James Dinsmore & James Halderman
Without question, the 1964-1/2 Mustang is one of the most important and influential cars in automotive history. When Ford launched the Mustang, it created an automotive revolution. Award-winning designer and stylist Gale Halderman was at the epicenter of the action at Ford, and, in fact, his initial design sketch formed the basis of the new Mustang. He reveals his involvement in the project as well as telling the entire story of the design and development of the Mustang.
Authors and Mustang enthusiasts James Dinsmore and James Halderman go beyond the front doors at Ford into the design center, testing grounds, and Ford facilities to get the real, unvarnished story. Gale Halderman offers a unique behind-the-scenes perspective and firsthand account of the inception, design, development, and production of the original Mustang. With stinging losses from the Edsel fresh in minds at Ford, the Mustang project was an uphill battle from day one. Lee Iacocca and his assembled team had a herculean task to convince Henry Ford II to take a risk on a new concept of automobile, but with the help of Hal Sperlich’s detailed market research, the project received the green light. Henry Ford II made it clear that jobs were on the line, including Iacocca’s, if it failed.
The process of taking a car from sketch to clay model to prototype to preproduction and finally finished model is retraced in insightful detail. During the process, many fascinating experimental cars, such as the Mustang I two-seater, Mustang II prototype, Mustang Allegro, and Shorty, were built. But eventually the Mustang, based on the existing Ford Falcon, received the nod for final production. In a gala event, it was unveiled at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The Mustang received public accolades and critical acclaim, and soon it became a runaway hit. After the initial success, Ford designers and Gale Halderman designed and developed the first fastback Mustangs to complement the coupes. The classic Mustang muscle cars to follow, including the GT, Mach 1, and others, are profiled as well.
The Mustang changed automotive history and ushered in the pony car era as a nimble, powerful, and elegantly styled sports coupe. But it could so easily have stumbled and wound up on the scrap pile of failed new projects. This is the remarkable and dramatic story of how the Mustang came to life, the demanding design and development process, and, ultimately, the triumph of the iconic American car.