Ford Mustang

Rare ponies in the top paddock

FORD Australia’s most colourful managing director, American Bill Bourke, was always prepared to think outside the square. That’s why, when it came to launching the 1966 XR Falcon, Bourke thought it would be a good idea to import a batch of 400 Mustangs and convert them to right-hand drive for local sale.

Bourke’s idea was to have a Mustang in every Ford dealership, sitting next to an XR Falcon and a sign that read: “The Mustangbred Falcon”. Ironically, the Mustang was originally based on the Falcon platform, making it a Falcon-bred Mustang.

An initial batch of 48 Mustangs arrived and were converted to right-hand drive at Ford Australia’s Homebush factory in Sydney. These 1965 models were snapped up by keen dealers. The company then brought in 113 of the 1966 models for conversion.

The total number was well short of the initial plan because some dealers were not confident they could sell the car.

All the local Mustangs were equipped with the 289 cubic-inch (4.7-litre) V8, wore Australian ID plates and had small metal decals mounted to the door sills that identified them as Australian.

Ford Australia didn’t convert any other Mustangs itself, but it commissioned Ford Performance Vehicles (which it owned in partnership with Prodrive) to convert imported Mustangs to right-hook in 2001 and 2002. Only 377 were produced.

The new-generation Mustang due here late this year will be designed and built as a factory RHD model in the US.

AUSSIE PRIDE

These very rare converted Mustangs are worth a mint

IT’S A SHAME

Ford Australia only converted 161 of the classic machines