Home » A Dad And Daughter Turned A 1968 Ford Mustang Into A Pickup And It’s The Coolest Parts Hauler

A Dad And Daughter Turned A 1968 Ford Mustang Into A Pickup And It’s The Coolest Parts Hauler

Mustang Pickup Conversion Tys
ADVERTISEMENT

The Ford Mustang has been one of America’s pony car darlings since its attention-grabbing launch in 1964. Since then, the Mustang has lived many lives from a great collector car to a drag strip racer to a quick SUV. One thing the Mustang hasn’t been is a pickup, but one dealership sought to change that. Just a handful of Mustangs were turned into “Mustero” pickups and few survive today. That didn’t stop a father and daughter team from creating their own Mustero replica, turning Ford’s fabled pony car into the coolest parts hauler. Even better is the fact that this is a classic you might be able to afford.

It’s believed that somewhere around 50 original Musteros were built with Ford’s blessing. Of that lot, it’s not exactly known where all of them are today. Some were believed to have been exported and the number of Mustero survivors out there varies wildly depending on who you ask. The number of Musteros out there has been guessed to be as low as 4 and as high as 12, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think there could be more sitting in barns and garages.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

One thing is for certain, an original Mustero is a rare car, and those who sell them want tons of money even for ones that look like they’ve been at the bottom of a lake. How do you get around that? Build it yourself, of course! And that’s exactly what one dad and his daughter did.

S L1600 (65)
eBay Seller

You may want to know what’s the point of cutting up a classic Mustang to turn it into a ute. The idea is that while something like the Ford Ranchero was cool, turning a sporty Mustang into a pickup would be even cooler. So a dealership set out to make that happen.

Turning A Legend Into A Pickup

It’s also important to know the context here. The Ford Mustang became a household name practically overnight. Sure, the Ranchero had already been in production since late 1956, but it didn’t have the stardom or the allure of the Mustang. Ford calls the original Mustang the “perfect car at the perfect time”:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Baby Boom generation was coming of age and more people were attending college than ever before. Ford market research had consistently shown that college educated consumers buy cars at a phenomenally higher rate. For example, in 1962, 46% of new car purchases were made by people with some level of college, despite the fact they only made up 18% of the total population. Additionally, more US families were looking to add a second car to their garage. The number of families owning two or more cars increased from 1 million in 1959 to 13 million by 1963, and was continuing to rise. Research showed that women car owners were one of the segments growing most quickly and that the number of female drivers had increased by 53% between 1956 and 1963. Women typically made the most use of the second car and they were forming decided opinions about what kind of car it should be – small and maneuverable that would handle and park easily. In other words, there was a large, particular, youthful, educated market being created with a special emphasis on woman drivers.

Ford

This youthful market would play a bigger role in purchases and had certain wants, including the option for manual and automatic transmission, bucket seats, and a sporty flair to their cars. Research also indicated that design preferences included the sound of a high-performance engine and the feeling of being close to the road. Our internal documents noted “given the ingredients of youth, education, good pay and a desire for style and sportiness in automobiles, we still had to keep in mind that a large segment of the market we were aiming at was made up of young people who were just getting started in life and had good potential and fancy tastes in durable goods – but relatively little ready cash. An early design objective was to keep the car within the range of those buyers.” So, a low entry level price was deemed critical to the success of the car.

The attention to detail as the car was being planned was exhaustive and comprehensive. Given the youth of the potential market, the Research Department conducted a study on the perception of bucket seats as an aid or hindrance to romance among young people. The study was conducted at colleges in eight cities across the country and “42% of the sample size preferred bucket seats for first dates but the number declined to 15% for couples going steady.”

Ford captured lightning in a bottle when it released the Mustang during the World’s Fair in 1964. The vehicle rolled out to instant critical acclaim and Americans filled dealerships to drive and buy their own Mustang. Ford expected to sell 100,000 Mustangs in its first year, but the vehicle was such an overnight hit that Ford sold 22,000 units on the first day.

The Ranchero hadn’t been nearly as lucky. Ford’s American coupé utility, which was marketed as being more than a car and more than a truck, enjoyed merely modest sales numbers. Ford sold an incredible 681,989 Mustangs by the end of 1965. Yet, the Ranchero sold 508,355 units over the course of 22 years.

Ford

As the story goes, Beverly Hills Ford in Los Angeles felt that there was a gap in Ford’s lineup. Sure, Ford had the Ranchero coupé utility, but it just didn’t have the sporty prowess or the star power of the Mustang. In the mid-1960s, Beverly Hills Ford decided to fill that gap. Multiple sources report that Ford signed off on the project.

California is known for its weird unofficial utes. You may remember the Ford Durango of the 1980s, the rare Futura-based foxbody pickup truck built in California and distributed by a handful of Ford dealerships out there. So, the Mustero is odd, but not unheard of.

National Coach Products

Sadly, the specifics of the Mustero aren’t known, but the conversion of pony car coupe to a pickup was extensive. The roof was shortened and the rear pillars were brought up to line up with the rear edge of the doors. Likewise, the interior had been reconfigured, deleting the rear seat in its entirety and leaving you with two buckets. The roof appears normal from there and tapers off with the rear window.

ADVERTISEMENT

From there, you get a small bed for your cargo. It’s not said if the Mustero received any suspension upgrades to go with the new rear end, but it would appear that most of these trucklets didn’t have a tailgate. Photos suggest that at least one Mustero has a tailgate, but it’s unclear if it was built that way or modified.

