Ford Mustang
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Ford Mustang scaled
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Above & cover: 1965 Ford Mustang


As Ford Mustang has evolved over five decades and six generations, much has changed. Yet certain visual cues that tie the latest model back to the originals continue to recur, just as facial features like the slant of a nose or the shape of the eyes repeat themselves in any family.


In fact, examining six generations of Mustang design heritage is very much like going back through generations of a family album. Children inherit and blend the features of both parents, while also showing threads of continuity. Similarly, each generation of car designers and the era they work in brings new flavors to Mustang while maintaining the nature of the brand.

“All great sports cars are living, breathing machines that reflect both their drivers and their creators,”
said Moray Callum, Ford vice president of global design.
“Like a living organism, they must change and adapt, or go extinct.”

“As one of the few cars that has been in continuous production for 50 years, Mustang has successfully adapted while retaining its essence.”


1. Sketches Concept

A typical new car program kicks off with a design brief that lays out the needs and wants for the upcoming vehicle. However, when it came to sketching the 2015 Mustang, 50 years of continuous development and production made it a bit easier. Each designer knew what to sketch and what Mustang needs to look like. Several hundred sketches were submitted in early 2010 incorporating primary Mustang DNA cues to varying degrees – the long hood/short deck, bold grille, shark-front nose, fastback profile, side hockey-stick contour and tri-bar taillamps were reinterpreted in dozens of ways.

mustang sketch generation
Mustang sketches
Mustang sketches
Mustang sketches
mustang milling

2. Clay Milling & Modeling

Precision, artistry and craftsmanship are an integral part of creating beautiful design. Ford designers use machines as well as hand modeling to develop a car’s surfaces. Clay modelers hand-work the surface to “clean” it to a finished level. As clay prototypes of new vehicles are created, designers take tape to the malleable material to show modelers the lines they want perfected. Clay is the ideal material for vehicle models as it allows the modelers to carve away or add lines and accents. In parallel to clay modeling, digital modelers create a virtual 3D model of the vehicle on a computer screen. The interior is milled and modeled as well.

mustang milling
mustang milling

3.Interior & Ideation Sketches

Ford design generally creates a bandwidth that stretches design across two extremes that would be appropriate for a particular vehicle and brand. For Mustang, the bandwidth was used to investigate how much design could be pushed while still being true to the iconic Mustang. Throughout 2011, hundreds of sketches were narrowed down to a handful of proposals that would be transformed into an initial batch of clay models for evaluation in 3D. In the end, three themes went into the final selection phase in early 2012.

mustang ideation sketches
mustang ideation sketches
mustang ideation sketches

4. Test & Assembly

When you only have five hours to assemble a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible at the Empire State Building, 1,000 feet above Manhattan, practice makes perfect. Watch the crew from DST Industries do it in 35 seconds.

5. Production

Mustang no bkg

Vintage Moodboard

ford times mustang cover
old mustang advert
vintage mustabg brochure_
early Ford Mustang interior neg CN
Ford Mustang convertible neg CN

50 Years of Movie Mustangs

Over the past five decades the Mustang has appeared in hundreds of big-name Hollywood films.

In some cases, it was product placement. In others, it was a matter of the producer, or even one of the starring actors, requesting a Mustang because of its cool factor. For the past 50 years, starting with a James Bond film in 1964, the Mustang has appeared in hundreds of movies as a starring role, and if you include the sometimes just fleeting glimpses in the background the movie list jumps into the thousands.

Movie Timeline

Sep-64 Goldfinger ’65 convertible
May-67 Good Times ’66 custom convertibles
Oct-68 Bullitt ’68 fastback
Dec-71 Diamonds are Forever ’71 Mach 1
Jul-74 Gone in 60 Seconds ’73 “Eleanor” SportsRoof
Jun-88 Bull Durham ’68 Shelby GT 350 convertible
Mar-99 True Crime ’83 convertible
Jun-00 Gone in 60 Seconds ’67 “Eleanor” Shelby GT 500
Aug-01 The Princess Diaries ’66 convertible
Jun-03 Hollywood Homicide ’03 Saleen S351
Jul-04 A Cinderella Story ’65 convertible
Jun-05 War of the Worlds ’66 Shelby GT 350H
Dec-07 I Am Legend ’07 Shelby GT 500
Jan-08 Bucket List ’66 Shelby GT 350
Aug-13 Getaway ’14 Shelby GT 500 Super Snake
Mar-14 Need for Speed ’13 Shelby GT 500

Watch this amazing morphing video to celebrate the 50th anniversary.