Automotive Oddities: The Magic Skyway Mustang

magic skyway mustang

This pre-production Mustang was a major attraction at the 1964 World’s Fair

Lee Iococca left no marketing stone unturned when the Ford Mustang was launched in 1964.  It was a happy coincidence, perhaps, that the New York World’s Fair would be opening about the same time as the Mustang’s introduction, giving Iococca the perfect venue to debut the car but he was too much a showman to just leave it at that.

The Mustang would not only be on display throughout the two-season run of the fair but visitors would even get a chance to ride in one on the Ford pavilion’s Magic Skyway.

magic skyway mustang

The Magic Skyway Mustang is mostly original other than a respray.

Apparently taking a cue from General Motors Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair, Ford’s exhibit at the 1964 fair included an attraction called the Magic Skyway, a Disney-designed trip through earth’s history that show-goers could take while seated in a fleet of Ford convertibles, including the all-new Mustang.  For the first season of the fair (April through October of 1964) twelve preproduction Mustangs were modified by Disney “imagineers” for use on the Magic Skyway’s conveyor by welding brackets to various points on the undercarriages.

magic skyway mustang

The “O5C” date code flags this car as a pre-production unit.

Ford built somewhere between 150-180 preproduction Mustangs during January and February of 1964, all of them bearing a date code of “O5C”.  According to information displayed with this car most of those were either export units or used by Ford for publicity or crash testing.  Serial numbers 100003 through 100014 were reserved for duty on the Magic Skyway and sold to the public after the conclusion of the fair.

magic skyway mustang

An estimated 40,000 butts sat on these seats during the 1964 World’s Fair.

Dr. John Mansell arranged for this car to be purchased by a C. O. McCartney in June of 1965 and Mansell bought it from McCartney in December of that same year.  He has owned it ever since and drove it regularly until 1978.  Other than a respray, it is in original, unrestored condition and portions of the brackets for the Magic Skyway conveyor system are still attached to the underside.

Only two other Magic Skyway Mustangs are known to exist, one from the 1964 season and one from the 1965 season of the World’s Fair.  This one was on display in the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Mustang’s 50th anniversary celebration in April.

Magic Skyway video

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