Ford Authority

Original Design Proposals Reveal 1965 Ford Mustang Could Have Looked Very Different

Today, without a doubt, we reflect on the 1965 Ford Mustang and consider it one of the most iconic cars ever built. And we can’t imagine it looking any different than it does. The car’s design just connected with people from day one, and that love affair has not wavered since then. But Ford considered a number of design proposals for the original Mustang before landing on the one that ultimately made it to production.

1965 Ford Mustang Lincoln-Mercury Design Proposal 2 With Optional Trim

The head of Ford’s archives, Ted Ryan, recently shared photos of those design proposals for the original Mustang on Twitter. And needless to say, they’re incredibly fascinating to look at, making us wonder, “what if?” The date-stamped pictures were actually taken on August 19th, 1962, and came from all three of Ford’s design arms – the Advanced Studio, Lincoln-Mercury Studio and Ford Studio. Designers were given a mere one month to come up with their ideas and submit them to The Blue Oval.

This time crunch was necessary given the fact that Ford wanted to get its new “youth-oriented” car to market in just two years. Ultimately, eight different design proposals were created – five from the Advanced Studio, two from Lincoln-Mercury, and one from Ford designers. And the designs themselves were, well, quite different in nature, as you’d expect.

1965 Ford Mustang Lincoln-Mercury Studios Design Proposal 2

Advanced Studio’s five proposals alone were quite varied, from one that looks a lot like the Mustang 1 Concept to more conservative designs that mimic some aspects of the Falcon and Thunderbird. Lincoln-Mercury came up with a wild looking fastback and a more subdued car with subtle tail fins. But it was Ford’s singular design that ultimately won out and wound up becoming the iconic 1965 Ford Mustang.

1965 Ford Mustang Advanced Studios Design Proposal 4

Clearly, Ford made the right decision. But as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. We can’t imagine living in a world today where the 1965 Ford Mustang looked any different than it does, but it’s certainly fun to also pretend that we’re living in a parallel universe where another one of these designs won over Ford’s decision makers.

1965 Ford Mustang Advanced Studios Design Proposal 5

To see more cool vintage photos and stories like these, be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Mark L Bedel

    Very interesting retrospect! I’ve seen some of these in other publications, but must admit not ever seeing the fastback concept.

  2. Ford Fan

    I wouldn’t like that fastback. the notchback looks a lot cooler.

  3. Roy Chiles

    Wow,Am glad it came as it looks after seeing these designs

  4. George S

    Interesting that the other designs that were not chosen seem to have hints from European sport cars. I see BMW and Volvo in the others and most have spoke hub caps to emulate European spoke wheels. The one of near likeness to the final design shows slightly oval or rectangular headlights. That would have been completely new but in those days only round seal beams were DOT approved. I think the first seal beam rectangular shape was on the late 1970’s Cadillac.

  5. Christopher D Hoffpauir

    I see hints of later models, especially the ’63 Thunderbird.


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