Today’s newest and most expensive muscle cars seem to be those with a million horsepower and enough carbon fiber parts to fill a warehouse. However, back in the 1960s, the Italian-designed Bertone Ford Mustang took a completely different approach to impress. Commissioned originally as a promotional tactic, this one-off Mustang stole the show at the 1965 New York International Auto Show.
However, as Road and Track report, this Italian muscle car seemingly vanished as quickly as it arrived. Despite ambitious efforts to locate it, this ultra-rare machine has been missing for 55 years.
Who commissioned the Bertone Ford Mustang?
The Bertone Ford Mustang’s story begins in the mid-1960s with Automobile Quarterly founder L. Scott Bailey. Following the successful launch of the 1964 Mustang, Ford was eager to continue hyping up its newest model in the public eye. According to Road & Track, Bailey came up with the idea to create a one-off example designed by Carrozzeria Bertone in Italy.
According to MyCarQuest, Henry Ford II’s affinity for Italian-designed cars helped approve this unusual project. As a result, the American carmaker donated a brand-new red fastback Mustang and shipped it to Italy for the project.
Oddly enough, a 1966 issue of Road & Track states that the American carmaker gave Bertone free rein with this project’s new design. The only condition was that it couldn’t keep its original red color. Additionally, this new variant was mechanically identical to a standard fastback model.
As if this Bertone Ford Mustang project wasn’t unique enough, it fell on the legendary automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s lap. Keep in mind. This man designed the DMC DeLorean, BMW M1, Maserati Ghibli, and the Ferrari 250 GT.
This one-off creation debuted a year later in 1965
The Italians finished the Bertone Ford Mustang just in time for the 1965 New York International Auto Show. According to Road & Track, this one-off example carried a price tag of $30,000. Adjusted for inflation, we’re talking about $250,489 in today’s money.
Additionally, the Italian Mustang managed to win the Best of Show award during its debut. From there, it traveled across Europe, visiting various auto shows. However, this is when it vanished from the public eye.
According to Road and Track, the Bertone Ford Mustang vanished somewhere around Turin, Italy, in 1966. As you might imagine, there are a few theories of what happened.
How can a one-off Mustang simply vanish?
As you might imagine, the information surrounding the Bertone Ford Mustang is quite scarce. However, Road and Track have a few theories of what happened to it. The first is that Bertone decided to sell it at some point. This theory comes from a supposed “for sale” ad which listed the car up for $10,000. However, as Bertone liquidated its assets in 2014, the car wasn’t listed.
As a result, the running theory is that the car remains hidden somewhere. Even Bailey, the man behind this project’s idea, attempted to find it in 2012 before his passing. Unfortunately, the car never turned up. Today in 2021, this priceless car remains missing.