Home Cars Top 26 Rarest Ford Mustangs Ever Made

Top 26 Rarest Ford Mustangs Ever Made

Vukasin Herbez April 15, 2019

In the last 55 years, Ford has made over 10 million Mustangs. This fantastic achievement makes this model the most successful pony/muscle car in the world. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Mustang. Still, America’s favorite pony car managed to endure all the hardships, recessions and difficulties along the way.

Most of those 10 million examples Ford produced are regular coupes or convertibles with no special features or characteristics. However, every now and then, Ford produces a rare version or model that flies under the radar that people soon forget. So, keep reading to learn more about those rare and interesting models you probably don’t know about.

This list will avoid those concepts and prototype models and cover only the production versions. They produced some of these cars in the single digits, which shows how rare and obscure some of these cars truly are.

26. Ford Mustang Skyway

The Ford Mustang debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. For the occasion, Ford made 24 specially-equipped Mustangs. They used those cars for promotional and display purposes as well as to drive VIPs around the fair.

All those cars received pre-production VIN numbers and were fully equipped with all the extra features. After the event, Ford sold most of them through their dealerships, so the Mustang community lost track of this special series. Today, they’ve only found a few of them.

25. Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

The first Mustang to pace the Indy 500 was the 1964 ½ model as a part of Ford’s massive marketing offensive in promoting the new model. Indy 500 officials realized the new car was extremely popular and sought after, so they accepted it.

They used a fleet of 34 white Mustangs as the official Indy 500 transport for the weekend. It undoubtedly helped the Mustang. In fact, it made Ford’s newest Mustang model even more popular with buyers.

24. Shelby GT350R

Ford built the GT350R for only one year in 1965, selling it to privateers and racing teams all over America and the world. Inarguably, the Shelby GT350R was a pure racing beast. Those cars were not street legal and purely for racing purposes, something Ford did extremely well.

The R version got its power from the same 289 V8 as the regular Shelby GT350. But the difference was that it produced close to 400 HP and came with numerous racing modifications. The car was light and well-balanced, so it proved extremely fast, winning races in America, Europe, and South America. Ford only made 34 GT350Rs, so to own one today, you will need a fortune.

23. Shelby GT350 Convertible

Most muscle car enthusiasts will tell you the first model year for the Shelby Mustang convertible was 1968. But that statement is only partially true. In 1968, Shelby offered a convertible version to the public as a regular production option. However, the first convertibles Carroll Shelby built himself happened in 1966 as a secret project. At the end of the 1966 model year, Shelby decided to produce a limited, secret run of six GT350 convertibles to give to family and friends.

It was a commemorative edition to celebrate the success of the GT350, as well as a prototype for the potential production of GT350 convertibles. Each car received the full list of options like air conditioning and a roll bar. Also, they painted each car a different color and added the GT’s signature white racing stripes.

22. Ford Mustang 289 HiPo Convertible 1967

Ford offered their first true muscle Mustang from 1965 to 1967 289 in the form of the HiPo or K-Code Mustang. The 289 HiPo was the 271 HP V8 with numerous improvements over the standard engine. It was available at an extra cost in all three body styles.

Also, it was a rare option among Mustang fans. For 1967, its final year, Ford produced only 50 convertibles with the 289 HiPo engine. Although Ford equipped most of them with a manual transmission, 16 came with automatic transmission.

21. Ford Mustang GT Cobra Jet Convertible

Ford presented the legendary 428 Cobra Jet engine in 1968 and immediately put it in the Mustang. The Mustang 428 CJ was a mid-year introduction mostly intended for drag racing, so that’s why Ford sold it in modest numbers.

Apart from 50 Fastbacks with CJ engine and other versions, Ford offered the Cobra Jet in convertible form. They only built 34 cars, which makes it one of the rarest Cobra Jet models Ford ever produced.

20. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Convertible

Ford’s best-selling pony car got its third restyling for 1969, growing in size. The new body was bigger and wider, but the wheelbase stayed the same. All three body styles were present so buyers could choose between the elegant convertible, standard coupe, and the sporty-looking Sportsroof fastback.

