Ten Obscure Ford Mustang Facts You May Not Know

July 31, 2018 1:51 pm

The Ford Mustang is an iconic piece of American history. Recognized and esteemed around the world, the Mustang gave birth to the Pony Car, redefined the American automotive industry, and, more recently, has become the world’s best selling sports car. From its 1964 World Fair introduction to the latest 2018 S550, the Mustang has created more history than we know what to do with so we’ve rounded up a list of ten Ford Mustang facts (or alleged facts) you might not have known surrounding the original Pony Car.

1) Mustang v. Corvair

Chevy Corvair Photo by Jeff Kock – www.hemmings.com

The Chevy Corvair is an integral piece of Chevrolet history, selling over 200,000 in each of its first six model years. The car did so well, in fact, that Ford needed an answer to the competition. Enter the Ford Mustang. The sportier 1962 Corvair Monza, really sold well and Ford took notice. Lee Iacocca, champion of the Mustang, made sure the 1962 Mustang concept quickly became reality, with production beginning in 1964 and the car launching to the public on April 17, 1964.

2. Plymouth Barracuda Released First

Chrysler Corporation launched the Plymouth Barracuda 16 days before the Ford Mustang in 1964. Despite its earlier launch, this Pony Car competitor was vastly overshadowed by the Ford Mustang. This is in large part due to the extremely successful marketing tactics that Ford used to promote the Mustang. While Ford marketed the Mustang with a sportier and more youthful image, Chrysler attempted to appeal to a much broader and more general market. The ‘Cuda sold around 23,000 units in 1964 compared to the Mustang’s 126,000 in the same period.

3. Almost Called Cougar

Cougar Badges & Emblems – Photo by Thrillist.com

As Thrillist iterates in their Mustang Archives article, the Mustang was very close to being named the Cougar. So much so, that Ford’s Mustang archives have a lot of these sketches for Ford Cougar badges and emblems. As we now know, the Cougar was eventually brought to life under Ford’s Mercury brand. Cougar isn’t a bad name, but let’s just say we’re happy it became the Mustang!

4. The Mustang Name

There are a number of legends surrounding the decision for choosing “Mustang” as the car’s name. One story suggests that one Ford employee, who was a horse breeder, worked on the team responsible for researching names and added it to the list for focus-group testing despite preferring “Cougar” himself. Another recollection suggests that the name came from Ford executive John Najjar who was a co-designer of the first prototype Mustang. The story says he was a big fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, thus the Mustang name came to be.

5. Design Inspired by Alfa-Romeo

Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS – Photo by Thrillist.com

Thrillist’s’ deep-dive into the Ford Mustang archives revealed a lot about the vehicle’s history, including the alleged design inspiration from Italian design firm Ghia. They designed this one-off Alfa Romeo which features a lot of similarities with what was to become the Ford Mustang. Adding some support to this theory is the fact that Ford ended up buying Ghia in 1970.

6. Mustang…Station Wagon?

Photo By Mustang360

You may have seen it floating around on Instagram or Facebook at some point, rubbed your eyes, and realized you were actually seeing it – a classic Mustang Station Wagon. So what exactly was it that you saw? The photo above shows a 1965 Mustang wagon that was the brainchild of Barney Clark, an executive with Ford’s advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, along with a designer and another car enthusiast. As Mustang360 shares, the trio sent a 1965 Mustang to Intermeccanica, a Turin-based car manufacturer, to bring their wagon to life. There were rumors that they wanted to bring it into production, as well as rumors that Ford itself was planning on producing a Mustang wagon, but neither of those ever came to fruition.

7. ASC McLaren Mustang

Photo by Jeff Koch – www.Hemmings.com

A two-seater Fox Body? A McLaren Mustang? Yes and yes. In its early days, the Mustang was a big hit as a convertible, however, Ford took a 10-year break from producing convertible models. As Matthew Litwin of Hemmings.com explains, Ford was relaunching the convertible Mustang when a Detroit-based customizer approached them along with American Sunroof Company (ASC), pitching the idea of a convertible top Mustang fitted with a tonneau cover. ASC was already working with McLaren on a project, so the end result was the ASC McLaren Mustang. The project had mixed results due to the high cost of the special edition car, as well as discrepancies amongst the entities invovled.

8. The S197 Mustang was the First to Not Share a Platform with Another Ford Vehicle

Leading up to the launch of the S197 Mustang in 2005, the New Edge Mustang was riding on a 1979 Fox Body platform. Despite it being a very successful platform for the Fox Body, SN95, and New Edge Mustangs, it was the turn of the millennium and it was time for something new. After unsuccessfully trying to incorporate Ford and Jaguar’s co-built DEW98 platform, the company’s design team decided the Mustang would be built on a unique, all-new platform for the first time in its history.

9. First-Ever Production Mustang Accidentally Sold

Photo By MustangandFords.com

This one is a bit more commonly known amongst Mustang enthusiasts, but a great story nonetheless. Mustang number one (VIN 5F08F100001) was intended to be toured around Canadian dealerships, but, as Mustang360 states, the car was sold to a savvy negotiator in Newfoundland. Airline pilot Stanley Tucker, convinced a salesman at the St. Johns dealership to sell him the car, which he drove for around 10,000 miles before trading it back to Ford. The car is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

10. Pony Logo Represents Freedom of the Old West

This Mustang legend has circulated for quite some time, but there is no definite conclusion as to its validity. The claim is that the famed pony logo runs from right to left to represent the expansion of the United States into the West. This subtle hint is meant to remind people of the freedom of the Old West, creating an aura of excitement and novelty for the Mustang.