As the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary approaches, the automaker continues to release historical data about the original pony car. New concept sketches and images of clay models showing the path from the original 1963 Mustang 1 Concept to the production model available in April, 1964 are the latest pieces released.
Not only did the Mustang go through many designs, but also many names including Avventura, Allegro, Avanti, Cougar, and Torino. A Thunderbird-inspired design was among the first sketches, and the Avanti hatchback featured rear-facing seats. Although the concepts had different details, each one featured a long hood and short deck.
Gale Halderman’s sketch was chosen after a design competition in 1962, and was turned into a clay model two weeks later and eventually formed the basis of the production car. Initially, the car was dubbed Cougar and had a right-facing cat in the grille. Each side of the clay model had different side scoops, while the right side had a shorter door. Over time, different side scoops and wheel arch shapes were tried on the clay and fiberglass models.
While hardtop and convertible models were initially approved for production, several fastback designs were proposed. Halderman designed a roofline that went all the way to the back of the car, while his boss Joe Oros preferred a small rear deck. The 1965 Mustang fastback followed Oros’ design, while the 1967 Mustang fastback adopted Halderman’s roofline. Like the original Mustang 1 Concept, sketches of a two-door variant were also made.
Other Mustang sketches and concepts featured a rear split window, an extended nose and tail, and cut-down roof, which eventually became the Mustang II Concept that was shown at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in October, 1963.
Although many of the original design elements – and names – didn’t make it to the 1965 Mustang production cars, some of them showed up on later first-generation Mustangs and on other Ford and Mercury products.
Check out the images below of the proposed Mustang designs and watch the video about the original Mustang 1 Concept.