Cute Concept: 1982 Ford Ghia Shuttler

I don’t use the word “cute” too often, it’s a little creepy when a tall, skinny guy with a mustache calls something cute. But, that word fits this 1982 Ford Ghia Shuttler concept car perfectly. Look at this l’il thing! It’s listed on Hemmings with an undisclosed asking price and is located at a classic car dealer in Arroyo Grande, California.

The seller even refers to this car as cute, it must be contagious. Apparently, this one-off show car was based on the Ford Fiesta and even though it was shortened a bit, it still allowed “two large adults” to fit in the front seats. Large in 1982 probably = medium in 2017 terms.

Yep, it’s been shortened! This “city car” concept would draw attention like crazy, if a person were brave enough to drive it on city streets with actual other living, breathing, texting, eating drivers. It sure would be a shame to get into a fender-bender with a rare concept vehicle. There are a lot of features that some of us take for granted today, like the flush glass, flush door handles, and aero mirrors. Although, with the headlights not being covered that seems to negate the aero-mirrors a bit. The seller mentions that this car has a “beautifully conserved, original engine, paint, interior”, but that an “extensive conservation/ service/restoration just completed.” There is another cool feature: 20 holes in the hood that allow air to flow into the engine compartment.

The interior is a 1980s fantasy. I’m not sure how a person goes about cleaning suede fabric, it sure wouldn’t take long for this one to get dirty, not that this car would ever be relegated to daily-driver status or that you’d eat your triple-cheeseburger and large fries in there. Or, would you?

This engine is a 1.3L inline-four backed up by a 4-speed manual transmission. It sure would make a fun and interesting car to drive around to shows and things like that. Just one was produced and it was a part of the Ghia collection until 2002 when it was auctioned for $11,163 at a Christie’s auction. It was held in the RM collection until 2005 when it was sold to a private collection. I’m assuming that the current seller is either the purchaser or re-seller for the current owner. One phone call would clear up the ownership history. Have any of you seen this car before? What do you think it’s worth if it sold for $11k fifteen years ago?

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  1. txchief

    Does the round hole in the lower portion of the steering wheel contain a magnifying glass to aid in the search for your wiener?

    • Woodie Man

      Speaking for myself the hole in the steering wheel is way too small

      • SSPBill

        Thus the name?

        May find the twig but don’t bother looking for the berries.

  2. RayT Member

    I remember when Ford sold this, as well as a number of other “show cars” and “concepts” (one was the lovely little mid-engine Ghia Barchetta, which became the unlovely front-engine Mercury Capri when it went into production). Quite a few of the pieces they auctioned off were pushmobiles, with powertrains not connected (even when installed). Certainly, the majority of the runners were just that, never developed to the point they could be considered useful drivers. I suspect that applies to this one.

    That said, it’s neat in a 1980s way and, if the paint isn’t hiding hundreds of pounds of lead — or that weird green-toothpaste body filler the Italians used to love for fast-finishing body panels — it’s small and light enough that the Euro-Ford mouse motor wouldn’t have to work too hard.

    If I could afford the price likely to be asked (well into six figures, I’m sure) I’d have enough to commission a fiberglass plug from which I could build a copy to actually use. With modern Fiesta underpinnings, it could be as much fun to drive as it is to look at!

    • Adam Clarke Adam T45 Staff

      Ray T, as an Australian I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the Mercury Capri. You may or may not be aware, but after the concept was unveiled, Ford Australia got in on the act, developing and producing the Capri. The Mercury Capri was actually designed and built in Australia, and then exported to the US. It had the distinction of being a massive sales disaster both in Australia and the US. Coupled with the costs involved in developing the Falcon AU and the sales disaster of the Nissan-sourced Ford Corsair, the financial damage was so great that Ford Australia never recovered, and ceased local vehicle development and manufacture in October 2016. Sadly, none of these cars were indicative of the capabilities of Ford Australia.

      • Mark-A

        Apology accepted! I don’t hold you responsible for the mistakes made by Countrymen & more importantly COMMITTEE! That seems to be what the Mercury Capri was made by/for!!

  3. Richard Gaskill

    An important bit of information provided is whether it is titled or sold with a bill if sale. Many concepts did not have equipment NHTSA required to be titled for road use.

    • Richard Gaskill

      Should​have said info not provided.

  4. Warren

    Interior is from 80’s custom van school of design….

  5. redwagon

    reminds me of the ford ka and sportka.

    which reminds me of one of my all time favorite auto commercials.

    • Howard A Member

      I’ve never seen that commercial, but that’s terrible.( that commercial would NEVER fly in the US) What, did the sunroof chop the cats head off?


      hahahahahaha love it!

    • waynard

      The second one with the pigeon is far more hilarious.

  6. Mark

    No one commented on the old school headlight dimmer push switch on the floor!

    • Marko

      Old school dimmer switches confuse the dickens out of Millenials.
      The round floor button next to the gas pedal on a 48 Dodge truck should really keep them busy for a while….”How do you start this thing?”

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, I don’t think that is a “dimmer switch”. There’s a disclaimer tag on it. Perhaps pushing the switch turns it back into a suitcase.

  7. GP Member

    I think I would rather drive this then a Smart car and Scotty, large still means large here in corn fed county.

  8. Don H

    Looks like ya could fold it up and carry it with ya to the office ☕

  9. Alex W

    Ok, I used to be a big BAT fan, but the comments here are way more fun. Txchief actually made me almost exhale beer from my nose, and I had forgotten the Ka commercial, perfect. Lastly, Mark reminds us Ford found some 50’s parts to throw in this little orphan. Thanks Barn Finds commentors for not just trying to impress us with your knowledge, but also having fun with our shared love of cars.

    • Red'sResto

      I was a BAT fan until they turned into BA Mortgage…

      • Greg H

        Or “Bring A Trust fund”. Maybe it’s the site, or maybe it’s just the market.

  10. Snuffy

    Now that’s about a pork n’ bean can!

  11. Al

    This car would of been a better choice then the crappy car we got instead…
    Everybody loved the Pinto…

  12. Stu

    I love the concept but don’t quite understand why they would put a cup holder for an empty Big Gulp in the steering wheel.

  13. Gavin

    Concept car for the North Korean “A” team

  14. RJ

    Reminds me of a Penny Racer.

  15. chad

    yeah, folks don’t like:

    cat prints on the finish,
    bird poo on the windshield (or elsewhere).

    but we’re too PC to show what Down Under add men (or we) dream (up).

  16. angliagt

    When I was Ford’s 100th Anniversary,in 2003,
    there was another Fiesta based Ghia concept car.
    The owner told me that he’d bought it,as it was
    the cheapest one to be sold off.
    I’ve also noticed that they don’t list prices anywhere
    for this car.

  17. AJ

    I just wonder how many of these cars made it overseas… Concept here in the USA… But did Ford build it overseas anywhere…

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Nope, just the single one.

  18. Miguel

    Ford has never had luck with the two seater market.

    Do you remember the Ford EXP?

    The Ford Ka was never sold in the US so we don’t know how it would have done, but I doubt very well.

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