Some love affairs just aren’t meant to be, like Liz Taylor and her seven husbands. Then there was Ford’s on-again, off-again romance with two-seat vehicles. They tried to make it work in the 1950s with the T-Bird. But, while the car sold well in its original configuration, by 1958 it had gained a back seat in an effort to widen its market appeal.
The boys from Dearborn tried again with the Mustang I concept vehicle in 1962. The auto won acclaim on the show car circuit, but marketing interests led the company to once again modify the production machine to fit four. The new pony car’s sales went through the roof, and by the mid-60s it appeared that the two-seater idea and Ford were not to be a match.
Never ones to give up easy, the creative forces at Ford gave it one more shot in 1967 with the Mustang Mach II. Led by company design chief Gene Bordinat, the Special Vehicle Unit gave the concept car sleek lines reminiscent of the Shelby Cobra. It also put a 289 ci high-performance engine just behind the two seats, yet wisely kept the long hood/short deck design the Mustang production model was famous for.
The Mach II should have made it to production. It had everything going for it, including great looks, exceptional stability and speed. But, once again, it was not to be. Some have conjectured that part of the reason was that the public linked the mid-engine configuration with the notorious Corvair. This is an unfair comparison, as the vehicle that Ralph Nader killed was actually a rear-engine job. Nonetheless, after a brief moment of car show glory the Mustang-that-almost-made-it was mothballed by the suits. With no Ford two-seater, the Corvette went on to become America’s premier two-seat sports car, a title it retains to this day.