1980 Ford Mustang McLaren M81

13 Rare Mustang Models You’ll Never See

The Ford Mustang is an all-time great muscle car, first exploding onto the scene in the mid-1960s, and Ford has never looked back. 

The Blue Oval has given us all manner of Mustangs, such as the first-generation, the Mach 1, the SVT Cobra, and the iconic Fox Body. 

It would be unfair to say some versions are “common.” However, Ford has produced some very special Mustangs over the years. These are in low quantities with sometimes high values to their name. We have scoured the internet to find 13 of the rarest Mustangs and explain what makes them so rare.

2000 Mustang SVT Cobra

2000 Mustang SVT Cobra
Image Credit: Elise240SX/WikiCommons.

The Mustang SVT Cobra of 2000 had a 5.4-liter V8 packing 385 hp. Ford only produced 300 units, making it one of the rarest Mustangs ever. A bright red color and distinctive bodywork were other distinguishing features. But so was its performance. The SVT has a 155 mph top speed and a 0-60 time of just 4.5 seconds.

1964 Indy 500 Pace Car Mustang

1964 Indy 500 Pace Car Mustang
Image Credit: Michel Curi/WikiCommons.

In 1964, Ford produced three Mustangs to pace the Indianapolis 500. The manufacturer then made 35 for the various parades and social events surrounding the race, plus another 190 replicas with a 260 cubic-inch V8 under the hood. These were for dealer contests, whereby dealers that saw a sales increase would receive a batch of the Pace cars. Remarkably, just nine of these remain.

2011 Mustang Shelby 1000

2011 Mustang Shelby 1000
Image Credit: Bryce Walker/WikiCommons.

Shelby is famous for its enhanced Mustangs, and one that was truly spectacular was the Shelby 1000. As the name suggests, this is a 1,000-hp brute thanks to its 5.4-liter supercharged V8. Shelby would only ever produce 23 units. However, Ford has said that that 1,000 HP was not continuously sustainable. Poignantly, this was the last Shelby Mustang that Carroll Shelby himself was directly involved in before his passing.

1965 Ford Mustang GT350R

1965 Ford Mustang GT350R
Image Credit: Andy Chetwyn/Flickr.

The mid-1960s is perhaps the golden age of the muscle car. During that time, Ford turned its muscle car into a race car, tasked with fighting against the SCCA Chevrolet Corvettes. This spawned the 350 hp GT350R, thanks to a 289 cubic0inch 4.7-liter V8 engine. Legendary racers Ken Miles and Jerry Tutus won multiple races behind the wheels of these cars. Ford would make just 34 units of this removable Mustang.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special
Image Credit: T & L Automobile Photography/Flickr.

While the Mach 1 is a well-known version of the Mustang, the Twister Special might not be. In the 1970s, the Ford Special Promotions Division produced regional specials of the muscle car. These included High Country and the famous California Special, and the Twister Special was the name given to the Kansas City, Missouri edition. So-called because of the tornadoes that appeared in the area, just 96 of these would leave the Ford factory. The 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8 adds to their value, and they can fetch well over $100,000 at auctions.

1980 Ford Mustang McLaren M81

1980 Ford Mustang McLaren M81
Image Credit: Mecum Auctions.

A Mustang bearing the British McLaren name might sound like a fantasy, but that is what happened in 1980. Ford partnered with McLaren to produce 10 M81s, with a rebuilt engine and four-speed manual transmission done by the McLaren engineering team in Michigan. With so few made, it is arguably the rarest Fox Body Mustang of all time, and one sold at Mecum Auctions in 2023 for $75,000.

2006 Ford Mustang Guigiaro

2006 Ford Mustang Guigiaro
Image Credit: kxmik/Flickr.

One of the more unusual on this list was just a single Guigiaro Mustang being produced. Based on the S197 Mustang, the muscle car was what would happen if famed Italian designer Guigiaro Giorgetto of Ital Design was suddenly left to craft his version of the Mustang. Inspired by the 1966 Mustang Mach 1 concept, the car still packed a powerful 500 hp 4.6-liter supercharged V8 under the hood, and it was a fully functioning car, not just a show pony.

1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake

1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake
Image Credit: Adilson dos anjos/Flickr.

Perhaps the most famous Shelby Mustangs are those from the 1960s, and the GT500 Super Snake of 1967 is right up there. This Mustang was the product of a request from Goodyear to Mr. Shelby to test out their new Thunderbolt economy tires. The car ran over a 500-mile test, yet while a production run of 50 was in the pipeline, they only made one. A 2019 auction saw it sell for $2.2 million, showing how valuable this tire tester had become.

1971 Ford Mustang Shelby Europa

1971 Ford Mustang Shelby Europa
Image Credit:
Pamela Hirschhorn/Youtube.

Another of the rare Shelbys comes in the form of the Shelby Europa. This marked the muscle car’s first foray onto the European market after Belgian Shelby dealer Claude Dubois sold 14 examples of the muscle car. Based on the Mach 1, they had either a 5.7-liter or 7.0-liter V8 under the hood and could produce up to 400 hp. One went missing in 1987, and its whereabouts remain a mystery. 

1964 World Fair Skyway Mustang

1964 World Fair Skyway Mustang
Image Credit: Orlando Mustang/Flickr.

At the 1964 World Fair, Ford brought along 12 early Mustang convertibles. These were called the “World’s Fair Skyway Mustang”. These muscle cars bore the numbers 100003 through to 100014, and their low production number already made them a rarity. In 2024, there are now just two left in the world. 

1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Green Hornet

1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Green Hornet
Image Credit: Barrett-Jackson/Youtube.

Another Shelby, this time another prototype and one that quickly earned the nickname “The Green Hornet.” Worth over $3 million today, this remarkable one-off packed a 428 cubic-inch big-block V8 under the hood and distinguishing features such as a unique 1967 front grille modified to accommodate Marchal fog lights. Its survival makes it even more special, as one of the prime examples of what Shelby could do with the Mustang.

1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible

1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible
Image Credit: elbaracuda2002/Flickr.

Another Shelby one-off, this is the only Shelby GT500 convertible in existence, and it was once again a car to go into mass production. What stopped this was that the styling buck provided would not fit parts from the production cars Ford sent over. Shelby attempted to rework the parts catalog, but Ford brought Shelby production in-house, and the GT500 convertible was soon forgotten about. This Mustang is also the only convertible in Ford history to have more than one carburetor, and it had a 355 hp 428 cubic-inch V8 providing that American muscle.

1969 Ford Mustang BOSS 429 LID

1969 Ford Mustang BOSS 429
Image Credit: Lucky Ice/Flickr.

This Mustang never fulfilled its original purpose. The 7.0-liter 429 engine was for NASCAR, and its 375 hp figure is often grossly underrated. What hurt the Boss 429 was that the weight made the handling subpar. So Ford created the BOSS 429 LID by shifting the engine towards the rear. Despite it proving itself, the gains from doing so did not make financial sense. The 429 LID remained the only one of its kind.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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