Mustang by Design: Gale Halderman and the Creation of Ford's Iconic Pony Car
Look back at the original Ford Mustang’s inception, design, development, and production from the perspective of Gale Halderman, an award-winning designer and stylist who was at the epicenter of the action.
Gale Halderman’s initial design sketch formed the basis of the Mustang. He reveals his involvement in the project and offers a unique first-hand account and behind-the-scenes viewpoint. 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.
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. Ford designers and Gale Halderman designed and developed the first fastback
Mustangs to compliment the coupes. The classic Mustang muscle cars to follow, including the GT, Mach 1, and others, are profiled as well.
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.
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. 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.
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