Saturday, August 02, 2014

the story of how the “Shorty” Mustang was stolen, recovered, sold, and loved over 50 years

A one-off short-wheelbase Ford Mustang may not be the most desirable collectors’ item in the world, but for Bill Snyder of Hudson, Ohio, it’s been his pride and joy for the last 46 years.

In the early 1960s, Ford was experimenting with prototypes for the upcoming Mustang, which would become one of the most influential American cars of all time. They toyed with everything from long, futuristic grand-tourers to sporty, two-seat race cars, and everything in between. Created in 1964, the “Shorty” Ford Mustang was designed by Vince Gardner and built by Ford supplier Dearborn Steel Tubing for a travelling car show.

Only one running prototype of the “Shorty” was ever built, and largely resembled the Mustang that would find its way to production less than a year later, minus a few inches of wheelbase and two rear seats.

While most pre-production prototypes are sent to the crusher when their usefulness has dried up, Gardner decided that his “Shorty” was too special to deserve such a fate. So, he stashed it away in a nearby warehouse and convinced Ford that it had been stolen. Ford claimed an insurance payment on the missing ‘Stang, and the case was seemingly settled.

However, Gardner failed to pay rent on the warehouse space, and upon investigation the warehouse owner discovered the car and took possession of it as payment. “Shorty” was eventually sold to one of the warehouse company’s executives.

Having seen the pint-sized prototype at an auto show four years earlier and fallen in love at first sight, Snyder discovered the car up for sale in Hemming’s Motor News in 1968, and had to have it. “I contacted the seller and immediately sent a driver from my printing business to Connecticut to pick up the car,” said Snyder. “I’ve owned this one-of-a-kind Mustang for the last 46 years.”

Photos and story from but the story was published in the Feb 2014 Auto Enthusiast magazine


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    1. That has a good format, but only one Subaru and one Bentley... when will you be adding content?