The number of Ford Mustang scale replicas available today is astronomical – yet despite the Mustang’s popularity with toy companies and model manufacturers alike, one Mustang is frequently forgotten: the original 1962 Ford Mustang I concept.
Although Hot Wheels issued a basic 1:64 scale replica in 2010, the 1962 Ford Mustang I concept has rarely been offered as a scale model. Enter Automodello, a scale model company specializing in oddball automotive replicas, including the Phantom Corsair, the Bricklin SV1, the Fitch Phoenix, and the Intermeccanica Italia. The small firm is now producing two cast-resin versions of the Mustang I: a larger 1:24-scale model, and a more attainable 1:43-scale model shown here.
Although the Mustang I concept received minor updates in interior trim and wheel/tire packages throughout its life, Automodello’s scale replica represents the 1962 Mustang I as it currently sits at The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. As such, the model boasts an all-blue interior, a standard-issue 1962 Michigan license plate, and chrome-clad styled steel wheels, which are wrapped in gold-labeled Firestone tires.
The level of detail evident in Automodello’s 1962 Mustang I concept is astounding, especially for a model that measures no more than three-and-a-half inches long. The resin casting exhibits crisp panel lines, and the nose-high stance is true to the real Mustang 1. The off-white paint has a glossy luster and is evenly applied, while the metallic blue triple-stripe is applied crisply along the length of the car. Look closely, and you can find photo-etched galloping horse emblems, along with tiny “FORD” lettering on the nose and tail, and “MUSTANG” letters placed around the cowl. Depending on how hard you squint, you might even make out the Mustang lettering in the blue emblem placed between the bucket seats.
Those seats, like the interior as a whole, are also incredibly detailed. It’s possible to make out the rivets molded into the scalloped seat backs, while the large red, green, and yellow warning lamps in the instrument cluster are also visible. Much like the real Mustang 1, Automodello’s Mustang boasts door handle assemblies cantilevered from the door panels, and a careful peek through the dashboard’s grab handle reveals a tiny red fire extinguisher mounted in the passenger footwell.
For Mustang geeks, Automodello’s homage to the 1962 Mustang I may be perfect. We’d argue it’s close to perfection. Our example arrived with a few small bits of debris stuck to the car’s rear decklid and fascia, which required some careful but firm buffing with a soft cloth to remove. Detail-obsessed “rivet counters” might object to Automodello’s method of painting the seat rivets, which makes the seats appear to have silver – not blue – insert bands, but a more apparent issue on our example is the driver’s side chrome beltline trim, which fails to extend all the way to the base of the roll bar pillar. Minor gripes, perhaps, but given how Automodello’s Mustang I is virtually spot-on in every other regard, these few flaws are subsequently more conspicuous.
Predictably, a high-detail model of an obscure subject isn’t exactly inexpensive. Standard-issue copies of Automodello’s 1:43 1962 Ford Mustang I carry a MSRP of $119.95, and production will be limited to 995 copies. Those seeking something more collectible can pony up an extra $75 for one of the 95 Tribute Edition copies, which are hand-signed by Dan Gurney, who happened to drive the Mustang I at its debut at the 1962 Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Either way, Automodello’s Mustang I is a welcome addition to the plethora of scale Ford Mustang models already on the market.
1962 Ford Mustang I ConceptManufacturer: Automodello (www.automodello.com)
Price as tested: $119.95
Production: 995 examples, plus 50 “Tribute Edition” cars.