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Secrets Of The Mustang


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Secrets of the Ford Mustang

By Rob Sass

Published April 26, 2012
  • 64stang660.jpg

    1964 1/2 Ford Mustang (Ford)

The Ford Mustangexternal-link.png is an April baby, debuting at the New York World’s Fair in April 1964. It’s become one of America’s best-loved automotive nameplates. But there are a few things about the legendary Mustang that most people don’t know. Here are five of them:

  1. Ford had used the Mustang name before on a car: The Mustang I of 1962 was a mid-engine concept car with a strange little V-4 engine. It shared almost nothing with the car that eventually became famous other than the soon-to-be famous name.
  2. Ford couldn't call it the Mustang in Germany: A scooter company of all things held the rights to the name “Mustang” in Germany and Ford declined to purchase the rights for a reputedly paltry $10,000, Thus, the Mustang was known as the Ford T5 in Germany.
  3. It was named after a WWII fighter plane, not a wild horse: It is generally believed that the Mustang acquired its name from the wild unbroken North American horse known as a Mustang. In truth, the car was named for the famous air war-winning North American P-51 Mustang, the WWII mount of famed test pilot and ace Chuck Yeager.
  4. Toyota copied it: At the 1971 Tokyo Motor Show, more than a few eyebrows were raised when Toyota raised the curtain on its new Celica liftback. Several observers commented that it was essentially a 2/3 scale replica of the 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback.
  5. Ford nearly killed it off: In the late 1980s, Ford toyed with the notion of killing off the Mustang in favor of the Mazda-based sporty car the Ford Probe. Mustang fans became incensed at the notion of a Japanese-engineered front wheel-drive car with no V-8 option replacing their beloved Mustang. Fortunately for all of us who worship the 2005 redesign of the Mustang and all of the wonderful variants that it has spawned, it didn’t happen.
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Thought you might find this interesting as to the name "Mustang" and where it came from...


Executive stylist John Najjar Ferzely, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name.[12]John Najjar Ferzely co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I in 1961, working jointly with fellow Ford stylist Philip T. Clark.[13] The Mustang I made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York on October 7, 1962, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration using the second "race" prototype. His lap times were only slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars.

An alternative view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager, first suggested the Mustang name. Eggert, a breeder of quarterhorses, received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960. Later, the book's title gave him the idea of adding the "Mustang" name for Ford's new concept car. The designer preferred Cougar or Torino (and an advertising campaign using the Torino name was actually prepared), while Henry Ford II wanted T-bird II.[14] As the person responsible for Ford's research on potential names, Eggert added "Mustang" to the list to be tested by focus groups; “Mustang,” by a wide margin, came out on top under the heading: "Suitability as Name for the Special Car."[15][16] The name could not be used in Germany,[17] however, because it was owned by Krupp, which had manufactured trucks between 1951 and 1964 with the name Mustang. Ford refused to buy the name for about US$10,000 from Krupp at the time. Kreidler, a manufacturer of mopeds, also used the name, so Mustang was sold in Germany as the "T-5" until December 1978.

Mustangs grew larger and heavier with each model year until, in response to the 1971–1973 models, Ford returned the car to its original size and concept for 1974. It has since seen several platform generations and designs. Although some other pony cars have seen a revival, the Mustang is the only original pony car to remain in uninterrupted production over five decades of development and revision.[18]

The first Mustang was sold to a 22 year old teacher, Gail Wise. According to the Yahoo.com news article, "she went to Johnson Ford in Chicago. After a tour of the showroom turned up nothing of interest, the salesman said “I’ve got something in the back that's really new" — a light blue Mustang convertible, fully loaded with a 260 V-8 and a power top." It was sold on April 15, 1964

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It is generally agreed the original 64 1/2 Mustang was named after the P-51 fighter plane from WW II. But the P-51 was named after the American Mustang horse so it follows that even if named for the fighter plane it was derived from the Mustang horse. And the early Mustangs displayed the pony/horse emblem. So directly, or indirectly, the Mustang is named after the horse.

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