Factory Built 4×4: 1970 Mustang FF Convertible

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

This could be one of the more incredible Mustang barn finds I’ve ever seen! No, it isn’t a big block car or a Shelby. What it is, is a factory delivered 4×4 Mustang convertible. The four-wheel drive system is the same Ferguson built system that is found on the Jensen FF. It’s believed that only three Mustangs were fitted with it by Ferguson, the other two were coupes, making this an incredibly rare and important find! It was recently discovered in a barn in Holland and is being offered for sale here on Classics.nl. Special thanks to BP83 for this tip!

While I get what Ferguson was thinking by building the two coupes, offering a Mustang that can deal with the ice packed roads of Scandinavia’s winters seems like a great idea, but building a convertible version just seems bizarre. I guess they thought someone would want a Mustang 4×4 that they could enjoy year around? With just 32k kilometers (20,282 miles) on the dial, it would seem that that wasn’t the case.

We don’t get any photos of the engine or Ferguson system. The engine is said to be a 351, which is paired to an automatic. There’s also no word on the condition of the engine and my Dutch isn’t great, but it sounds like the front wheel drive system is missing. I hope I’m getting that wrong and that the Ferguson system is still there, as that could be nearly impossible to replace. Hopefully, whoever restores the car will document every nut and bolt of the system. I for one would love to see how it’s setup.

This is going to be a big project, but I have no doubt someone will want to take it on. Think how amazing it would be to say you own the only 4 wheel drive Mustang Convertible ever built! I would love to have it, heck I’d be happy just to get to drive it once it’s going again. I just want to see how effective the system is with those massive slot mags rims and wide tires. Have any of you had the opportunity to experience the Jensen FF? If so, how was it?

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Comments

  1. jdjonesdr

    I bet that could get up and scoot when it was new.

    5+

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      I can’t even imagine the kind of traction it had when you launched it. Especially with those wide tires.

      2+

  2. KEN TILLY

    I have, today, just returned from a visit to the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire, UK, where on a previous visit i photographed an original Ferguson FF and it’s front suspension. I would think that the Mustang front suspension would have been manufactured a lot more robustly than the Ferguson’ Check the pics.

    3+

  3. KEN TILLY

    Actual car.

    2+

    • Bill Munro

      This is R4/1, which is much older Ferguson technology. It has the company’s own flat-4 ohv engine and a completely different transmission

      0

  4. Tony

    I love the idea and I am a mustang guy but…. Gotta pass on this one.

    1+

  5. Alex B

    Translation: No engine, gearbox and front drive system. 🙁

    7+

  6. sir mike

    They also did this to a few MK1 ford Capris…the late Roger Clark had one for a rallycross car.Corgi made a 1/43 model of it.One in my collection.

    6+

    • Bill Munro

      This is the first Mustang. The transmission is different from the car offered for sale in that its transfer box is separate from the rest of the transmission, whereas the other Mustangs (at least 4) had a similar setup to the Jensen, the Opel Senators, Stags and the production Ford Sierra and Scorpio 4x4s, with the gearbox and transfer box in one unit

      0

    • half cab

      Great read and link Todd. Never knew this.

      0

  7. Joe Nose

    What? You mean Thomas Crown’s blue convertible wasn’t 4WD?

    3+

    • Sam

      Ditto…maybe it was a “stunt” double from Thomas Crown Affair

      0

  8. 68 custom

    what did they drag this out of a mud pit? be a neat car but sounds like the missing parts are real hard to come by. good luck to future owners.

    5+

  9. AMXSTEVE

    no engine or trans makes this just another junk mustang.

    13+

    • scooter8

      But if Steve had sat in it; worth MILLIONS!

      2+

  10. James Hall

    would be a nice thing. Im in the UK and live semi rural where most of the modern shoe boxes get stuck in the winter so something like this would be cool.

    currently our winter hack is an old Audi A4 1.9tdi quattro..

    6+

  11. Navadisha

    That Stance…….

    3+

  12. Dr. D

    I don’t read Dutch and Google Translate returns a rather choppy English translation, but from what I can tell:

    1. “Car is being sold due to lack of time;” and
    2. “We’ve had the car for 27 years.”

    If 27 years isn’t enough time for the selling dealer to locate the missing components for a proper restoration I don’t know what hope the rest of us have.

    14+

    • Russell

      You used Google translater, but I stayed at a Holliday Inn Express last night and can verify the translation without hesitation.

