What Is The 1962 Mustang Concept Car?

What Is The 1962 Mustang Concept Car?

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle

While the vehicle we’ve come to know as the Ford Mustang made its official debut at the New York World’s Fair in April of 1964, the original concept that ultimately became the Mustang was born much earlier. Looking for a way to tap into the huge population of Baby Boomer teenagers that were reaching driving age in the early 1960s, Ford set out to design a sporty, exciting vehicle that would appeal to this burgeoning market. Ford’s initial effort became known as the 1962 Mustang concept car.

The Birth of the Mustang I

1962 Mustang Concept Car

Lee Iacocca, the man who would later become famous for spearheading the resurrection of Chrysler in the 1980s, served as the general manager of the Ford Division of the Ford Motor Company in the early 1960s. Iacocca was tasked with creating a concept car that would capture the imagination of America’s youth. Leading a committee of Ford managers known as the Fairlane Group, Iacocca went to work designing a vehicle that combined sporty styling, superior performance and an affordable price.

Tireless Efforts Led to a Variety of Design Concepts

In order to stimulate the creative process, Iacocca and a Ford VP named Gary Bordinant, who also served as Ford’s director of styling, decided to stage a competition in the summer of 1962 to challenge the designers to come up with an acceptable concept. The tireless efforts of the design team eventually led to a total of seven clay models being produced. The winning version featured a racecar-type design that was far different than the Mustang that eventually hit the streets in 1964. A number of names were considered for the original car, including Special Falcon, Cougar and T-Bird II before Ford finally settled on the Mustang I.

The Unveiling of the Mustang I

The 1962 Mustang concept car made its debut on October 7, 1962, at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York. The new vehicle had limited appeal to the general public, leading to the introduction of a redesigned concept car a year later. Ford continued to tweak the design until it arrived at the model that became known as the 1964.5.

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