May 06 2015

New Series-Documenting the Mustang III: DST Letter Subject “Shortie” Experimental Mustang 9/3/65

The recently purchased 1963 Mustang III  2-Seater Concept Show Car was delivered with a wonderful collection of letters, documents and photos detailing its history. I will be posting this collection throughout the year in a new series for .

A key letter in this collection was written by the Mustang's builder Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. to its insurance company Aetna Life and Casualty Company following the theft of the car on May 2, 1965. It provides important information on this unique automobile.

Below is a copy of this two-page letter with my comments.


Howard Kroplick

The Mustang III "2-Seater" Prototype will be on display for the first time on Long Island at the Regimental Activities NAFI Auto Show in Kings Point on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Hope to see you there!


The letter was written to Charles Myers of Aetna by Dearborn Steel Tubing Comapny's treasurer Henry D. Aprahamian as part of its insurance claim.

Dearborn referred to the automobile as the "Fastback "Shortie" Experimental Mustang".

It was stolen from Dearborn's shop at 2920 Inkster Road, Inkster, Michigan on May 2, 1965. The automobile was recovered by Detroit Police in December 1965, three months after this letter was written.

The statement "built at the request of the Ford Motor Company Car Marketing Division in June 1964" is key to the history of this Mustang.

More research will be conducted to fully document "the request".

After the car was completed by Dearborn, it was used by Ford for showing in its Custom Car Caravan which "traveled all over the country".

At these exhibits, it was apparently referred to as "Mustang III".

More research will be conducted on the origin of the Mustang III moniker.

Dearborn Steel Tubing Company obtained ownership of the automobile as part of its agreement with Ford.

This is another key paragraph in documenting the automobile. The "prototype frame" was furnished to Dearborn by Ford. It was "a show car of which there are no duplicates".

In the second page of the letter, Aprahamian documented the costs involved in building the automobile after it was received from Ford.

The car was "equipped with a high performance engine and special transmission".

Its primary use was "a show car to be on display at various exhibits and auto shows".

The actions taken by Dearborn after it received the automobile from Ford in June 1964 including shortening the wheelbase, installing a special engine and special transmission and fabricating the body in fiberglass.

This automobile was hand-built and required a total of 2,328 hours of labor. A tight deadline was indicated by the 709 hours of overtime.

The total Dearborn costs were $16,979.02, which is the equivlaent of  $128,560 today.

Note: there was no costs associated with obtaining the chassis from Ford.


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