The Ford Mustang is one of America’s most beloved muscle cars, but that fame and admiration goes worldwide. Easy to own, cheap to make fast, and blessed with natural, muscular looks, the Mustang is an icon for a reason.
But like any other sports, muscle, or supercar, Mustangs are not immune from being abandoned in buildings, backyards, and darkened garages and warehouses.
The reasons behind abandonment of a classic muscle car can run the gamut from the owner running out of money for the restoration or daily upkeep, to getting too many speeding tickets and losing their driving privileges. Older Mustangs that wear iconic labels like Shelby and Boss 302 are often rescued regardless of condition, while later models are still appreciating to the point that adventurous owners will bring them back from the brink. Let’s take a look at some Mustangs in need of rescuing.
10Abandoned Fox Body In The Weeds
The Fox-body Mustang is perhaps one of the most recognized and popular eras of the Mustang, offering the venerable 5.0L V8 under the hood in both LX and GT trim. The platform responds well to cheap modifications and can be made righteously quick – but not this example, which has been left behind, almost blending in with the vegetation.
9Mustang II Cobra Left At The Track
The second-generation Mustang II is one of the most unloved ‘Stangs ever made, as Ford shifted its focus from building high-performance muscle cars to sporty models that placed an emphasis on fuel economy. Perhaps that’s why this Mustang Cobra II was left abandoned at a racetrack with no owner in sight.
8Junked Mustang GT500 Prototype
Before the words “Shelby Mustang” became a household name in muscle car culture, two prototypes were built – both of them the only notchback bodies graced by the Shelby nameplate. After one of the two prototypes was discovered, restorers set out to find “Little Red”, the missing example. It was found a North Texas field, long since forgotten.
7Mustang GT350H In The Leaves
The most famous rent-a-racer of all time – the Shelby Mustang GT350H – is a prized collector car. However, even collectors items can be discarded, as this example was found rotting in an Ohio backyard. Despite being outside for years, the Mustang was pulled out of the yard intact, and is almost certainly in the process of being restored.
6Classic Mustang Abandoned In Detroit
While most Mustangs end up being polished nightly in a proud owner’s garage, not all collector cars get this kind of treatment. Case in point, this mid-60s Mustang coupe sits forlornly on blocks, covered in snow, somewhere in Detroit’s urban core. While it certainly deserves better than this, it remains a mystery whether this classic Mustang was rescued.
5Mustang Bullitt Stunt Car Found In The Desert
The Mustang featured in the classic Steve McQueen film Bullitt was one of the most sought-after barn finds ever known. Just before the actual movie car was located, the only other stunt vehicle known to be involved in filming was discovered in Mexico. Long thought to have been destroyed, it’s now in the process of being restored.
4Forgotten Ford Mustang GT Limousine
In the 1980s, numerous cars were converted into stretch limousines – from Maseratis to Lincolns to Porsches. Less often seen is a Mustang GT that has been unceremoniously parked in a field after the thrill of driving a stretched version apparently wore off. Hopefully, the VCRs and minibars are still intact inside.
3Mustang Mach 1 Pulled From A Lake
Rivers, lakes, and oceans all contain the carcasses of long-lost cars. Mostly, those vehicles are average at best, dumped as a result of missed car payments or a joyride that ended early. This Mustang Mach 1 was found after many years stuck in the bottom of a river in Oregon, and it’s clearly past the point of being brought back to showroom shape.
2Rare Turbocharged Mustang Barn Find
When the early Fox body Mustangs burst onto the scene, Ford was looking for ways to increase performance without increasing time spent at the gas pump. The answer was to turbocharge the 2.3L four-cylinder – shared with the Pinto – and create an alternative to a gas-guzzling V8. This one has been forgotten in a barn, but is still worthy of rescue.
1Ford Mustang Boss 302 Prototype
Larry Shinoda is known for designing the first Mustang Boss 302, with its iconic graphics and hood scoop. This car may look like a typical Boss, with some key differences: it had a 428 Cobra Jet under the hood and a VIN number that didn’t match up with production Boss models. That’s because it’s Shinoda’s personal prototype, found sleeping in a barn.