      10+

  13. Tony

    This is a money pit. There is NO upside that I can think of unless you have 100K to spend restoring this to factory spec.

    I am doubtful that it is what they say it is. Before I would plop down any money I want a vin verification and validation from FORD that this is what he says it is, a list of EVERYTHING that is with the car and not, and for Pete’s sake some better photos!
    Oh..and a unicorn….that would be easier to find than parts for this.

    9+

  14. Tony

    Oh..and if it is that rare… WHY IS FORD not buying it? One would think this would be a car they would want back, no?

    6+

    • Adrian

      It was an aftermarket conversion – Ferguson would do it for anyone who wanted to pay.
      Here’s a list of what they did……..

      12+

      • Jim Benjaminson

        I’d like to see that Plymouth Fury! Any idea what years this all took place?

        0

      • Keith

        I’d take that Chrysler New Yorker….wonder where that one ended up?

        0

      • Mark-A

        I found exactly the same page with the list of cars that Ferguson converted as well, glad that I actually took the time to read the rest of the Comments before I posted this again! 😉 Great Minds & all that…..

        1+

    • Bill Munro

      Ford wouldn’t be buying it because it is an aftermarket conversion. Ford only got seriously interested in Ferguson 4WD in the 1980s, with the Sierra, Scorpio, Escort Cosworth Turbo and the RS200

      1+

  15. JW

    Would be nice if it was all there but now it would probably be nearly impossible to restore even with big $$$.

    0

  16. rich

    Bizarre, not Bazaar. Bazaar is an outdoor market.

    3+

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Thanks for catching that!

      2+

  17. rustylink

    this one’s a little fishy – but selling it without a drive train, motor etc you can claim anything. I have read some articles on the FF Mustangs and from what I can tell all were early 65’s and 66’s Stangs – not this 68 body – apparently Ford built 3 test mules – all 2 door coupes. I would find it odd they would use a 68 convertible as a test mule. Maybe someone swapped a Mustang FF out to a later body style – but you would still need some provenance to tie the FF system to a Ford Mustang to really make it rare and valuable.

    6+

    • Tony

      I agree… How many 69 “GTO’s” are out there that started life as a LeMans?

      4+

    • Oddimotive Cason

      This one’s a 1970 model, rather than ’68.

      3+

    • Bill Munro

      There were two 1967/8 models – this one, an aftermarket conversion and a white Boss 429, built for Ferguson’s sales rep, Derek Harvey. That survives in top condition. The ones Ford tested were built to persuade them and Borg Warner to build the conversion in the USA. They were on the brink of saying yes, but then pulled out. I have photos of the car in question in its original green paint, but they re transparencies and I’ve yet to have them scanned. Attached, the cover of the book I’m working on

      3+

  18. Drew V

    Hate to be negative about a 1 of 1 car but this is a Unicorn that’s had it horn cut off,a fairy without its wings or a sorcerer that’s lost his wand. This is a once rare and magical beast that has lost its heart and soul… A money pit to drain the fortunes of the poor fool who purchases it…

    12+

  19. CCFisher

    I think calling this factory-built is a stretch. Regardless, without the Ferguson components, it’s just another Mustang convertible…. which has apparently been buried underground for a period of time.

    6+

  20. Mark Cobra

    Factory built my butt! Bogus story.

    6+

    • sir mike

      Modified by Ferguson factory is what they meant to say,,,I hope

      3+

  21. BP83

    This is de real Formula Feguson deal.
    I have seen photo’s of this mustang with the converted hubs at the front wheels to fit de front axle still in place and the firewall is converted to fit de 4wd transfer box.
    The car was new sold to a dutch doctor and this is a very well known story in The Netherlands. You can read the full story at the Dutch Mustang & Ford forum: http://www.dmff.nl/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=22798
    The story is in dutch but there are pictures..
    The biggest problem is indeed the very rare missing drivetrain and 4wd transferbox. The driveline seems to be exactly the same as the Jensen Interceptor FF. For those who have a Jensen Intercepter FF parts car can be the winner..

    10+

    • Adrian

      Very unlikely much is shared with the Jensen – certainly nowhere near enough to turn this Mustang into the car it was if all the drivetrain is missing.

