Ford Mustang: white body from 1968
The first-generation Ford Mustang was manufactured by Ford from March 1964 until 1973. The introduction of the Mustang created a new class of automobiles known as the pony cars. The Mustang’s styling, with its long hood and short deck, proved wildly popular and inspired a host of competition.
It was initially introduced on April 17, 1964, as a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale in August 1964. At the time of its introduction, the Mustang, sharing its platform with the Falcon, was slotted into a compact car segment.
With each revision, the Mustang saw an increase in overall dimensions and in engine power. The 1971 model saw a drastic redesign to its predecessors. After an initial surge, sales were steadily declining, as Ford began working on a new generation Mustang. With the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, Ford was prepared, having already designed the smaller Mustang II for the 1974 model year. This new car had no common components with preceding models.
As Lee Iacocca’s assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the Mustang project — supervising the development of the Mustang in a record 18 months from September 1962 to April 1964. — while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager.
Drawing on inspiration from the mid-engined Ford Mustang I concept vehicle, Lee Iacocca ordered development of a new “small car” to vice-president of design at Ford, Eugene Bordinat.
Bordinat tasked Ford’s three design studios (Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and Advanced Design) to create proposals for the new vehicle.
The design teams had been given five goals for the design of the Mustang: It would seat four, have bucket seats and a floor mounted shifter, weigh no more than 2,500 pounds (1,100 kg) and be no more than 180 inches (5 m) in length, sell for less than US$2,500 (equivalent to $23,589 in 2022), and have multiple power, comfort, and luxury options.
The Ford design studio ultimately produced the winning design in the intramural contest, under Project Design Chief Joe Oros and his team of L. David Ash, Gale Halderman, John Foster and George Schumaker. This design was called the Cougar by the design team.