyder’s employees was headed for New England, he simply drove Bill’s dream car back to Ohio.

Snyder’s mystery Mustang two-seater started life as one of ten pre-production chassis. The wheelbase was shortened 16 inches and the standard 260 ci V-8 was enlarged to 302 cubic inches. It’s a recipe that still appeals to Bill after more than four decades. “The car goes like stink,” said Snyder.

The 18th annual Amelia Concours d’Elegance’s What Were They Thinking? class will host eight category defying cars that would not find a home on any other concours field.

Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast. The 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027. 

Thanks to the folks at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance for providing us with this information.

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Richard

I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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