See the Mustang that Never Hit the Production Line
JUN
18

More than 50 years ago, a group of designers put pencil to paper with a new kind of sports car in mind. Lee Iacocca wanted something fresh, sporty, and easy on the wallet—something for the emerging market of teenagers who simply wouldn’t settle for their grandma’s Fairlane.

What they created turned a lot of heads, but never made it past the concept stage.

The drawings and early models featured sleek lines, pointed ends and a road-hugging frame. At the time, it looked like a vehicle for a new era (or from another planet).

And what to call it? With the concept’s sleek looks, the name pays homage to both the wild horse of the American west and the legendery P-51 fighter plane of World War II.

Of course, the Mustang went through some major revisions before the pony car we know and love rolled off the assembly line in 1964. But even the most dedicated Mustang fans may not know what the very first Mustang looked like as a concept car. So we pulled some rarely seen pics from the archives to show it off.

Take a peek at the Mustang’s early sketches, pics of the first engineering team, and even interior shots of the prototypes. Then, share your comments below: What features from the Mustang I were your favorites? Do you like the 1964 ½ better? Should we borrow a few of these style elements for the next iteration of the Mustang? Tell us what you think!

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55 COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE
Mikael Forslund Hi ,I am Mike ,living in Sweden Europa.I saw my first Mustang in Germany august 1964 it was a green ht,I was 11 years old and I loved it from the beginning.This prototype is a typikal boys dream from  the 1950.Dont lose the typical Mustang image from 1964 to 68 and the Mustang front.Ouer family has been driving Ford all years ,today I have a 64 ht Mustang and a 09 Shelby 500 KR in work a Transit. 
1 year(s) ago via
Nestor R It's a nice design, but you've gotta be glad it stayed out of production. Ford did right by giving the Mustang a distinct identity, and in turn it's become the best selling sports car in the U.S. to date. Sure it may be a bit big, but it outperforms many smaller sports cars costing far more, and reguardless it's shrinking by 2014. Hopefully Ford will keep the Mustang's identity apparent.
1 year(s) ago via
Wolfgang A great design and note the earliest Mustang emblem on it made by hand from Phil Clark. I wish a few replicas would be made in DHG, competition orange, or blue, white, red to commemorate the origin of the Mustang brand name.
1 year(s) ago via
J. Harley M This concept should have been a Thunderbird. They sure blew it ( but I still like the 56 Bird)!
1 year(s) ago via
Yo the concept is very nice... small and nimble... the newer stangs have gotten too big...
1 year(s) ago via
Gary I would love to see the gauge pod from the concept in a mustang production car! The exhaust integrated high in the bumper would look really good also.
1 year(s) ago via
Christy Servi I like some of the styling of the car, it reminds somewhat of an old vet, but not quite as sleek. I love the retro look and actually bought a 2006 because of it, not sure I like al the new changes. I think the Camaro maybe gaining attention again, I am seeing quite of few more of these. Maybe a cross between this orignal version and the 2006 retro look is in order.
1 year(s) ago via
Anthony I would've bought that.
1 year(s) ago via
Bill G I agree would be a better design to reinstate as the next model of mustang... Or grab some ideas from it atleast
1 year(s) ago via
Bob I think it was too far advanced for it's time, that is why Studebaker folded. Their cars were just too far advanced as well. Today, the Mustang is a great looking car. Glad they never released this one.
1 year(s) ago via
Rob S 2-seater, Rear mounted V4. They built two and introduced the "Mustang I" at Watkins Glen on 7th October 1962 where apparently it's "lap times were only slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars".
1 year(s) ago via
Jimmy W Interesting this would come across today. I just purchased a beautiful Poppy Red '65. Havin' a ball!!
1 year(s) ago via
Mark Heitz What would be awesome is if Ford brought back this Mustang into a limited production. They would look awesome, sell like hotcakes, and they would be very popular. Ford Motor Company should do it as a tribute to Lee, with an embossing on the dashboard and around the rear bumper of the vehicle. Regards,
1 year(s) ago via
Greg T Boy, Ford definitley has come a long way in the design of the Mustang. The original design must have been radical for the time it was introduced. By now, the Mustang has the V-6 and V-8 engine option with great styiing. A definite American mainstay!