      2+

    • Bill Munro

      Thanks for confirming what I understood to be true, BP83. Sadly I don’t speak Dutch and there’s lot for my few Dutch and Belgian friends to translate. There are only two known surviving members of the Ferguson team show ere working there when this car was converted and neither were involved with it, so can say nothing about it. I’d be very interested to hear more about its history, and if possible to get in touch with the owner of the white fastback

      1+

  22. macvaugh

    There is an earlier car in Tampa Bay in a museum. It has been converted to torsion bar front suspension.

    Really easy to see if this is a Ferguson unit by looking at the front suspension.

    3+

  23. Out of bounce

    Last registered 2014 to car dealer.
    Registered as green.
    MOT expiered 1973.
    Just some info you get when you do online license plate check.
    Car is located just 6 miles away from me.

    9+

  24. Steven

    Ford motor company never built any 4×4 Mustang, and if you can actually find FF original parts today would be long on talk and short on getting any FF components today..

    3+

  25. Adrian

    I have one of the two Ferguson 4×4 Stags (the manual).
    Goes whatever direction the front wheels are pointed in – no matter how much you stamp on the throttle.

    14+

  26. FredFrank

    4×4 Mustang, That’s cute….

    11+

  27. Robert

    It’s definitely not built by or sanctioned by Ford which means it’s worth about $1000 for parts.
    This car is no more than a convertible Mustang.
    I just don’t see why he thinks this is special or rare. All I see is that someone messed up a good Mustang. 🙁

    0

    • Bill Munro

      If it is the car I believe it is, then it is unique and if properly restored, worth more than your average Mustang ragtop. How much more is open to debate, but if a true enthusiast wants it and know what it is, then they’ll be the right person to do the job.

      1+

  28. pete radd

    its an aftermarket company that put 4 x 4 in it . just like the company in america that put 4 x 4 into mid fifties chevy pick-up trucks , nothing to do with FORD or CHEVY , worth wat someone would pay for it , I guess

    1+

  29. Adrian

    As someone who owns the Ferguson version of a reasonably well powered car that is normally rear wheel drive – take it from someone who knows – this car was most definitely NOT messed up by a four wheel drive conversion.

    5+

  30. Rob

    The articles provided all are of different year cars, being 1st gen and ’69. This car is a ’70 so weirder. It appears to be a 351 car, auto, A/C, factory tach. The one thing I see in photographs which may prove what this car is, is that while having a factory Ford shifter, it is unquestionably modified from it’s original placement, and is sitting 2-3 inches higher than factory (which was inset into the console.)

    0

  31. Adrian

    Which makes me wonder just how much of the drivetrain is or isn’t missing

    1+

  32. malcolm ward

    I worked as an apprentice at Jensen Motors in the service department and back then in the early 70’s Interceptor FF’s were few and far between. We had one come in for some work and i rode passenger with Johnny P and he floored this car with a roundabout (traffic circle) looming ahead. I thought we were going over it as i could not imagine going around it but it did with no tyre squeel and we exited it around 60 mph which i thought was amazing for a 2 ton plus car. So yes Josh they go where you point them and do it with a lot of grace, well in a Jensen body they do.
    I never knew you could build an FF to order in other bodies but with the Interceptor FF’s low build numbers and being in demand unless the body was totalled the drive train for the Mustang would be near impossible to find.

    3+

    • Bill Munro

      There are some parts around here and there, but you would have to know where to find them. If the missing parts are just the engine and auto box, then it’s possible. There were two types of centre diff and diff lock – the Monolok mechanical lock that went in the Jensen, the earlier Mustangs and the Ford Zephyr police cars and the later viscous coupling, that went in everything after about 1969/70, including the 4WD Opels, Sierras, Scorpios and Schuler Range Rovers. This car is on the changeover, so if the transfer box is missing, it would be possible to fit a VC transfer box from one of these cars, if you can find it.

      1+

  33. Healeymonster

    Someone in Holland knows where the parts went. They didn’t fly off the car by themselves. Before the internet I would say it would be a lost cause trying to find the pieces. But today I think if word got out someone would remember someone who at one time saw this or knows of the person who has the parts. Its not impossible but it will take some sleuthing. I would first find out what this would be worth restored. Then figure out if its worth my time to bring it back to life.

    1+

  34. Tony

    Did my research on market price for this and any upside. Bottom line is to buy this and do ANYTHING with it the cost needs to be in the 6500 or lower range. Even that is probably high.

