November '15

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58 The Shop November 2015 and the men held weekly meetings at the nearby Fairlane Inn Hotel in Dearborn to brainstorm. One idea they rejected was a produc- tion version of a one-off two-seater design concept called Mustang I that was created using Cardinal V-4 running gear (set up as a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive racing- type sports car). Iacocca was a fan of high-performance, plus he wanted the company to get involved in racing. However, he knew that a pur- pose-built competition-type car would not sell well because of a limited market. Selling big numbers was the absolute priority. The committee agreed the car they were planning would need to cost less than $2,500 and weigh no more than 2,500 pounds, not exceed 180 inches in overall length, feature a standard six-cylinder engine and have a V-8 engine available optionally. It also would have a low-profile appear- ance; feature a long-hood, short-deck body layout design; and it would be a four-seater. The goal was a sporty, youth-oriented car that would also have broad appeal. A description stated that it had to be "demure enough for church-going, racy enough for the dragstrip, and modish enough for the country club." Those words were given to Ford's Design Staff to work with, along with a clean sheet of paper. Late in September of 1962, the green light was given to the committee and the target date for completion was March 9, 1964, for "job #1," which would be a com- plete, fully tested, running car. That was 18 months down the road—a relatively short development timeframe, so they had to work rather swiftly to get it done Engineers and designers were able to keep development costs down by incorporating components (engines, transmissions, dif- ferentials, chassis parts, etc.) from existing standard production cars, mostly Falcon and Fairlane models. Of course, the trick was to give the car its own unique identity so to not appear on the showroom as some- thing that looked like a re-bodied Falcon. Legend has it that it took Iacocca some five different presentations to Henry Ford II to get warmed up to the car, and once he signed off on the program it got full funding, which was around $75 million, which wasn't a lot of money for launching a new model at the time. "We did the car on the cheap," recalled Donald Frey, product planning chief of the Mustang at the time and an original member of the Fairlane Committee, "and it was a 'happy' car—easy to develop and build—one of those once-in-a-lifetime things where everything went together right from the first time in spite of the short gestation period." Meet the Mustang By March 9, 1964, the first Mustangs began rolling off the assembly lines. The arrangement with the production depart- ment was to build some 8,160 cars, so on release date (April 17, 1964) every Ford dealer in the country would have at least one Mustang to show buyers. Close to 70 million people attended the "coming out party" that company officials This shot is from May 1969 at Ed Martin Ford in Indianapolis. A brand-new GT500 was about to go out for a test drive on Interstate 465 to see how that 428 Cobra Jet performed. C E L E B r A T I n g T H E Ford Mustang performance By the time 1981 came around, road race Mustangs looked quite a bit different than their production counterparts. This Team Miller car was campaigned by Klaus Ludwig in the IMSA Camel GT series with a 560-hp Zapspeed-prepped 1.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine.

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