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Ford Mustero. The Mustang-based utility coupe devised in 1966

Devised in 1966 by a Ford dealership in California, the Mustero is a Coupe Utility that mixes the type of body shown on the Ranchero with the sporty base of the Mustang. Only fifty were manufactured and today it is speculated that four are preserved. True collector's pieces that represent one of the most curious models in the history of a type of car that is so unknown in Europe as it is widespread in the Midwest of the United States.

Analyzing a car is like examining an archaeological piece. In this way, any seasoned observer could reconstruct many characteristics of the society that designed it. Something that is seen in many cases. For instance, if we study a Kei car we can easily argue how the Japanese population grew exponentially after World War II. Being embedded in macrocities surrounded by mountains and little space available. For this reason, urban microcars germinated in that archipelago and not in the United States. In fact, just the opposite happened in America.

A deductible fact from your huge cars. Which tell us about cities installed in open spaces with increasingly expansive residential areas. Geographical characteristic to which an economy is added with ease to obtain mining resources, not skimping on the size and displacement of its cars. Two factors that add up to understand the United States as a country where mobility has been designed under the aegis of the Detroit industry. Conceiving almost any trip as a trip in a private vehicle.

Referring to other cases, we could analyze the SEAT 600 or the Simca 1000 to intuit the access to consumption of the new middle classes. And even the Porsche Cayenne as proof that the housing bubble was reaching heights of terminal financial danger. In fact, only comparable to the tacky and excessive of a time full of easy money. The same reason that now underlies the advancement of luxury SUVs in the market of new Chinese millionaires. More samples of how motorsport can be read as archaeologists read each sample of material culture to recreate the societies of the past.

A process that we can easily illustrate with the 1966 Ford Mustero. A hybrid between American sports car and pick-up that represents very well the «utility coupe«. A type of automobile popularized in Australia but which reached its maximum splendor in the agricultural and traditional societies of the North American Midwest.


Mix of commercial and sports vehicle, the "Utility coupe" They represent one of those rare cars for the European market. In fact, its conception is fully linked to countries based on livestock ownership and the religious values ​​of Protestant communities pioneers in enclosing lands seized from indigenous people. Thus the things, according to the rumorology of the engine the "Utility coupe" They were born when an Australian customer wrote to Ford asking for a car "That it serves to go to mass on Sundays and take the pigs to the market on Mondays."

However, these two-door, open cargo space models have been around since the XNUMXs. In fact, in Australia such a variant of the Holden 48-215 was very abundant. A vehicle clearly inspired by the 1937 Terraplane Utility Coupe made in Detroit. Which had echoes in some Chevrolet or Studebaker based variants. However, «Utility coupe»They did not live their moment of splendor until in 1957 Ford launched the Ranchero.

A hybrid between proposals as different as a Thunderbird and a truck. Which in his advertising he wore the typical image of white America based on agrarian property and the farmer on horseback. A versatile model well focused on a rural public limited to the south and center of the country, having its replica only two years later with the appearance of the Chevrolet El Camino.

The 1969 SS Trail

Another of the "Utility coupe" more significant, in production for five generations until 1987 with variants as muscular as the 1969 SS. A range almost always presided over by V8 engines of up to 7 liters of displacement to move about two tons of metal with wheelbases of almost three meters. In sum: power to go straight and no moderation for consumption. All this wrapped in a body that is useful for everyday life on a ranch. The Deep america made automobile.


However, beyond attracting a very determined public, the Ford Ranchero had an unexpected commercial result. Nothing more and nothing less than influencing one of the rarest and strangest versions of the Mustang: the Mustero. As seen from the name itself, This model, created in 1966, starts from mixing the power of Mustangs with the concept of «utility coupe» embodied in the Ranchero. However, although it may seem the result of a careful study of the market by the brand, the Mustero was the result of a Ford dealership in Beverly Hills.

Which is not without attention since cosmopolitan California was not exactly the usual market for these cars for farmers. In any case, del Mustero, 50 units were sold in just one year of production. Made on 289 Mustang 4Ci 7 V8 models, although some later received the 1966 Ci engine. Which lost their C-pillar in the reconversion to incorporate cargo space thanks to a reduced cabin that dispensed with the rear seats. However, despite the striking approach, the Ford Mustero was not successful in sales even with the approval of the brand. Something in which the high price of the transformation intervened, which put the Mustero almost at the height of an AC Cobra 302.

In this way, the fifty units of the Mustero were scattered throughout the United States since the last one was manufactured in 1967. A diaspora to which only four units are believed to have survived now preserved as strange variants of the Mustang. And, as much as this model may seem sporty to us, the truth is that its first series had a wheelbase and ground clearance that made it suitable for certain roads. True pieces for collectors interested in keeping one of those models that can be read like an open book.

Images: Ford / General Motors / Mecum

P.D. To illustrate this article we have used the last unit of the Ford Mustero auctioned. It is the one found in Virginia in its original condition, abandoned on a mountain farm. It was offered by Mecum last january in Kissimmee 2021 lots.

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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