The 1965 Ford Mustang 4WD stands as a testament to innovation and ambition in the automotive world. In the late 1950s, Harry Ferguson, the mind behind a groundbreaking four-wheel-drive transmission, pioneered a system with different torque on the front and rear wheels. This revolutionary transmission found its way into a Formula One race car, driven by the legendary Sir Stirling Moss, showcasing its prowess on the track. Following Ferguson's passing in 1959, Harry Ferguson Research Ltd. continued his legacy.
In 1964, Ford took a bold step by manufacturing two Mustangs equipped with the Ferguson Formula One All-Wheel Drive system. Shipped to England, these Mustangs underwent a transformative process that included not only the four-wheel-drive transmission but also the incorporation of anti-lock brakes, a precursor to the ABS system. The Mustangs, including VIN DAC 433C, demonstrated their capabilities in Europe before returning to the United States in 1966.
Despite impressing automotive giants like Ford, Chrysler, GM, and American Motors during comparative tests, the 4WD Mustang never made it to production. While the added cost might have played a role, the success of the Mustang in its existing form likely deterred Ford from introducing a new model. The AWD Mustangs, though not pursued for production, garnered praise for their superior control on slippery surfaces.
In the late 1950s, Harry Ferguson invented a transmission with four-wheel drive for automobiles, featuring different torque on the front and rear wheels. This transmission underwent testing on a prototype, and by 1960, a Formula One race car with this system, driven by Sir Stirling Moss, was winning races. Harry Ferguson's passing in 1959 didn't halt progress, as Harry Ferguson Research Ltd. continued its work.
Our Mustang, manufactured in 1964, was shipped to England, where it received the Ferguson Formula One All-Wheel Drive system. Two Mustangs went to England, with the second used as a baseline for comparison. This marked the first AWD conversion of a standard production car. Our car, VIN DAC 433C, was registered in January 1965 by Harry Ferguson Research Ltd. In addition to the transmission, the Mustang received anti-lock brakes, later known as ABS, adapted from Dunlop Maxaret airplane brakes. Both Mustangs toured Europe and returned to the United States in 1966 for demonstrations to major automakers.
Despite convincing comparative tests, Ford, possibly due to added costs, chose not to put the car into production. As a result, Mustangs continued to slide in the rain and snow. The British Ford Motor Company's report emphasized the outstanding controllability of the four-wheel-drive car, especially in emergencies and for less skillful drivers.
DAC 433C retired in the Ferguson Museum on the Isle of Wight and was later offered for sale. In 1970, Jensen adopted the four-wheel-drive transmission on the Interceptor, while other experiments in England with the Ford Zephyr and Ford Capri did not yield further developments from the Ferguson transmission. The legacy of Harry Ferguson's inventive mind continued with subsequent contemporary automobiles.