The first production Ford Mustang hit the streets in 1964. But a full two years earlier, a prototype that never made it to the factory line made an appearance at the 1962 Grand Prix, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration with lap times just slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars. Half a century later, Ford officials are taking another look at the Mustang I concept and asking muscle car fans which design elements they’d like to see in the next generation of ponies.
The Mustang I’s look was radically different from the first production model of the car that originally was named for World War II P51 Mustang fighter jet and proved Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A in 1903. It sported a boxy, wedge-like body with rear-wheel drive powered by a 4-cylinder engine situated behind the driver. The steering wheel and pedal placement was adjustable because the seats weren’t. Bucket seats were essentially part of the frame and didn’t move. A few Mustang I design elements, including turn signals integrated into the bumper, did make the production model.
Now, the Ford suits are looking back to the automaker’s original concept for inspiration in developing the sixth generation of Mustang muscle cars. What do you think, E3 Spark Plugs fans? Which of the Mustang I’s design features would you like to see in the new models? Check out the video for vintage film footage of the car, then post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page. And for an up-close and personal look at the Mustang I, visit the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.