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Early Ford Mustang Design Sketches, Clay Models Give Us A History Lesson

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As we’ve seen in the past, the original Ford Mustang could have looked very different than what it ultimately did. FoMoCo experimented with a number of different designs over the Mustang’s years-long development, some of them much more attractive than others. Now, the head of Ford’s archives, Ted Ryan, has shared a few more early Ford Mustang design sketches and clay models that give us a glimpse at what the iconic pony car could have looked like.

1962 Ford Mustang Design Sketch

The first Ford Mustang design sketch and clay model were created in 1962 when all three of Ford’s design arms – the Advanced Studio, Lincoln-Mercury Studio, and Ford Studio – were given one month to come up with a design for the Mustang.

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.

1963 Ford Mustang Fastback Clay Model

The first clay model (top) was the only submission from Ford Studio, which ultimately won out and wound up becoming the iconic original Mustang. The sketch, on the other hand, looks completely different.

The second clay model and sketch are from 1963 and show that Ford was thinking about applying the Fastback treatment to the Mustang long before its launch, even if one was not available to purchase at that time. The clay model looks fairly close to the production version of the Mustang Fastback, while the design sketch stretches the rear portion of the roof all the way to the rear of the car, like a hatchback.

1963 Ford Mustang Fastback Design Sketch

Ultimately, it’s pretty clear that Ford made the right decision when it came to the original Mustang’s design, even though it was pressing hard to get the car to market as quickly as possible. And in the process, it created something truly special that has easily stood the test of time.

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.

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Written by Brett Foote

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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5 Comments

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  1. What this article fails to mention is that the bottom sketch from 1963 is for the 2-seater Mustang concept that was proposed along side the 2+2 car. Notice how short the wheelbase is in comparison. There exists a surviving, running concept, based on that sketch, that has been hitting the National Mustang shows in the last few years [I have seen it in person].

    Ford ultimately wanted a 2+2 in production, so the above clay model won out.

  2. They also toyed with the idea of a fordor version and a wagon that looked pretty cool. A Ranchero version was also done by some after market firm that i thought was also pretty neat. But Ford really hit it out of the park with the original coupe, convertible and the 2+2. Then Carrol Shelby came along and really stirred up the storm with Gt350 and Gt 350R model. thank you FOMOCO for the first and still the most iconic sports car to come on the American car scene in forever. Have you driven a Mustang lately??

  3. Look closely inside the “corral” in the middle of the grille, and you’ll see a Cougar instead of a horse . According to Gale Halderman, Iacocca made the change at the last minute believing that people like horses much more than cats. As for exactly why the pony is running right to left, many theories abound with no clear reason given.

  4. It’s a great testament to how a well planned, well conceived and well executed idea can create such a long term tremor in the automotive realm…even with half of the normal budget!

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