1964 Mustang Reveal

Five Mustang Concepts You Probably Never Knew Existed

When it arrived in 1964, the Ford Mustang changed the way Americans viewed performance vehicles and created a new class of automobile known as the pony car. The Mustang’s styling, with its long hood and short deck, proved very popular and prompted both General Motors and Chrysler to launch their own ponies. Currently the only original pony car to remain in uninterrupted production over five decades, the Mustang also spawned many performance and track-oriented versions, all of which contributed to making the stallion-badged car the most iconic muscle car ever built.

But despite its massive success, the Mustang had its ups and downs and more than once Ford developed alternatives to the traditional two-door, four-seat configuration. Since the 1960s, the Blue Oval has created at least 20 concept cars. Some didn’t get to become more than sketches on a sheet of paper, while some evolved into concept cars, but were shelved before being promoted to production models. And while some of them are widely known among Mustang enthusiasts, certain concepts entered the history books without much recognition. Here are five of the concept cars that could’ve changed the way early Mustangs looked and performed.

1961 Avventura Concept

Ford Avventure Concept Mustang
Image courtesy of Mustangs Daily

Although not exactly a Mustang-based concept since it was developed a couple of years before the pony car hit auto show floors, the Avventura is actually the only pre-Mustang study that resembled the actual production model. Both the long hood and the even longer snout were first showcased on this concept, while the fastback roof served as inspiration for the first-generation Mustang.

Other than that, however, the Avventura had very little in common with Ford production cars from the early to mid 1960s. While far from ugly design-wise, the Avventura had a rather unconventional seating arrangement that included rear-facing second-row seats.As you might have already guessed from the sketch, rear-seat passengers had to enter and exit the car through the rear hatch. Not exactly comfortable, huh?

Originally penned when Ford designers were trying to come up with a sporty coupe on the then-new Falcon platform, the Avventura evolved into the Avanti (later the Allegro) concept, which had a more traditional trunk lid instead of a hatch and conventional forward-facing rear seats. The concept wasn’t approved for production.

1964 Two-Seat Concept

Two Seater Mustang Concept

Image courtesy of Mustangs Daily

In 1962, with the first-generation Mustang almost finalized, Ford also considered a two-seat coupe as a more affordable version of the Thunderbird. The clay model in the image above was showcased in 1964 and incorporated many of the design features of the production Mustang, including the side scoops, the tapered rear end, and the wheels. The project never came to fruition and aside from some track-prepped Mustangs that had the rear seats removed to save weight, there has never been a two-seat factory Mustang to this day.

1967 Allegro II Concept

1967 Ford Mustang Allergo II Concept

Image courtesy of NY Daily News

Somewhat based on the pre-1964 Allegro concept, from which it borrowed the front fascia and fender gills, the Allegro II was Ford’s answer to the race-spec Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. It featured a similar, speedster-like windshield, a competition rollbar, flying buttresses on the rear deck, and an aerodynamically optimized rear end that had nothing in common with the production Mustang. There is no official information about the concept’s performance or as to why Ford did not turn it into a full-fledged race car, but it was far from a pretty sight.

1967 Mach 2 Concept

1967 Mach 2 Mustang Concept

Image courtesy of Bold Ride

Following three successful years and sales records with the Mustang in dealerships, Ford’s Special Vehicles Group division was given approval to work on a sportier two-seat vehicle based on a shorter version of the pony car’s platform. The result was the Mach 2 concept, which not only received a more aggressive, race-inspired design, but also a mid-ship engine configuration.

Ford stuffed the Mustang GT’s 289 cubic-inch Hi-Po V-8 behind the seats and tweaked the chassis for better handling. At some point evaluated as a possible successor to the Shelby Cobra or a road-going GT40 for the masses, the Mach 2 concept never made it into production, spending its short career in the auto show circuit. What a shame!

1980 Mustang RSX

1980 RSX Ford Mustang Concept

Image courtesy of NY Daily News

In the late 1970s, the North American market was still looking for ways to escape the so-called Malaise Era, which affected nearly all performance-oriented cars, including the Mustang. In Europe, however, a market used to consuming small-displacement, fuel-efficient vehicles, a new breed of performance cars was being forged. The World Rally Championship (WRC) was living its most spectacular era and automakers were already transferring the high-revving turbocharged engines and all-wheel-drive systems to road cars.

Amidst all this craze, Ford commission Italian coachbuilder Ghia to design a rally-spec car based on the third-generation Mustang. Dubbed RSX, the concept features an all-new body with European styling cues, increase ride height, a shorter wheelbase, and a wide track. Power came from a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine, matched to a four-speed manual gearbox, a combo that would’ve been perfect for the early 1980s WRC scene. Unfortunately, the vehicle was never built or homologated for racing.

Granted, some of these concepts could’ve been interesting and maybe even successful production models, but would’ve changed the Mustang we all know today quite dramatically.

Which of the concepts above should have been approved for production and why? Let us know in the comments section.

Article authored by: Benjamin Pierce

Main image courtesy of Hagerty

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