National Museum of the U.S. Air Force welcomes the Ford Mustang X-1 home

For the past decade, the custom-built Ford Mustang X-1 has been touring the country as a promotional prop for the United States Air Force. The X-1, which has an aircraft-style interior, was built in 2009 to help educate young people on various mechanical and technical jobs available in the military. Now that it’s served its time, it’s setting into its reserved spot at its new home, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.

The U.S. Air Force and Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) collaborated back in the day on what is known as Project Supercar. The recruiting campaign (and video series seen below) spawned two different custom cars, the X-1 and the Dodge Challenger-based Vapor Special Operations Supercar. Some member of the Air Force even participated in building the cars.

The X-1, which is based on a fifth-gen Mustang, is named after the first aircraft to break the speed of sound, but it’s not quite as powerful as its namesake. It has a 4.6-liter V8 with three-valve Ford Racing heads, a cold air intake, hot rod cams, long tube headers, and custom Ford Racing tuning. All said, GAS claims it makes 500 horsepower.

Inside, the jet-inspired cockpit has a single center-positioned ejector seat, a short shifter, a flight stick, a complex instrument panel, custom foot pedals, a GPS transponder and a touchscreen display that can show night vision and thermal vision. The matte pearlescent Mustang also has scissor doors and a steering wheel that pops out of the dashboard for added effect.

The X-1 will sit in Kettering Hall in the museum next to the Vapor Challenger and a third custom Air Force vehicle, an Orange County Chopper. Mustang enthusiasts will be happy to know admission to the museum is free, and it’s open seven days a week. 

Watch behind-the-scenes footage of how the car was built in episodes 4-9 of Project: Supercar. (For some reason, episodes 1-3 are not on the Air Force YouTube channel.)