For Real? Ford Mustang I Concept Mold!

Back in 1962, Ford Motor Company was all about performance and excitement and proved it by producing the Mustang I. That’s right, 1962 not 1964 — we are talking about the Mustang I concept car. The V-4 engined, mid-engined, sports car that Ford only made 1-1/2 of. More about that later. A seller in Grand Rapids, Iowa claims to have the original molds that produced the non-running (see where that 1/2 of a car comes from!) mockup version and has them listed for sale here on craigslist. The price of history is a steep $16,000 (reduced from $17,000). Thanks to Barn Finds reader Mike B. for this really special find!

The seller’s explanation for how the mold got into their possession is simple; their father purchased the mold in Detroit in the 1960s and had it shipped home. As the running Mustang I was fabricated from metal, my assumption would be that this could be the mold made to produce the non-running but visually correct prototype. As far as I can tell, that prototype no longer exists.

I have loved the shape of the Mustang I since I saw my first picture, but naturally Ford didn’t see the market for it in the early 60s. If I’m honest, they probably made the right choice financially. However, that doesn’t change how beautiful the car is.

Those unusual “wobbly-web” wheels are from a Lotus, by the way. That also means that it may be that oddball Triumph/Lotus 3.75″ x 4 bolt pattern that drives us British car lovers nuts. The Mustang I running prototype was eventually given to the Henry Ford Museum and is displayed today.

The curb weight of the original prototype according to this brochure was only 1,544 pounds. I’m guessing the molds are less, but speaking as someone who recently brought a similar body buck and molds home, it won’t be as light as you think.

Here is proof that a fiberglass mold was created, but it doesn’t prove that this is that mold. It’s definitely a good start to tracking down its authenticity though. Are you up to the challenge? Would it be sacrilege to use a cut-down Fiero for the platform if you made a body? Share your thoughts!

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Comments

  1. TimM

    Looks like the concept was a tank!! Might be cool after lots of $$$$ and tons of time!!!

    4
    • JBD

      Wouldn’t Ford want them back? Worth more to Ford?

  2. IkeyHeyman Member

    I don’t have the necessary skills to fabricate a replica of the non-running prototype body using this mold, so I’d just clean up the mold and use that as a body. I would mate it to a lifted 4×4 chassis and create the ultimate “Hillbilly Mustang”.

    11
  3. MikeHigh

    I saw seal it up and make a U boat 🚣‍♀️ 😳😮

    Too high of price to also make a mad max prop

    1
  4. Rick

    According to some of my sources, the mold was made before the metal prototype, as a way of making sure all the parts fit before committing to metal. These are the real deal… and undoubtedly quite heavy!

    6
  5. Keith

    Grand Rapids, MI.

    2
  6. RayT Member

    You’d have to see the inside of the mold to know if it could actually be used to make a “real” Mustang I shell. The exterior is no guide at all. And after that, you’d have to fabricate an instrument panel, inner door skins and a thousand-and-one other necessary pieces. Not for the faint of heart….

    That doesn’t even get into building a frame and suspension, and attempting to duplicate the high standards of Troutman and Barnes, who built the original “runner” for Ford. My guess is that virtually everything but the engine and transaxle was unique to the car.

    I’m not saying it isn’t worth doing! I have wanted a Mustang I ever since I saw photos of the original back in ’62/’63. A sweet design, and I suspect it was a nimble little ride, too. Even then, I wanted to ditch the Taunus V4 for something with a little more suds and, given the time, money and skills to take a shot at it, I’m sure there are plenty of powerplants that would be suitable.

    If this is the real deal, someone with the necessary talent needs to go after it. Let the ‘glass cloth and resin fly, break out the welding torch, and turn out a few “new” Mustang Is!

    7
    • Mike_B_SVT

      OR… you just use it to make “reproduction Mustang I fiberglass bodies”, and sell those to the handful of enthusiasts who would be interested in building their own car under that skin.

      Less time and overhead on your end, and there is a possibility of actually recouping your investment :-)

      7
  7. exartist

    Hope someplace like Factory Five scoops this up and makes use of the mold!

    11
  8. mike b

    So the Corvair inspired the Mustang.

    3
    • B-Buster

      GM is always inspiring ford. Have you seen the 2019 ford Tahoes and suburbans? How about the f-series headlights mocking the GMC?