    Personally I wouldn’t pay more than 4K for it as it is just a rag-top 1970 missing and engine and other parts…

    1+

  35. Bill Munro

    The point, Tony, is that isn’t just another Mustang ragtop. It’s a one-off, the only Mustang converted to 4WD by Ferguson for a private customer (the other seven were built for the company’s own demonstration purposes). How the car is valued by others is another matter.
    Ferguson’s 4WD work is known about, but few know the full story and this lack of knowledge does not enhance the value of the cars. Any car of course is what two or more people are prepared to pay for it. With the exception of a Jensen FF, only the later cars content or input, like an RS200, Escort Cosworth Turbo or Delta Integrale have any significant value, and Jensen apart, that is because of what the car has achieved

    1+

  36. Tony

    Bill,
    I do get that and I appreciate that someone out there may see more value in it; but, unless you are going to bring it back to the original 4wd, it isn’t worth what they are asking was my point.
    Good news is the differences in opinions and appreciations is what makes building cars fun 🙂

    1+

  37. Bill Munro

    Understood. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place, but I don’t see a price

    0

  38. Tony

    http://www.classics.nl/klassieker/33123/aangeboden-ford-us-mustang-ff-formula-ferguson-4×4

    There is the add but as you said.. .no price. Somewhere I thought I saw 15K?

    1+

  39. Marshall

    A 4 x 4 Mustang, and a convertible at that? I never knew there was such an animal until I read this!

    1+

  40. Bill Munro

    Unique, the only ragtop that Harry Ferguson Research converted to 4WD. 5 were hardtops and there was one Boss fastback. Of these, only the original 1965 hardtop and the Boss 428 are known to survive

    0

  41. lance

    I agree with those who say its not factory. My guess is that it was converted by an outside company when new. My 2nd guess is that there probably isnt any paperwork to prove it, so in the end it comes back as just another mustang convertible. To bad, cause I do think its an interesting part of history. Its like the AMC eagles but ahead of their time.

    0

  42. Bill Munro

    Paperwork is of course the key in proving the provenance. I’ve researched the work done on 4WD by Harry Ferguson Research, and the subsequent work by FF Developments for a forthcoming book. I am 99% sure they converted this car, and it is only the lack of records that give me that 1% doubt. Although there are existing records of the building of the previous Mustangs, there is only a couple of transparencies of this car, taken at venues recognised by people who worked for FFD which include HFR staff. But then, nobody else is known to have converted any Mustangs to 4WD. The only other company working on full time 4WD at the time wasgearbox maker Hewland and they only did it for F1 and Indy cars.
    The driveline of the Eagle was designed by FF Developments and built under licence by NPG

    0

  43. Pete

    Truly a heap of shite, However if you managed to look at the other cars they are offering and the asking prices for american cars you will notice that they are getting quite a bit more for them than we are.

    0

  44. Adrian

    You’re right Mark A – exactly the same list – I put it on the Capri forum too.
    The list does attract interest – people curious as to where the cars may have ended up, or just how the engineering side of it was done.

    0

  45. Bill

    Has anyone seen the VIN for this car? Other than the fact that it might have been a Ferguson conversion there is no proof that it is even “one of 379”. That figure represents the number of 351C 4V convertibles with auto transmissions built in 1970. Unless this car has an “M” as the fifth digit of the VIN and not an “H”, which would denote either a 351C 2V or a 351W 2V, even as a stock Mustang it is not all that rare.

    0

  46. Bill Munro

    I’ve trawled through what Ferguson records survive and I have not come across this car in any of them. Having said that, I have, as I said in an earlier post, possession of a couple photographs of a green Mustang convertible that was built by Ferguson’s in 1970. These are transparencies and I’ve yet to get them scanned. I also have verbal testimony from someone who joined FFD (the company that was formed in 1971 to take over HFR’s work in 4WD), who was asked to go to Switzerland to collect the car to bring it back to England for some maintenance.

    0

  47. BP83

    Someone who has seen this car in real life says that this particular car used to be green when new, if that is true, the story of Bill Munro matches.

    1+

  48. ted

    indeed the car was green when new whe following the conversation with intrest
    greetings from holland y am ted owner of the car for 27 years

    1+

  49. Bill Munro

    Good to hear from you, Ted, and thanks for replying. You may have seen that I am producing a book about the companies that developed the technology used in this car. Would you be happy to share any ownership details with me about the car that may help with my research, please? I attach an image of it when it was being tested just outside Coventry, before it was delivered.

    0

  50. Jdjonesdr

    Maybe Ted knows what happened to the original drivetrain

    1+

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