We know the Ford Mustang as an iconic slice of automotive Americana. The original pony car, a V8-powered masterpiece, the dream wheels of generations, etc etc.
Its always been big and not very clever – after 50 years Ford has only just added independent rear suspension to the latest generation. The first car to wear the Mustang badge, though, was a very different proposition.
This is it, the 1962 Ford Mustang I concept. It is the complete antithesis of the production car that ended up bearing its name.
Ford wanted a small sports car to counter the recently-launched Chevrolet Corvair Monza. Designer Eugene Bordinat applied cutting-edge thinking to the car. It was tiny (under four metres long), mid-engined and was built from aluminium panels riveted to a spaceframe chassis. The seats were fixed with adjustable steering column/pedals and power came from Ford of Europe’s 1.5-litre V4 engine.
First shown at the US Grand in 1962, it toured motor shows for the next two years, before going on permanent display in the Henry Ford Museum. The only elements carried over to the production Mustang were the (fake) side vents and, of course, the name.