Also, the Cobra Jet 428 was available in all three body styles and with the GT package. As expected, they installed most of them in coupes or Sportsroofs. However, 122 people ordered the mighty Cobra Jets and Super Cobra Jets in the convertible body style. Out of that number, the rarest is the Q-code Super Cobra Jet without the GT package with a manual transmission. Surprisingly, Ford only produced five of these cool-looking and great performing models.

19. Ford Mustang E

In 1969, besides the new regular production models like the luxury Grande, sporty Mach I, and the Boss 302 and 429, there was one interesting and rare special version Ford called the “E.” The “E” was short for “Economy” and this was a special version featuring the base 250 CID straight-six engine. It came with an automatic transmission with a special torque converter and a strangely low rear axle ratio.

When Ford prepared the Mustang E like this, it became an economical machine with a great fuel economy. But since it appeared in the middle of the muscle car craze, nobody paid attention to this economic model. At the time, everybody was interested in those high powered, gas-guzzling models. And that’s why people believe that Ford only built 50 Mustang Es.

18. Ford Mustang Mach I Twister Special

The interesting Mach I Twister Special was a unique version Ford designed for the Kansas City sales district. They based it on the newly introduced Ford Mustang Mach I. The Mach I was a performance version that consumers could buy with three engines, the 302, 351, and the mighty 428 Cobra Jet V8. The initial idea was that all Twister Specials should receive the biggest and most powerful engine, the 428 Cobra Jet.

However, an engine shortage forced Ford to make some changes and produce a few with the 351 V8. All cars had cartoon twister tornado on the rear quarter panel. Ford built a total of 100 Mach I Twister Specials and even some other Ford models like the Torino received the same treatment. Today, just a few Twister Specials are known to survive and they are highly sought after by collectors.

17. Ford Mustang Sidewinder Special

For promotional purposes in the Oklahoma sales district, Ford prepared a special version named the Sidewinder Special. They based it on the 351 V8 Sportsroof model. Although some experts claim Ford based the Sidewinder on the Mach I, but no one has been able to confirm that.

Ford built 40 cars in various colors, all with a special set of decals Ford packed in the box. The dealer prepared the car before each sale by applying the decals. The characteristic one was the snake cartoon they placed on the rear fenders. Today, Sidewinder specials are extremely rare.

16. Shelby Europa

When Shelby introduced its line of powerful Mustangs, European enthusiasts took notice. And soon, these cars were popular on the continent, as well as in the states. Interestingly, one of the first Shelby dealers was the Belgian racing driver, Claude Dubois. After they ceased Shelby’s production in 1970, Dubois approached Carroll Shelby.

He asked him for the rights to produce a special line of European spec 1971 and 1972 Mustangs under the Shelby name. In two years, they only produced approximately 14 cars, which makes the Shelby Europe an incredibly rare muscle car. And although Ford gave most of them the 351 V8 engine, some received the 429 Cobra Jet.

15. Ford Mustang 429 Cobra Jet Coupe

The third and final redesign of the first-generation Mustang appeared in 1971 when Ford introduced a bigger, heavier car. Most of the performance versions continued for the 1971 model year however, people gravitated towards the Sportsroof model instead of the formal coupe or Grande.

And that is why Ford only produced 11 coupes with the new 429 Cobra Jet engine and four-speed transmission.

14. Ford Mustang HO

In 1972, Ford discontinued the Boss 351 and Cobra Jet Mustangs after killing their Shelby models two years prior. However, performance Mustang buyers weren’t left with a choice, so Ford offered the HO model. The “HO” stood for high output and it was like offering the Boss 351 for 1972.

It featured a performance 351 V8 they rated at 275 HP, which was impressive by those early ‘70s standards. In the end, Ford only made about 60 of those interesting machines in all three body styles.

13. Ford Mustang Sprint Convertible

In 1972, Ford debuted the Sprint special version for the Mustang, Maverick and Pinto. The cars were white with a patriotic red, white, and blue paint scheme. But the most interesting thing was that Ford used the same color combination in the interior. In fact, the seats matched the exterior of the car.

The Sprint was available with all engines and all Mustang variants. However, the convertible was the rarest with Ford only making 50 of them. Another interesting detail was the U.S. Olympic team logo on the rear fenders and the rear panel between each taillight was blue.

12. Ford Mustang McLaren M81

Ford built this interesting car with the help of the well-known McLaren racing team at their American operations office in Michigan. The whole idea behind the project was to take a 2.3-liter turbo engine from a regular Mustang and transform it into a street racing beast. It came with a race-tuned suspension, a lightweight body and a host of other modifications.

