In short, back in early 1960s Ford President Lee Iacocca saw a gap in the American car market for a stylish, inexpensive sporty four seat coupe that would appeal to the biggest population bubble in history-the baby boomers.
He had no reason to believe they wanted to drive anything like the cars their parents bought. And he was so right. No car has had as much post war impact as the Mustang.
Released for sale on 16th April 1964 it stopped traffic outside of dealerships and sold a mammoth one million in two years.
Despite the fact Mustangs have almost a god like presence today, back in the day they were made just like any other car on fast moving production lines along side of Falcons and Fairlanes by workers who probably wanted to be somewhere else.
Mustangs were meant to be disposable. After all, they were a fashion item. But what a fashion item!! I have not met anyone who does not think the original Mustang looks sensational. It did back then and it still does now.
And yet, getting to the final shape was a struggle for Ford's entire design team. By late July 1962 they had not been able to develop a shape that Iacocca liked and a car which Henry Ford II, fresh from the Edsel debacle, would approve.
With a the crucial capital investment decision deadline looming , Iacocca ordered a "bake off" between a dozen different proposals which had been developed. He set August 16th , 1962 as styling decision day.
Ironically, the winning design, was a very late entry and shaped in just eleven days by Ford's Joe Oros and his team. Legend has it that when Oros was rolling the clay model out into the viewing courtyard at Ford's Detroit headquarters his team was still sticking bits of trim to the back end. It went into production with very few changes.
But what of those other designs? What did they look like? Well, we've searched Ford's vaults and found a few of those early design proposals. We'll leave it up to you to decide, but we think they made the right choice back in August 1962.