With the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang looming closer and closer, Ford has been digging into the archives resurfacing gems such as this, the rarely seen Mustang I concept. Before the first Mustang ever reached the production line, this concept was brought to life by Lee Iacocca and a team of designers in May of 1962. They were looking to bring something unprecedented to the sports car world, something that would appeal to teenagers sick of borrowing grandma’s ride.
Named after the legendary P-51 fighter planes of World War II and the wild horses of the American west, this small and sleek new car looked like it came from a completely different world. While this Mustang was a huge hit at the track and graced the covers of car magazines all over, it still never made it past the concept stage.
Two years later, the first production Mustang rolled off the assembly line looking like a horse of a different color, although it still sported cues from the first pre-production prototype. They kept the Mustang name for the production car as well as the running pony emblem. The turn signals integrated into the front bumper were another small styling cue taken from Ford’s first concept.
Unique designs to the Mustang I include hideaway headlights, a roll bar integrated behind the seats, and a lever that adjusted the steering wheel and pedals since the seats were basically bolted to the frame.
While some may be quick to hate it, remember that you have to start somewhere. Our beloved pony car would never have existed if this concept had never made it to the drawing board.