Mustangs Plus' Custom Made
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 1964½ 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 doesnt 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!
Its 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
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!