Well that didn't take long. In the same week that we found out that Ford archivists found images of a mysterious mid-engine sports car based on the 1966 Ford Mustang, they believe they've found the answer. First reported by Jalopnik, and confirmed to us by Ford Archives and Brand Manager Ted Ryan, the car seems to be a prototype of the 1967 Ford Mach 2 mid-engine concept.
Ryan told us that his reference archivist Jamie Myler was assigned the case, and that Myler suspected it was the Mach 2, despite the Mustang stampings still evident on the sides and the back of the car. He got in touch with Jim Farrell, a man writing a book on the Lincoln Continental, who currently has access to Ford's collection of S-negative photos. These photographs document projects and work at Ford from the 1950s to the 1990s, and while the photos survive, the original index for the photos was destroyed in a flood. Fortunately, Ryan said that as long as they have a date, they can usually identify a vehicle since the photos all have numbers displayed, and the numbers are chronological. The dates for the Mach 2 and this prototype line up closely.
Ryan said Farrell was also able to get in touch with former Ford designers, and one of them, Bud Magaldi wrote Ryan saying that it was indeed the Mach 2. And Magaldi is to be believed because he was working on the project himself. Apparently at the time, it was a secret project being done in the basement of the design studio.
"I am not sure how many people knew about it, as I was in my second year of the training program, and was working overtime on the project doing detail work, lettering, wheel proposals, graphics, etc.," Magaldi said. "The designer on the project was Jerry Morrison, and the studio engineer was Bob Huzzard, I believe it was the VP of Design Gene Bordinait who wanted to do this car."
Magaldi also told Ryan that the Mach 2 body was eventually done in fiberglass, which would explain why we don't see the remnants of the Mustang body on the finished vehicle. He said that the final car actually ran, too. According to period press releases Ryan shared with us, the Mach 2 had some impressive specifications and features. It had independent rear suspension, a five-speed manual transmission, and it weighted just 2,650 pounds. It even had adjustable pedals, since the seats were fixed in place. Though significantly different from a Mustang for many reasons, the front suspension, front disc and rear drum brakes, and the steering all came from a Mustang.
As for the whereabouts of the concept, that's still unknown. The same goes for the later 1970 Mach 2 concept done by a different group of people at Ford. Considering many concept cars end up being scrapped or reused for other projects, there's a distinct chance the cars don't exist anymore.