The ’63 Ford Mustang II Concept Is Headed to the Carlisle Ford Nationals


The world changed when the cover came off the Ford Mustang on April 17th, 1964. The lasting impact of that car looms large, and a lot of that hinges on its now-iconic look. Anyone fascinated by the Mustang’s distinctive shape is likely curious about the concepts that influenced it, and luckily, a few Mustang prototypes have been documented and still survive. They rarely come out to shows or events to be appreciated by the public, however, so it’s a big deal when one goes on display, no matter how briefly, and the 1963 Mustang II Concept you see here is about to have another day in the sun.

Lee Iacocca had a hunch about how the Mustang would be received, and fostered the creation of the Mustang II Concept in the hopes it would energize the public about the direction Ford expected to go with future projects. Its elongated proportions hinted at the Mustang’s design trajectory into the late ’60s and early ’70s, and added some visual excitement to create some buzz about Ford’s new pony.

Ford Heritage Vault

It was used for a few events in 1964 before fading into the background. The car even served some time as a test mule, where engineers tried various design changes before implementing them into production cars. That was an interesting choice, considering the Mustang II Concept has a steel body that is five inches longer than the production first-generation Mustang and is also three inches shorter between the roofline and the rocker panels. Surprisingly, the hand-finished upholstery somehow survived the entire time the car was a utility item.

The car has stood the test of time and remains a unique and relatively hidden part of the early Mustang story. It’s currently housed by the Detroit Historical Society, which means it is more or less hidden away except for special visits. This year, it is making a rare appearance at the Carlisle Ford Nationals, held at Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from May 31 through June 2. Plan your trip to see this piece of Mustang history soon. After all, who knows when this artifact will come out of hiding next?


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    Turning a production car into a concept was a bit of clever marketing by Iacocca. But he was always full of sheep dip and it was just a marketing ploy. Iacocca was never the hero he depicted himself to be, He praised his victories but then pointed at others for his mistakes. The 69 Mustang is my favorite,damn near perfect.The 69/ 70 Shelby my least. They were showing the direction the 71 would be,especially its nose, but it was nothing more than a bunch of tacked on nonsense window dressing. Nothing you couldn’t order in a standard Mustang. That diluted the brand. The real deal 69 GT-350 was the Boss 302. As a piece of history this car is noteworthy ,it is also unfortunately an example of how can dupe the public.

    To be fair Ford was often a battle ground for several personalities.

    HFII was the boss but often many personal issues and was not a product guy.

    Lee was a product guy but he wanted all the credit. He has a great staff and plus HHII whomalsonwantbcrefit.

    They brought in Bunkie Knudsen and Larry Shinoda and they began to hit home runs on design and Lee dud not like them getting credit. Bunkie was the guy behind Delorean at Pontiac and was called the Boss hence the Mustang of the same name.

    Ford has had great designers and engineers but often struggled in management. I often wondered if Edsel were Ford may have gone. He understood product and styling.

    Not that Ford had a bad run but they could have done better. Edsel cars stood out for the right reasons. It is a shame a car with his name marked HFII tribute to him.

    Also this car should be in the Henry Ford Museum not hidden away in the warehouse for the historical society.

    This! The Historical Society should permanently loan it to the Henry Ford to be parked next to the two-seater Mustang concept.

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