In the mid sixties, the Mustang was Ford's best-seller, and a true symbol of the American automobile of the latter half of the 20th century. It was in itself the incarnation of the baby-boomer generation and their search for freedom and speed.
Lee Iacocca became the CEO of Ford in 1960 at only forty years of age. He began by assigning himself the task of launching a new model aimed at the younger generation and their hunger for novelty. Leaving nothing to chance, market research was carried out to define the real desires of potential buyers, and the program got its go-ahead in 1962.
The design teams started work on the first "Mustang 1" prototype that would be presented at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix in October 1962, where it would be driven by Dan Gurney and hit a speed of 120 mph. This was, in effect, a two seater, aluminum-shelled roadster with a rear mounted V4 engine, the diametric opposite of the basic concept, and more suitable as a show-car. In 1963 a second prototype was unveiled, giving a clearer idea of what the eventual production model would look like. The general design of the body work had already been set out by Joe Oros and his design team. The engine was a valiant V8 289 ci HP with 271 hp, mounted in the classic forward longitudinal position. The design brief had thus been fulfilled, since it could now seat four people.
To be continued...