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Summer 2009
Restomod Magazine

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(flash interactive file; size 97k)


     Mustangs Plus' Custom Made Hardtop Convertible

   At Mustangs Plus, we are always looking for another way to further the Mustang hobby and what better way to do that then to take a Plain Jane coupe and turn it into an exciting, top-down, wind in your hair, highway cruiser? If you said "Not a thing!" then do we have a Cinderella story for you!

   Completed in 1995, and now residing in our on-site showroom, our Retractable started as a 1964 Ragoon Red with Red interior Mustang coupe. We bought this car from an owner who had purchased it in 1969 when it was 5 years old and, other then routine maintenance, did very little to the car. For the past few years, it sat in the garage, seeing around town driving only when the new car was in the shop. It had been bumped and banged over the years and was in need of a total restoration. And that's just what it got!
If you are not familiar with the Retractable Hardtop Kit, let me explain it to you because it is far more than just a kit. It is an option that Ford Motor Company scheduled to be available for the 1967 Mustang. In 1966, Ford assigned designer Ben J. Smith, the designer, engineer and head of the 1957 to 1959 Ford Retractable project, the task of making a retractable hardtop for the Mustang. During the next few months, $250,000.00 was spent to build a prototype. However, when Ben reported that it would not be feasible to motorize the top, as he had designed for the Skyliner years before, Ford cancelled the project and the prototype disappeared, supposedly scrapped or destroyed. However, Ben says he doesn’t remember seeing a scrap order come across his desk. Because of this, he says the car could still exist.

   After Ben retired, he decided to build a retractable Mustang for himself and shortly thereafter, decided to market the kit. When you look at pictures of the outside of the car, you only see half of the kit. The top and the deck lid. The rest of the kit is the engineered pieces which strengthen the uni-body of the Mustang, making it safe to remove the original top. I have driven both Ben's prototype and our finished retractable and the difference in driving a regular coupe verses the retractable is very apparent. The retractables feel more like a heavier car although the actual weight is almost the same. The chassis strength is responsible for this.

   The only drawback to having one of these unique cars is that people glance at it and say "What a beautiful convertible!". You then have to educate them as to what the car is and show them how the top goes up and down. The next thing you know, you have a group of people standing around asking questions and checking out the car! It’s the Ultimate Restomod Convertible!!
  



SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING:

Ben J. Smith

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kevin Sittner and all of the staff at

PRECISION AUTO BODY AND PAINT
Lodi, California

 


This is one of the few pictures or the original Retractable Mustang. Ford Motor Company spent $250,000.00 to
build this prototype, only to scrap the project when it
was determined that the top could not be motorized.


And now here's some pictures from our
completed Retractable Project!


 

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