McLaren and Ford installed a tuned turbo engine that produced 190 HP, which was a big number for the day, especially coming from 2.3-liters. And it totally changing the looks of the Fox Mustang. The result was a good performance and driving dynamics, but also a high price tag.

Ford offered the Mustang McLaren M81 for sale at the price of $25,000. And that was roughly three times the price of a regular Mustang. So despite all the interesting extras, Ford installed in the M81, it was a tough seller. Sadly, Ford only sold about 10 of them before they canceled the project.

11. Ford Mustang 41X

No one really knows how many Fox-body Mustangs Ford built with the trim code 41X. And because nobody knows how many are out there, it makes them even more appealing. If you haven’t heard of the 41X, no one can blame you. It is possibly the rarest and most interesting part of Fox-body Mustang history.

The 41X is the trim code for those totally stripped base LX models with 5.0 HO engines and manual gearboxes. When the 5.0 HO became available, serious drag racers wanted even lighter cars for drag strip duty. So, they ordered their base models with top of the line engines and no equipment.

In fact, they removed even the mandatory stuff like sun visors, sound deadening, speakers and seatbelts. So, Ford gave cars delivered this way the 41X trim code. Because they were extremely light, powerful and fast, they mostly used them for racing.

10. Monroe Handler

A very few people know what Monroe Handler is, and we don’t blame if you don’t. Back in the late ’70s, Mustang was a disgrace in terms of performance and power. It was slow, ugly, and underpowered in any way. However, guys from Hot Rod Magazine thought that underneath all this “lameness,” there is a cool, little performance car, so with the help of Monroe (manufacturers of shock absorbers), they built a Monroe Handler, the only real-performing Mustang II.

Thanks to a long list of modifications, Monroe Handler had 400 HP engine, racing suspension, extensive body kits, and a long list of other upgrades. Although intended as a show car, the Handler proved that Mustang II had some potential, and soon after, they produced kits for sale to the general public.

9. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Although we witnessed a recent rise in prices, Fox-body Mustang Cobra flew under mainstream collectors’ radar for a long. Most people tend to dismiss it as another Fox-Body Mustang, but Cobra is much more than just that. It is a proper performance car, blurring the line between classic muscle car and sports coupe.

It was produced for one year only – 1993 and marked the end of the Fox-body Mustang generation. Under the hood was SVT prepared 5.0-liter HO engine with trick GT40 heads and various other upgrades. The 0 to 60 mph time was well under 6 seconds, and the 1993 Cobra handled thanks to revised suspension perfectly. Ford made just 4993 examples in 1993 and hurry up before they became Shelby GT350s of the 21st century.

8. Saleen Mustang SC 1993

Steve Saleen was called Carroll Shelby of the ’80s due to his connection with the Ford Mustang, racing success, and a string of tuned Mustangs released to buyers. In 1993, he presented one of the best Fox-body cars in the form of the Saleen Mustang SC.

The 5.0-liter V8 was given a supercharger and delivered mighty 325 HP. Of course, Saleen Mustang SC was equipped with bigger brakes, beefed-up transmission, new suspension, unique wheels, and rubber along with characteristic body kit and exterior trim.

7. Ford Mustang Boss 429

The mythical Mustang Boss 429 is a proper homologation special legend. Ford conceived it in 1969 as a pure racing engine they intended for use in the NASCAR championship. The Boss 429 featured a different engine architecture than the rest of Ford’s big blocks. First, it was much wider and had semi-Hemi combustion chambers. That helped it achieve higher revs and get better flow inside the head to produce more power and torque.

Factory rated at 375 HP, this unit produced over 500 HP in reality, and much more in race trim. Ford decided to put this engine into the Mustang, creating a limited production Boss 429. But NASCAR decided not to homologate it since the series only accepted intermediate and full-size cars, and the Mustang was a pony car model.

6. Ford Mustang Cobra R

Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) department was responsible for some of the fastest muscle cars of the last 25 years, and in 1995, they presented another Cobra R. This time, it was produced in 250 examples and sold only to the individuals with a racing license or private teams.

