‘It’s just beautiful’: Texas Man Wins One-of-a-Kind Mustang Dark Horse Convertible in JDRF Sweepstakes

Mar 11, 2024

A West Texas Mustang enthusiast is the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Mustang Dark Horse after winning the vehicle in a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) sweepstakes. Stephen Hardin visited World Headquarters recently to see the vehicle before it was shipped home to a local dealer. 

“It’s gorgeous,” said Hardin, a restaurant owner who also has a 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. “They sent me a rendering of what it was going to look like ... and the paint is just gorgeous the way it shines. It’s just beautiful.”

Hardin, of Pecos, Texas, has owned several Mustangs over the years and will be shuffling the lineup in his garage to make room for the new Dark Horse. It was modified by Ford’s partners at Roush and Penske and is the only convertible Mustang Dark Horse in existence. The auction raised more than $350,000 for JDRF, a longtime Ford partner. Several Ford team members volunteered their time to customize the car.

Hardin’s new Mustang Dark Horse, which was donated by Ford, also has unique styling, further differentiating the prize Pony car. The one-of-one 2024 convertible is painted in Oxford White and has custom-painted graphics combined with a Carmine Red interior and Dark Horse Black Alley accents. It also bears unique red accent stripes and badging details. Red Brembo calipers and a convertible rear blade spoiler – an item Ford doesn’t offer with the convertible body – also help the car stand out.

‘The best of everything we do’

“Something like this is the best of everything we do. We make products that people love and can’t live without, and this one is certainly that and one of a kind,” said Jim Baumbick, Vice President, Ford Product Development Operations and Quality, and the Product Development champion for JDRF. “We’re releasing it into the wild and raising $350,000 at the same time. It’s a perfect intersection of what we stand for as a company.”  

Mustang Chief Engineer Laurie Transou said it took about six months for the one-off Mustang to go from concept to reality.

“I love these kinds of projects, because we like to dream about what we could do with Mustang and this gives us a sandbox to play in that space and to see what could be possible,” she said

How Ford supports JDRF

JDRF is a global organization that funds type 1 diabetes research, advocates for related policies and supports those impacted by it.

Former longtime Ford Motor Company board member Edsel B. Ford II has served as the executive champion for Ford’s fundraising for JDRF since the effort began

“Although I was unable to attend the vehicle presentation, I do want to extend my congratulations to Mr. Hardin, as well as my appreciation to the Ford team that volunteered their time and talent to design this incredible vehicle for charity,” said Ford.

Ford has partnered with JDRF since 1983 and expanded its relationship with the organization in 1998 with the creation of the employee-driven Ford Global Action Team. The company has raised more than $80 million for JDRF around the world.  

“Ford comes up with the most amazing vehicles year after year that they allow us to use for a very important cause,” said Gael Sandoval, national director of the Ford Global Action Team for JDRF. “It’s a fantastic group of people who work on our annual sweepstakes. It’s why I say I have the best job in the world – because I get to help good people do good things.”

Ford also supports JDRF through annual research grants, a corporate JDRF Ride Team, and corporate and sponsored JDRF One Walk teams.