When it comes to the Mustang, there are many things to consider. Whether it’s looks, engine power, or innovation, many different things can make one year more desirable than another.
With that said, some Mustangs double as unicorns in the collector car world. Here are a few of them:
1965 Shelby GT350R
The GT350R isn’t as fast as a Ferrari from the same era, but it is still impressive. It combines Shelby’s racing know-how with Ford’s muscle car technology. This Mustang was a racecar before it even made its way to the street, with a 4.2-liter V-8 engine bored 0.030 over for more horsepower. This was enough to propel the Mustang to a top speed of 184 mph.
It was the first GT350R to enter a race and win, too. This model, chassis number 5R002, made its official debut in a SCCA event at Green Valley Raceway in Smithfield, Texas. It was driven by Shelby American’s chief test driver, Ken Miles, who you may remember as the guy played by Christian Bale in the 2019 film Ford v Ferrari.
Miles ran 5R002 in three short events that year, winning one and finishing second in the other two. The next year, it would be turned over to an engineer based at the Ford Performance Division in Dearborn, Michigan, who used it for testing and to race in Mexico. By 1970, it was repainted in gray primer and left outside to rot.
Fortunately, the GT350R’s history was preserved when it was bought in 1972 by a collector named John Hoon. The car was restored in the late 1970s and went on to win numerous races, including the SCCA National Championship in 1975. In 1980, it was resprayed in the iconic Wimbledon White and Guardsman Blue Le Mans stripes that make it so famous today.
The Mustang is a great choice for track days, even today. It is agile, finds a surprising amount of grip, and doesn’t eat up rear tires or front brakes like some brutish cars can. Unlike some of the models on this list, it also doesn’t cost a fortune.
Originally designed for a 7-Up giveaway promotion, these limited-edition Mustang convertibles are a collector’s dream. They were sold around 4,000 times, and most are found in deep emerald green or white with a white interior and GT turbine wheels. However, you’re unlikely to find a complete, matching set since only about 10 were built.
1967 Shelby GT500
One of the rarest Mustang models ever built is the ’67 Shelby GT500, which has become a pop culture icon thanks to its role in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie. It’s also a powerhouse that’s inspiring car collectors and racers to take notice of the Mustang.
The 1967 Shelby GT500 started life as a Ford Police Interceptor sedan before being sent to the Shelby factory in Venice, California, where it was converted to racing specs. Shelby added a dual-quad 428 Cobra Jet engine, a C6 three-speed automatic transmission, a special competition suspension, and various other upgrades to make the GT500 awe-inspiring on the track as it was fast on the street.
While Shelby was able to win races in this car, it was the pop culture factor that helped it rise to fame. Steve McQueen drove this car in the 1968 film Bullitt, and its popularity led to people wanting a model like it for themselves. The fact that it’s an incredible machine didn’t hurt either.
This Shelby GT500 Super Snake went on to win many more races before it was retired in 1970 when the Mustang was redesigned, and the GT500 nameplate was dropped. This one-of-a-kind model is considered the most valuable Mustang ever built. It last sold at auction in 2013 for a staggering $1.3 million.
In addition to the 1967 Shelby GT500, there are a number of other Mustangs from this period that are incredibly collectible. A few examples include the 1979 Mustang Indy 500 Pace Car and the 1965 Shelby GT350R that was driven by Charlie Kemp during his racing career.
Even though the Ford Mustang has been in production for over 50 years, it remains a popular choice among buyers of all ages and price ranges. It’s easy to see why when you consider that the Mustang is a great-looking, comfortable, and reliable vehicle with a wide variety of models to choose from. It’s also easy to find used Mustangs that are well-maintained and in excellent condition, which makes them a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable classic muscle car.
1980 SVP M81 McLaren Mustang
In 1980, the Mustang was no longer a cheap, economy car sharing its chassis with other Ford models. It was now a full-sized coupe with a unique rear-wheel drive layout. It was facing increased competition from the Chevy Camaro, the new Ford Taurus, and the Dodge Charger. The Mustang needed a major shot in the arm. It was time for a special edition model.
A partnership was formed between Ford and McLaren, which had only recently emerged as a high-performance racing team. The plan was to build a Mustang prototype that featured both McLaren-designed and Ford-engineered components. The goal was to produce a car that could give the Chevrolet Corvette a run for its money in SCCA racing. Initially, the plan was to produce 250 examples. That number was soon trimmed to just 10 cars, with seven of them being finished in Bittersweet Orange (similar to the famous Papaya Orange of McLaren’s cars).
This Mustang prototype is one of the rarest production Mustangs ever built, and it’s incredibly cool as well. It features a McLaren-designed front spoiler and a unique 18-gallon fuel tank with its filler neck passing through the center of the rear deck lid. In addition, the gas door is held by a piano hinge. This unique feature, which didn’t make it to the final production M81, was designed to enhance airflow and improve engine cooling.
The M81 Mustang also has a unique front bumper cover. The design was the result of extensive wind-tunnel testing, and it was designed to help with aerodynamics and to extract heat. Ford even toured the car around the country to promote the project.
As a bonus, this Mustang also has its own numbered plaque. Only a handful of these cars were produced; one was sold at the Mecum auction in 2013 for $1 million. It was later purchased by Hollywood actor, producer, director, and racecar driver Tom Cruise for his collection. This is definitely a car that will appreciate in value. And if you’re lucky enough to find one on the market, you should definitely consider buying it.
1990-1993 Limited Edition Convertibles
Although Ford Mustangs have evolved into a full-on sports car, they still have an illustrious past that fans love to celebrate. One of the cars that is loved most is the 1990-1993 Limited Edition Convertibles. It was a fun, one-of-a-kind model that is a great addition to anyone’s collection.
The story behind this Mustang begins with 7-Up’s attempt to do a college basketball giveaway in 1989. The plan was to give away a green and white Mustang convertible to a couple of winners, but that didn’t pan out. However, by chance, Ford had two of these cars completed and decided to make them a special edition Mustang. They were dubbed the 7-Up Edition Mustang because of the 7-Up logos that adorned them. They were a hit, and Ford decided to make more of them the following year.
They were offered in Oxford White and Canary Yellow, and since both had white interiors and wheels, they got the nickname “Triple White Fox Body.” They are a cool Mustang that is well worth checking out.
As time passed, manufacturers started to pay closer attention to efficiency, which led to smaller, weaker vehicle engines. This meant that there was a growing demand for cars to look faster even though they could not actually go any faster. This pushed manufacturers to slap on bigger fenders and call the results a muscle car. Ford took this to heart and devised a great-looking Mustang GT500 that Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullitt. The car is now known as the Eleanor Mustang and has become a pop culture icon. It’s a beautiful car that has been sold for several million dollars at fabulous high-value auctions.
As more people appreciate the Fox Body Mustangs, they become increasingly valuable. While finding a good price on one is hard, they will only continue to rise in value. It’s a great time to invest in one. Just be sure to check out our guide to buying a Mustang for more tips on getting the best deal on a classic Mustang.