      3
      • Mike_B_SVT

        Even Shelby snagged the “KR” moniker from GM ;-)

        Something something immitation sincerest form of flattery?

        2
      • Dayle

        not to get too far off subject, the F150 has never looked similar to GMs truck abortions. But 10x better…..

        2
      • Patrick Farmer

        Aw Bullfeathers! Ford has been an innovator from the beginning. So has GM. Where was GM when the first model T came out. Where were they when the first Mustang went on sale, the first’s moving assembly line, First to give his employees $10 million dollars of the companies 1914 profits, who ushered in the American middle-class and the first American automobile company in history to beat the butts off Ferrari at LeMans. You don’t know the history of that GMC head lamp assembly. Ford and GM are working together on a 10 speed automatic transmission to be used in both GM and Ford cars and trucks. Did you know that they will bargain with each other on the uses of one anothers patents. If you look at concept cars you can see Ford designs that have made it to
        a GM car. If a designer at GM feels his position is not letting him grow or he hates the people he works with, or they lock him out of the stock room, this person will switch divisions or quit and go to Ford or Chrysler. Their design signature, that everyone has, will go with them and they will not know that it has telegraphed into another design.

        5
  9. ang

    Go Speed Racer, go!

    10
  10. Will Fox

    Probably the biggest coffee table for a man cave I’ve seen lately…$16K is alot of money for something basically useless to most builders.

    4
  11. Todd Priest

    I bet the curator at Henry Ford Museum may have info or be able to direct someone to the info.If i recall correctly they have a Mustang I.

    6
  12. Michael Ridley

    I personally do not believe its original. The movie shows them making a mold out of the plaster taken from the clay model. then they made the fiberglass body inside the plaster mold. they used the fiberglass body as a buck to form the aluminum show car. If another fiberglass one was to be made they could have just used the existing mold they had. This is not that mold but would have been a separate mold made out of fiberglass taken from the fiberglass body. Does not make sense, unless they were going to make more cars out of fiberglass . It looks rather crude compared to the high quality of work shown in the video so I say NO its a copy

    1
  13. Skippy

    I would really like to see some “reality” car show dudes get their hands on this and try to do something with it. Gas Monkey’s Richard Rawlings is arrogant enough to do it. “Hey, I bought this old mold for $16 grand and I built 5 of these 500 HP LS powered triumph chassied Ford Mustang 1 cars that I sold for a million dollars each! Now I can open another bar!” That’s the only way I see this mold going anywhere even remotely useful or entertaining.

    6
  14. Don Sicura

    I’d bet with patent & royalty laws being what they are today, that you’d have one hell of a legal battle before the first one ever rolls off the line.

    2
    • Carbuzzard Member

      A design patent is good for 20 years, if my reading is right. So this is well beyond that. Someone with enough money and moxie (Jay Leno, are you listening?) could easily create a running example, even out of metal. It was made once. It could be made again.

      I’d keep the V-4 engine, however, but tweak it period correct. There are cool transverse intake manifolds (which could be duplicated, cost no object, if an original can’t be found) for side draft carburetors crossing over top of the engine. I’ve seen a Saab 96 with a modified V-4, so it could easily be done.

      Hey, if Jay can have the Blastolene Special, why not this? The only thing Jay couldn’t use would be “Ford,” “Mustang,” and relevant trademarks.

      I really wish someone would do it.

      4
  15. lbpa18

    Looks like a period correct attempt at the market the Corvette Stingray of 1963 eventually monopolized. Also looks too similar to the Corvette to be a coincidence, as if Ford had intel on what GM was prototyping. In the end, they both hit home runs with their respective final designs.

    2
  16. Keith Ashley

    The wood body buck was at a fiberglass shop in a small town ( purposely left unnamed ) in 1985, in Michigan. I don’t recall seeing this mold there so they may not have made any bodies, but the wood buck would have been more useful for checking the fit of metal panels.

    1
  17. Mountainwodie

    Hmmm…looks like the tank Belushi drove in Animal House when he hijacked the ROTC parade. For THAT reason it might be worth buying.

    3
  18. Terry Bowman

    Watched a guy when I was in my teens build a wooden sail boat “hull” for 3 years and when he was finally done, he used it as a mold to build a fiberglass hull. It was interesting to see the transformation, but always wondered what became of it as a completed floating vessel.

    3
  19. pethier

    I have always wondered why SAAB didn’t use the Taunus transaxle in the SAAB 96 V4. They must have figured that it was cheaper to remake the transaxle they used for the two-stroke motors.