B 6
eBay via Bring a Trailer
A 8
eBay via Bring a Trailer

Since these were just modified Mustangs, buyers in theory had access to whatever engines were available. In 1966, the smallest mill was a 200 cubic inch six good for 120 HP while the biggest power plant was a 289 cubic inch V8 rated for 271 HP. That ran with either a three-speed manual, a four-speed manual, or a three-speed automatic. That sounds sporty enough!

It’s said that Beverly Hills Ford sold the Mustero for just one year in 1966 with a $6,500 ($62,659 today) price tag. To put that price into perspective, a regular Mustang stickered for $2,500 ($24,554 today) while a Shelby GT350 was about $4,547 ($44,659 today). There isn’t an official explanation for why somewhere around 50 were made, but I would wager that the price had something to do with it.

This Mustero Tribute

S L1600 (66)
eBay Seller

As I mentioned above, real Musteros are rare and when they do come up for sale, people have asked for up to six figures for them. This 1968 Ford Mustang has been converted into a Mustero ute tribute and it’s a far more affordable $18,000. Even better is the fact that it seems to improve on the original Mustero idea.

This car is currently for sale on eBay and like most cars, it has a story. The seller says he used to run Pats’ Mustang in Florida with his wife in the 1980s. He always wanted a Mustero as a shop parts truck, but found the Mustero so rare that he never found one. Then children came along and he had to put that dream on pause. However, kids offer a whole new opportunity, as the seller describes:

ADVERTISEMENT
S L1600 (67)
eBay Seller

Fifteen years ago, my daughter and I took this tribute Mustero on as a “Father-daughter” bonding project. It had been used on and off over the years (including in her wedding), and has been in the garage 99 percent of the time, but now is the time for it to move this vehicle to have a lucky new owner. I’ve done many Mustang projects over the years; professionally, and as a hobbyist, including having a Mustang in Hot Rod Magazine (August 1979), so rest assured this is not a hack job. The bed metalwork is totally professional, and it is coated with the expensive rubberized bedliner. The hood is the highly desired turn signal type, The vehicle started out as a solid car throughout, and if there is any rust it will be very minor.

S L1600 (69)
eBay Seller

Being a tribute build based on a newer 1968 Mustang, this Mustero looks very different than the original builds. However, the spirit is still there and in one way, I think it does improve on the original concept. The builder didn’t just chop up and move the roof forward. Instead, they also moved the rear window to just behind the seats. That might reduce cab space, but makes for a bigger, more usable bed.

The seller says the vehicle comes with a 7/8″ sway bar and a bunch of new parts including a battery, brake wheel cylinders, a water pump, rear bumper, mirrors, door handles, a heater core, and fluids. Sadly, don’t expect a bunch of muscle here. Power comes from a 200 cubic inch six making 115 HP and is doled out to the rear wheels through a three-speed automatic transmission.

If you love the prospect of hauling with a Mustang, but not doing so particularly quickly, this Mustero tribute can be had for what seems like a reasonable $18,000. Then, fill up that bed with parts and have a great drive home from where it sits in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. I love it. This is a weird build and one that’s surely to turn heads. Certainly, you will not see another ‘Stang like this at your local car show.

Hat tip to John T!

S L1600 (68)
eBay Seller
S L1600 (70)
eBay Seller
S L1600 (72)
eBay Seller
S L1600 (71)
eBay Seller

Popular Stories

ADVERTISEMENT

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
14 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
27 days ago

Perkasie is right own the road from me. Maybe I should go look at it.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
28 days ago

On the one hand I love it. On the other hand, where’s the line for the pitchforks and torches?

Joshua Christian
Joshua Christian
28 days ago

What a neat little thing!

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
28 days ago

Did they add length behind the rear wheels? I can’t tell.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
28 days ago

I’d stick with 6 cylinders and put an EFI 300 straight 6 in there.

10001010
10001010
28 days ago

Any time I see one of these conversions my first thought is “is it cooler than El Coroneto?” (https://bangshift.com/general-news/ebay-find-2/craigslist-find-a-1959-dodge-coronet-camino-is-it-wrong-to-like-this-creation/)

This is a well done and awesome conversion but it’s not quite as sinister looking as El Coroneto. The Mustero looks friendlier though, like it’d help you haul in peaches from the family-friendly farm down the road while El Coroneto looks like it sneaks out under the cover of darkness and terrorizes the local villagers. I guess they each have their own strengths.

Drew
Drew
28 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I like the stepside bed on the El Coroneto. And the fact that it has a tailgate. I think it would win for me. It also looks a lot more piecemeal, which I think is fun.

Both are really cool.

10001010
10001010
28 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I definitely judge all Ute conversions by whether or not they solve the tailgate problem.

10001010
10001010
28 days ago

Exactly! Like why is there a chain handing from the front bumper? Is that from their last attempt to lock up El Coroneto but it broke free anyways? And what’s in that tank in the bed? Is it flammable? caustic? biohazardous? All we know is that it doesn’t contain good news.

I know absolutely nothing about that car or who created it but the photos tell the whole story in my head.

Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
28 days ago

I feel like I’m doing sacrelige by saying this but I really like the tribar “mustang” lights on a truck bed like this???? Torino/Ranchero front with a Mustang rear????

Of course I could also be conditioned by GTA’s license-avoiding mix’n’match cars??

Drew
Drew
28 days ago

It’s really cool, looks well-done, and is priced appropriately! Someone will probably be really pleased with it (and maybe even more pleased if they drop a different engine into it). Really cool project.

I’d rather just have a Ranchero, but it’s pretty neat and looks great.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
28 days ago

This looks like a bad idea executed well. However, since it allowed him to spend more time with his daughter, it is brilliant idea.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
28 days ago

Bad idea executed well… I agree with that sentiment.

14
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x