“Rare” means something that’s scarce or something that’s unusually good or remarkable. Rarity is a hard value to quantify in automobiles, and perhaps even harder to come up with an exact value with for Mustangs. Depending on how you define rare, there are several Mustangs that could qualify for rarest Mustang.
The 1969 Mustang E could qualify; only 50 units were produced. But the reason why so few were produced was that nobody particularly cared for them in 1969 and that hasn’t really changed. It’s scarce, but it’s not even usually good--let alone unusually good. On the other hand, some of the more popular models of Mustang were immediately identified as valuable, and despite not being overly scarce, they are able to hold value because they are unusually good.
The Ford Mustang has been manufactured since 1964, and in the years between then and now they’ve certainly had more than a few limited runs. There have been Warrior Mustangs for troops overseas, and Warriors in Pink Mustangs for people battling breast cancer.
Those are all worth writing about, and we have. These limited runs are scarce, and they’re unusually good, but with so many competing lines, none of them really qualify for the coveted position of rarest Mustang
But the rarest Mustang title falls down to a tie between these truly one of a kind Mustangs.
The 1964 World’s Fair Skyway Mustang
When Ford debuted the Mustang at the World’s Fair, they brought twelve convertible Mustangs that were bolted to the Magic Skyway. For the ride, guests would sit in one of the twelve cars and be taken on a tour through the distant past and into the future.
After the fair, Ford elected not to keep the ride as part of their display in Deerborn, and the vehicles once unbolted were offered up for sale through Ford’s used car program. There were three convertibles made in each of four colors: Raven Black, Wimbledon White, Guardsman Blue, and Rangoon Red. Though there were originally twelve 1964 World’s Fair Mustangs, now only two of the convertibles from the 1964 season exist.
One of the Raven Black convertibles was purchased in 1965 by Dr. John Mansell, who kept the car safe in his barn. It still had remnants of the brackets that had once attached it to the Magic Skyway for the World’s Fair event where the Mustang debuted.
Though the Mustang was requested for many local events, people were primarily drawn to it because it was a classic Mustang convertible. It wasn’t until Dr. Mansell pointed out the VIN to people that they realized just how special the car was. Unlike a lot of people with barn cars, Dr. Mansell has always realized just how special his vehicle was, which has led to it being a family bonding project.
One of the 1964 Wimbledon White Skyway Mustangs was found, but it had been neglected and left in a Georgia junkyard. It is presently in the process of being restored, but until it is, Dr. Mansell’s car remains the only intact specimen from the first season of the Magic Skyway. There are two 1965 Skyway Mustangs as well, both of which are owned and have been fully restored by Al and Gary Schweitzer. The location of the twenty other Skyway Mustangs is unknown.
The 1967 Shelby GT500 Convertible
Though Shelby intended to make a GT500 convertible in 1967, issues with fitting the fiberglass parts to the cars resulted in an epic slow down in manufacturing. Shelby ended up with a backlog of Mustangs that needed to be finished. In the end, only one GT500 convertible was made in 1967, and it was used as a company car.
Ford decided to redesign the Mustang before 1968 and sent replacement parts for the three '67s being used as company cars so that the parts could be installed and promotional photos could be taken. The parts were installed, and with them the convertible was disguised as a '68 Mustang. It somehow managed to make its way onto a used car lot where it was purchased by an enthusiastic Mustang fan. Eventually, the car’s new owner noticed some oddities about the little convertible and eventually pieced together the vehicle’s history. The giveaway was the engine. A dual-quad 428 engine was only used for one year-1967. Since then it has been restyled to its original 1967 form.
In 2004, Carroll Shelby traveled to the Chicago Auto Show where the convertible was on display and autographed the hood and dash. He also wrote a letter where he expressed surprise that the convertible had managed to escape Ford’s policy of crushing prototype and experimental vehicles. We’re all certainly glad it did though.
The 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake
The Shelby Super Snake was supposed to be a limited run of 50, but in the end, only one was manufactured.
The Super Snake started its life as a GT500, but then Shelby added a racing engine, a special rear axle, a special transmission, and Thunderbolt tires. The car was originally intended to serve as an ambassador for the tires, but then Don McCain suggested making a supercar for the purpose and Shelby was keen on the idea. Externally, chrome headlight surrounds and blue stripes were added, making this a distinct car inside and out. It performed exceptionally well on the test drive, and at the end of five hundred miles the Thunderbolt tires had maintained their tread. By all accounts, the car was a total success, both fun to drive and unreasonably fast.
High-performance parts tend to come with a high price tag though, and none of the other planned fifty were ever manufactured. Though the projected 7,500 dollar price tag may look paltry, when adjusted for inflation it would have been around 60,000 dollars. The one and only original car was most recently auctioned off for 1.3 million dollars, and with only 26,000 miles on it, it’s likely it’ll be around for years to come.
The 1968 Shelby Green Hornet
Born as a 1968 Mustang with a v8 engine, the Green Hornet never wanted for power. But Shelby decided to add a little something extra to this car. An experimental fuel injection system that put out 450 horsepower. A Ford truck transmission was added, and an independent rear suspension.
The result was a car with better handling, better traction, and a smoother ride. As a prototype, it was supposed to be crushed. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Somehow the Green Hornet escaped, was sold, and came to be appreciated and loved by several people. On the driver’s visor, a note from Shelby identifies the car as the one and only Green Hornet.
Though the car was nearly auctioned off for 1.8 million dollars (a record amount for a Mustang) the sale fell through because the reserve price was set at 2.5 million.
Ford’s Aviation Series
These are different from any of the Mustangs listed above in that they are intentionally produced to be one of a kind. Each year Ford produces one aviation-inspired Mustang to be auctioned off during an airshow to benefit the Young Eagles, an education program designed to help introduce young people to the experience of aviation.
The first of Ford’s aviation-inspired Mustangs was created in 2008. It was named the AV8R and was modeled after a F-22 Raptor aircraft. Since then every year Ford has introduced a new aviation inspired Mustang, with the exception of 2017 when a Ford Raptor was showcased instead.
2018’s special edition was the Eagle Squadron Mustang GT. Some of the special features for this Mustang included that it was equipped with a carbon fiber widebody kit, and leather racing seats embroidered with Eagle Squadron logos. This Eagle Squadron refers to the American pilots who flew combat missions alongside British pilots prior to the United States joining World War II. All told, the auctions for these cars have enabled Ford to raise nearly 3.7 million for the Young Eagles.
These Mustangs are all one of a kind and unusually high quality, which makes them contenders for the rarest title as well as unique parts of Mustang’s history spanning from their World Fair debut to today.