The Lost (Italian) Bertone Mustang – Where Is It Now?
Oh, it’s out there somewhere that’s what I’m told. When I talked about it on a Mustang forum, some forumite told the others on the forum something to the effect of: “someone has it but doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Hey, until such time as I see it rolled out into the noon-day sun, I still say it’s lost. I speak of the 1965 Mustang bodied by Bertone in Italy and designed by no less than Giorgetto Giugiaro then a young designer still on his way up, and years before going out on his own to start Ital Design.
It had a lot of innovative features such as a full width grille with hidden headlamps, a very airy glass filled roofline, and a totally redesigned interior. The exterior was a light turquoise blue, more green than blue and the interior a tan/orange what the Italians call “goosebeak.” The interior looks more Ferrari-ish or Maserati-ish than anything from America. Though I did recognize the shift lever.
The exterior had the same side vents as featured on several Giugiaro designs at the time, including a couple of Maseratis.
The car would be more favorably remembered if that damned Mazda company didn’t use the nose treatment on the RX-2 Capella and the side roofline on the RX-4. Of course we can blame Bertone who, semi-secretly, was a design source for Toyo Kogyo (Mazda). I say semi-secretly because Nuccio Bertone had pledged to fellow Italians he wouldn’t help the Japanese because they knew the Japanese could bury them in small car output (which they did).
The one-off Mustang was done for an important and influential American, L. Scott Bailey, founder and publisher of Automobile Quarterly magazine.
I saw the car once, parked outside “the glass house”, the nickname for the Ford World HQ in Dearborn. It made its U.S. debut at the NY Auto Show in 1965.
Sometime before his death I saw an ad by Mr. Bailey asking for the whereabouts of the car. I thought this was odd. If he sold it, then he should know it’s in the hands of a legit owner. Maybe he wanted to buy it back for old time’s sake. On the other hand, I recall reading somewhere that it was stolen in Monte Carlo or sold to a Greek ship captain. Take your choice on those rumors.
I think, if it was indeed stolen, it would be foolhardy to show up in it or it could be confiscated by the owner who owned it at the time it was stolen. But even the ownership trail might be murky, maybe Ford still owned the car when ownership was attributed to Bailey as often happens when celebrities have a car but then it turns out they were only “loaned” the car by an automaker. And car companies do strange things to cars bodied outside the country. Sometimes they would rather cut them up rather than pay customs duties or have them privately owned and used for purposes which could incur liability upon them.
And so it is, it’s on my list of ‘Cars to look for’ but I don’t have much hope of finding it. So, at the risk of letting other people know it might be on the loose, I’m putting out the word. This is a Mustang that, if properly restored, could grace the lawn at Pebble Beach. And maybe take a million plus at a Monterey auction. But this isn’t about money. It’s about lost treasure–one man’s dream translated into metal. Is it lost forever…or gathering dust in a barn? Inquiring minds want to know….
© 2012, Wallace Wyss. All rights reserved.