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The Story Behind Ford’s Stillborn Mustang Mach 2

On March 22, 1966, Ford’s Advanced Concepts Department received a request to “execute design-engineering studies on a Ford-Cobra-style vehicle.” This was the official beginning of what would become the Mach 2 program. An undated Ford document, titled Vehicle Engineering Department Summary of Activity in Past Years, identified three separate segments of the Mach 2 Road Sports Car in a “Mach X Vehicles” category. These were, simply, Mach 2A, B and C.

Despite its finished appearance with an engine and finished interior, the Mach 2C was a non-running mock-up. It was most likely built on a simple flat platform, not on a DeTomaso Pantera or other production chassis. Its fate is not known, but it probably disappeared when Shinoda left Ford.

The first product of the Mach 2A segment was a non-running chassis to validate the concept. That was followed by two complete, running prototypes. One of them, painted red, was built to production standards and loaned to the media for road testing. The other was a white race-only version that saw strenuous track testing. All three were designed in-house, but engineered and built by Kar-Kraft, a Ford contractor in Brighton, Michigan.

According to Don Eichstaedt, a Kar-Kraft engineer on the project, the Mach 2 was to be a stand-alone mid-engine sports car. It was also to be a test bed for new designs, concepts and engineering techniques. The car was not intended to be a mid-engine Mustang. It just happened to be prototyped on a Mustang chassis. Roy Lunn, godfather of the Ford GT-40 program and the Ford engineer in charge of the Mach 2 program, predicted the production car would be “a fine high-quality road vehicle.” Read more >

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