Under the hood was a tuned 5.8-liter V8 engine, which delivered 300 hp and 356 lb-ft of torque. Even though this kind of power is not pretty impressive today, it was a significant number for 1995, and since the Cobra R was a fairly light car, the performance was outstanding. The 0 to 60 mph time took 5.2 seconds, which made it the fastest accelerating American production model at the time. The Cobra R was available only in white, and this model was just the start of the SVT division, turning ordinary Mustangs into land rockets.

5. Ford Mustang Stallion

The Stallion was a very interesting and quite rare special version, which was not an official Ford product but a model sold by Mainway Ford in Toronto, Canada. The dealership marketing manager, along with the mechanics, prepared eight ’67 Fastbacks, four with 289 HiPo V8 and four with 390 V8 engines, and turned them to Stallions.

The Stallions also received a lot of performance equipment, unique side graphics, and taillight panel straight from the Mercury Cougar. This was also the Stallion’s most visible feature. There are no reports on how many survived, but we are sure that the number is pretty low.

4. Ford Mustang California Special CS/SC

This special version was one of the most famous and is sought after by Mustang collectors. The California Special was introduced in 1968 as a special model for dealers in California to boost sales of the Mustang in that state. Ford decided to make the California Special a more upscale model and invested a lot into this version.

First, the CS could be had only with V8 engines, and the equipment level was pretty high. Second, the California Special featured a totally different rear end, which was Carroll Shelby’s work with rear deck spoiler Cougar tail lights and CS badges. Third, all CS had a vinyl roof, side decals, and fake side scoops. Despite the fact that California Special sold in 4,325 examples, it failed to meet the sales goal. In fact, at the end of the 1968 model year, lots of CS models were still on the dealer’s lots unsold. The California dealers had a problem and contacted Ford dealers from Colorado with the request to take over those unsold cars. This is how the ’68 High Country Special Mustang model was born, and 251 ex California Specials became the Colorado cars.

3. Ford Mustang GT350 Anniversary Edition

In 1984, Mustang celebrated its 20th birthday, and Ford introduced a special edition called GT350. The car was available as a coupe or a convertible with all engines but with several unique features, white color and stripes identical to those on `65/66 Shelby GT350. The production was limited to only 5,260 copies, which were sold fast.

However, this car proved to be problematic for Ford since immediately after its release, Carroll Shelby, the man behind the legendary Shelby Mustangs, sued Ford for unauthorized use of the “GT350” name. Apparently, the matter was settled out of the court, and Ford didn’t use the GT350 name until the 2015 model year.

2. Ford Mustang Mach I (2003)

The early 2000s saw the fourth-generation Mustang redesign and the introduction of some incredibly exciting and powerful versions. One of those is the Mach I, which featured a retro-inspired graphics package, new colors, and upgraded engine and exhaust. Clearly, the Mach I from 2003 was a loving homage to the fire breathing Mach I from the late ’60s and early ’70s.

The 4.6-liter V8 engine was tuned to deliver 305 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, which was sent to rear wheels over a six-speed manual gearbox. The 0 to 60 time was pretty swift at 5.6 seconds, and the coolest details were those gorgeous retro-inspired five-spoke wheels. The ’03 Mach I was a one-year model produced from 2003 to 2004, and the total production number was exactly 6500 cars, which makes it a collector’s item and quite possibly a very valuable Mustang in the future.

1. Ford Mustang SSP

One of the biggest automotive legends amongst the law enforcement officers in the USA is the Ford Mustang SSP. This special order package for Fox-body Mustangs was produced from 1982 to 1993 and sold to various agencies and military organizations. The SSP stands for Special Service Package and includes a tuned 5.0-liter V8 engine, heavy-duty suspension, engine cooling, brakes, and lot more.

The SSP package was developed in the early ’80s after the California Highway Patrol realized that their officers are getting outrun by drivers driving Porsches and other fast cars. To catch them, they asked Ford to produce a special package for Mustang, giving it more power, high-speed stability, braking power, and dynamics. Ford responded with the SSP package, and very soon, no Porsche in California could outrun police cars anymore.

These are 26 of the rarest and most interesting Ford Mustangs they ever made. Which one was your favorite? Hopefully, it wasn’t the car Ford only build one of, so you have a better chance. Either way, all of these cars helped the Mustang remain relevant and highly successful.

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