As Ford approaches Mustang's 50th anniversary designers have talked about their approach to the opportunity of a lifetime.
By mid-2009, with the substantially updated fifth-generation Ford Mustang in production, Ford designers, engineers and marketers turned their collective attention to what would come next: the design that would mark more than five decades of continuous Mustang development and production.
Moray Callum, Ford Vice President of Global Design, said: "To the people inside Ford, Mustang is considered the heart and soul of the company. We spent a lot of time among the team and with customers discussing the history of Mustang and what it meant to people and concluded that we needed to move forward with a modern design that retained the essence of the brand."
As Ford's performance leader, the basic parameters of Mustang were obvious: rear-wheel drive combined with the sound and performance of a V8 engine to create the visceral experience that Mustang drivers expect.
Part of the appeal of Mustang over the years has been the way it combines style, performance and everyday usability thanks to its four-seat cabin and sizeable trunk. These attributes had to be part of the new design. With these basic parameters, Ford designers established a footprint to work with roughly the same as the fifth generation model.
A typical new car programme kicks off with a design brief that lays out the needs and wants for the upcoming vehicle. However, with 50 years of continuous development and production, every designer knew what to sketch and how a Mustang needs to look.
Several hundred sketches were submitted in early 2010 incorporating many of the primary Mustang DNA cues to varying degrees. The long hood and short deck, bold grille, shark-front nose, fastback profile, side hockey stick contour and rear tri-bar taillamps were reinterpreted in dozens of different ways.
Similarly, sketches of the interior featured the distinctive symmetrical instrument panel with a double brow design and large analogue gauges.
"There are a few key elements that make Mustang a Mustang. As designers, we need to edit those cues deciding which ones to retain, how to interpret them in a modern way and how to combine them to create a car that is immediately identifiable as Mustang," added Callum. "Looking at all of the different Mustangs over the past five decades, those cues have appeared in some years and not in others, but the end result was still a Mustang."
The final production design of the all-new sixth-generation Ford Mustang was revealed to the world in December 2013 and will be available in UK dealerships by the end of 2015.
by: Rebecca Chaplin