Jun 20 2015

Mustang III at the Ford Custom Car Caravan (1964-1965)

At the request of the Ford Marketing Division, Dearborn Steel Tubing was given the ninth pre-production Mustang ever built. Dearborn Steel Tubing, Ford's prototype/concept show car supplier, was asked to build the two-passenger Mustang III fiberglass fastback to tour with the Ford Custom Car Caravan and be displayed at major automobile exhibits.

As described in the book Mustang: The Complete History of America's Pioneer Ponycar by Gary Witzenburg, Lee Iacocca stated that show cars were built by Ford "to test public reaction to styling and functional innovations...Showing these vehicles to people like you-and to large segments of the public at auto shows and other special events- gives us a pre-test of likely customer response to styling and mechanical innovations we may be considering for future production models."

Beginning in fall 1962 through 1965, Ford  created the Ford Custom Car Caravan to campaign customized and performance-theme Fords. The Caravan initially included the Mustang II, built by Dearborn Steel Tubing, Cougar II and Allegro. Later Ford reached out to prominent customizers and commissioned additional custom cars for the tour including Dearborn's Mustang III.

My research has uncovered these photos and documents on the Mustang III on the Ford Custom Car Caravan and at special exhibits from September 1964 to April 1965.

Happy Father's Day,

Howard Kroplick

This photo appeared in the summer 1965 issue of Popular Customs magazine.

The caption notes the automobile was the Mustang III, following the Mustang II prototype also built by Dearborn Steel Tubing.

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana

The Mustang III can be seen on display on the far left.

The banner for the Ford Custom Car Caravan.

13th Annual Autorama-Detroit, Michigan, January 1965

The rear quarter of the Mustang III can be seen on the far right next to the Mustang Pegasus.

From September 1964 through 1965, the Ford Custom Car Caravan was a major attraction at rod and custom shows including the 13th Annual Autorama in Detroit.

The program listed the car as “The Mustang- a 90-inch wheelbase fastback Mustang with a Fiberglass body.”

“Sports Cars in Review” Exhibit, Dearborn, Michigan, January 1965

Presented as “Mustang III, a limited-production 1965 ½ offering”, at the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village in Dearborn.

1965 NHRA Custom Auto Fair, Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, January 28-31, 1965

This photo further documents the brand name Mustang III when it toured on the Ford Custom Car Caravan. The car in the background is The Pacifica "styled by Gene Winfield."

Detroit Rod and Custom Show, March 1965


Jun 21 2015 Ted 2:34 AM

Hi all,still with you checking things out,trying to keep up to date with what’s going on,but don’t have much time lately,I just take a quick glance.The move to Virginia is taking a toll on me trying to settle in,very frustrating,Sure wish I was their for the collectable car show in oyster bay, sounds great.    Howard,say hi to John for me.Will be in touch when I get a chance,in a few days

Feb 19 2016 Mark 6:29 PM

Dearborn Steel Tubing built another much-modified Mustang from the same set of pre-production prototypes delivered to DST by Ford.  This car, the Mustang Vivace (VIN:  5S0F100007) featured a dramatic fastback roof, a modestly lengthened wheelbase, and a front grille that presaged the famed Bertone Mustang.  This car was not the subject of ownership shenanigans—it was purchased from DST by then L-M chief Ben D. Mills.  The Vfvace survives today—it’s being restored now (early 2016).
From Howard Kroplick

Excellent!. Do you know who is doing the restoration?

Leave a Comment