  20. Patrick Farmer

    The Jack Rabbit Special from Hot Wheels

    1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Patrick, you aren’t alone in seeing that!

      1
      • Patrick Farmer

        Yep, Neither is Mattel.

      • Patrick Farmer

        I you really take a look at the early Hot Wheels you will see the 1989 Batmobile. Jet Threat.

  21. Del

    Real moldy

    2
  22. garry connors

    i never heard of this … what a find

  23. Gary Kish

    So it was a Mustang….

    My sister did some modeling at Ford and had posed with different concept and show cars. They were beautiful high quality black and white glossy photos.

    She had a couple taken with this car and always told me it was a Mustang, which I didn’t believe.

    Having the engine mid-ship, I thought it was an early version of the Ford GT40. More like the delicate Lola concept Ford bought and turned into the Ferrari killer.

    Ford would have rocked the world of sports cars forever if this had come out in the 60’s.

    Even if it was a 4 cylinder dog, it was so beautiful it would have sold out just on looks. Wow. Maybe I’m wrong but compared to everything on the road in the early 60’s the design is amazing.

    5
  24. Jim Benjaminson

    Saw the original sitting in a Ford factory showroom back in 1964. My college roommates’ father was an engineer in Ford racing and “daddy’s pass” got us into things the normal person didn’t get to see. Cameras were forbidden but this was just too tempting – a camera was snuck in, a quick picture snapped and we were off into the night. Still have the photo. Not sure if it was the running version or the pushmobile.

    5
  25. john A Corey

    The Mustang 1 was an interesting exercise, but nowhere near as appealing to my eye as the Cougar II show car! Look it up!

  26. Terry Bowman

    There were many concept and phototype of cars from all the auto manufactures that never made it to the money machine for production. Chrysler made the Turbine(I believe 5 were built and two survived when Chrysler destroyed them after testing)in the early 60’s. Those two would be interesting, not something that didn’t make it to production. Though, I think the drawings and schematics would be interesting.

    • George

      5 prototypes and 50 that were leased out for real world testing.

  27. Gary Kish

    My neighbor brought home a Chrysler Turbine for a week or two.

    All the dad’s surrounded it the day he brought it home. From what I remember (I was really young) it was very quiet with a hushed whooshing sound.

    1
    • Steve S

      If Ford is so innovative why did Ford copy Dodge by bring out the v10 after Dodge brought it out first. But the Ford v10 has less power then the Dodge v10. Then Ford copied the look of the front end of Dodge also. It looks a little different but the lines are still about the same. For Gary the turbine car could run on any liquid that was flammable from what I heard of

  28. Del

    This was actually a boat anchor from the Titanic.

    Sorry. Build sheet missing

  29. Pacekid

    It does look a bit corvette-ish especially in the rear.

    IF it gets built, it looks like the front end would lift up in the air at high speeds.

    • Gary Kish

      Must have been before wind tunnels were used. The first Ford GT had some areo issues. Really slippery but no downforce.

  30. Patrick Farmer

    It is funny how this guy deleted his post so soon. I bet Ford got ahold of him and wanted to see the bill of sale. I bet it was supposed to be destroyed and someone snuck it out. Five will get you ten that Ford got it back.

  31. Carbuzzard

    Yeah, it’s one thing to have one of the old concept cars that escapee the crusher. It another to make dozens more.

  32. bog

    I’m old enough to have seen the Mustang I at the Chicago Auto Show held in the original McCormick Place on Lake Michigan. I’m still fond of it’s seemingly simple and timeless lines. Remember that Ford and Colin Chapman were working together on various projects in those days. And they were additionally working with the Cosworth engine guys. (Formula 1, Indy cars, Ford GT) So it didn’t surprise me at all that this had Lotus wheels and was mid-engined. And SMALL for an American car. For those mentioning lack of good “aero”, look up photos of F1, Indy, or international sports racers of the time….NONE had wings, spoilers or anything remotely like that. Heck, they were still running treaded tires, not slicks in those days !

  33. Carbuzzard Member

    Young ‘uns don’t get the concept of “sidewalls” either.

  34. Steven Vilardi

    I believe that concept mustang was on display at the Hershey Museum a number of years ago. It may still be there. It is a far cry from the mustang as we know it. I’m not sure but it may have been a mid engine car.

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