Mar 28 2015

1963 Ford Mustang III 2-Seater Concept Show Car Finds a New Home on Long Island

A unique and historically important 1963 Ford Mustang III concept show car affectionately known as the “Shorty” Mustang, was sold yesterday to a well-known Long Island car enthusiast at Auctions America in Fort Lauderdale. It is believed to be the only first generation Mustang prototype in private ownership and an important piece of Ford Motor Company history.

Here is the description from Auctions America:

Recognized by Ford Motor Company as an original factory prototype, the Mustang III was a one-of-a-kind design study built at Ford’s request by the famed Dearborn Steel Tubing Company. The car began with a prototype Mustang chassis, shortened by 16 inches and outfitted with a custom-built 302-cubic-inch V-8 with three dual-barrel carburetors. The special two-passenger fastback coupe body was penned by freelance designer, Vince Gardner, well-known for his custom creations during the 1950s and 60s.

When first unveiled, the “Shorty” Mustang was part of a travelling custom car show, displayed, among other events, at “Sports Cars in Review” at the Henry Ford Museum in 1965.  Much to the disappointment of showgoers and its designer, Ford’s plans for limited production of the model did not pan out; and, upset at the prototype’s pending destruction; Gardner stashed it away in a nearby warehouse. It was subsequently reported stolen by Ford, who received a payout for the loss, only for the car to be discovered several months later. An important piece of Ford history, it eventually found its way into the possession of its current owner, a passionate sports car enthusiast, in 1968. He later commissioned a complete restoration to return the car to its original condition before debuting the vehicle at the esteemed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2013. The appearance marked the first time that the car had been shown publicly in four decades. More recently, it has been displayed at numerous events across the U.S. as part of Mustang’s 50th anniversary celebrations.


Howard Kroplick

Meet "Shorty"

Officially, it was the Mustang III concept, built by Dearborn Steel Tubing Industries with the blessing of Ford Marketing. DST was Ford's go-to partner for many show cars of the era, and they wanted to explore what a legit two-seat Mustang might look like.

With the reduced wheelbase, the rear seat was completely jettisoned.

The reduced size required a new position for the gas tank lid.

Underhood, Shorty got a then-experimental  version of Ford's later-ubiquitous 302-cid V8 with three dual-barrel carburetors.

The V8 was connected to an automatic transmission.

While the nose is standard 1965 Mustang, the fiberglass bodywork from the firewall  to the rear was unique to Shorty.

On the Auction Stage

Meet "Shorty's" New Owner


Mar 29 2015 Tobey 6:28 AM

Howard, congratulations! See on the lawns this summer.

Mar 29 2015 Joseph DeBono 6:43 AM

A Great Car, Enjoy.

Mar 29 2015 James & Gram Spina 7:03 AM

Yipes!!!!! We’ve been following the adventures of this amazing car for two years now! Totally psyched that it’s “in the family” so to speak! Can’t wait to see it.
We’re going to Belmont today! Take it out for a spin!

Mar 29 2015 Ed Raabe 7:12 AM

The Thunderbird Club of South Florida volunteers to stage and drive the cars at this aution. It was a privilege to participate in the presentation of this significant Ford Car. “Well bought”
Ed Raabe, President CTCSF

Mar 29 2015 Peter PAPADEMETRIOU 7:37 AM

Congratulations indeed!
(hope to have it shown in B’hampton)

Mar 29 2015 H. Robert Greenbaum 9:09 AM

Mazel Tov, Hesh, on the new arrival.  What a pretty baby girl.

In Friendship,

Mar 29 2015 Tom Cotter 9:11 AM

Congrats!  I remember seeing that car at the Amelia Island Concours about six or seven years ago.  Neat ride.  Have fun.

Mar 29 2015 Walt Gosden 10:19 AM

Howard, congratulations! Now you have the ” long” (your 1937 Chrysler Imperial) and the “Short” (the Mustang prototype) of of it for a car collection! All my best.

Mar 29 2015 Tom Rakoczy 10:29 AM

Congrats Howard! What a beautiful car… always loved Mustangs! PS What a great presentation this past week at the Smithtown/Commack library - thanks for sharing so much wonderful info on the Island’s rich history!! Best Always - Tom & Gaetano
From Howard Kroplick:

Tom, please thank Gaetano again for his wonderful gift.

Mar 29 2015 George...Minuteman Press 11:04 AM

Congrats Howard! Very ,Very Cool Car!...Enjoy it

George “Minuteman Press”

Mar 29 2015 Howard Kroplick 12:44 PM

From Guy Frost:
Congratulations, Howard!

Mar 29 2015 Ken Wiebke 12:47 PM

Delighted to know such an important car is on long Island and in such good hands. Best of luck with Shorty!

Mar 29 2015 Ted 3:05 PM

Howard!!, You did it again,another one of one.Just have to see it,can’t miss out on this. What a car,you really know how to pick them and keep the history going. Congrats

Mar 29 2015 Mark Schaier 4:50 PM

Congratulation Your Mustang is somewhat of a preview of the 1968 AMC, AMX a 2 dr. 2 seater pony car. You pick winners!

Mar 29 2015 Bruce Adams 4:54 PM


It should make a great showing featured with the Mustang Shelby Club of Long Island’s other cars !

Mar 29 2015 Richard Poisson 6:15 PM

What a great car, if only Ford had produced them.

Mar 29 2015 Marty Goffe 8:58 PM

Howard: Congrats on your acquisition of the beautiful AMERICAN Mustang, a rolling piece of AMERICAN automotive history.  Enjoy it !
— Marty, member of GNYR

Mar 29 2015 JeRita 9:46 PM

Howard congrats on your new arrival We can’t to see you on the circuit JeRita

Mar 30 2015 L.K. 5:26 PM

Howard, nice addition to the growing collection…...Enjoy it !

Apr 01 2015 Robert Luttgen 3:12 PM

Time for a bigger garage Howard?  Glad to see such a beautiful part of our American automobile history preserved by someone as dedicated as yourself.

Apr 03 2015 Richard D. Kaye 11:44 AM

Congratulations, Howard! Another one-of-kind American classic to add to your collection. Can’t wait to go for a spin…

Apr 14 2015 Ted 9:52 PM

Howard,enjoyed taking a look at the car,hope to see it at a show,so I can spend more time looking at it. Thanks again for a short look at Shorty

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