1 year(s) ago via
Doug Smith What they didn't tell you is that it was first planned with a V-4 engine in that configuration. Hard to say if such a radical change now would go over. I sure like the looks since they went to the retro style in 05'
1 year(s) ago via
Bem My thought is push the front wheel farther forward, and then produce it JUST as it is, call it a 50 anniversary ed. make only 1000 and YAHOO !
1 year(s) ago via
Kirk O The prototype was ground-breaking for the long-hood/short-deck design language that carried through to production model. As others have pointed out, today the original design could be resurrected with few changes as a sporty two-passenger electric or hybrid.
1 year(s) ago via
Dale E. K I always wished Ford had made a limited production of this car. It had to be a ball to drive. TOO bad the Kit Car makers have overlooked this design
1 year(s) ago via
nick The Mustang came a long way since then.. I like what they ended up with in 1964 1/2..
1 year(s) ago via
Piriya Classic beauty and something unique. I think it is a great concept and the retro concepts of mustangs should be brought back to this era.
1 year(s) ago via
Doug B What about the 1963 Mustang II ? It looks a little more like the 1964 1/2, but also never made it to production. I just happen to have both the 1962 and 1963 in i/64 scale die cast from Hotwheels... ; )
1 year(s) ago via
David L As for the original Mustang concept, I think it's far better looking than all the concept stuff that comes out currently. These days, it's not a car but some kind of spaceship looking oddity, that has no lines, no vision and no practicality. At least the original Mustang concept could have been produced exactly as designed!
1 year(s) ago via
David L YAWN....I get so tired of hearing the same blah blah blah..."the Mustang doesn't have IRS," over and over. Hey, if you want IRS, then you can pay for it. Mustang has a live axle and you know what, I love it. I do like the idea of the next platform being shared with Lincoln, and could even be a future underpinning for a next generation Taurus too.
1 year(s) ago via
Bob E Everything about the Mustang has been copied by other manufacturers, especially the sound. I love the retro look of the newer Mustangs...Keep it up, Ford!!
1 year(s) ago via
Rhonda B it should stay one of a kind
1 year(s) ago via
Dennis B Thank God they didn't build it as it looks great now but it wouldn't have sold as many. The 64 1/2 costs about w/ radio $2100 as my French teacher got one. I worked for Ford in the mid 60's as a mechanic & sure did like these cars & the Fairlanes were fun cars.
1 year(s) ago via
slashfan7964 Haven't seen some of these. By far my favorite car. Always cool to see pre-production concepts.
1 year(s) ago via
Looks like a cross between a Corvette and a corvair. I like the 1960's that the tail lights go in!
1 year(s) ago via
Larry All you complainers fail to see the era this Mustang was developed in. Instead of whining about they didn't do this or they didn't do that, be very, very glad the Ford Motor Company decided to give the MUSTANG Life.
1 year(s) ago via
Michael S These pictures are priceless, I can see why some of this concept was not used, BUT, current Ford engineers could (and should) look closely at these cars and build a "ground up" muscle car WITH independent rear suspension and axles
1 year(s) ago via
Glenn C I saw these photos back in the sixties for the most part. Interesting part of history but Ford needs to work on the 2015 and make sure they do not abandon what we kniw and love to be Mustang while changing to an independent rear suspension. Further, they need to rectify the egregious errors of deleting the manufacture of the Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Town Car. Replacing these are a must because when the new Cars being built n8w by other manufacturers come to fruition Ford will be once again scratching thier heads and their butts. Not everyone wants to move up to apickuo truck to have the comfort and room that was provided by these discontinued name plates. Chevy and Dodge are moving in on fleet sales that were once almost totally dominated by Ford and they have left the fufty and over demographuc out in the cold and for the fust time in forty years I am thinking about a change and this is after buying 33 new Fords.
1 year(s) ago via
james m I like the concept, especially the taillights. Modernize it and lets check it out.
1 year(s) ago via
Joe I started with Ford at the Rouge in 1965. What a fantastic career, and company. I have a very nice 1965 Mustang and most think the styling is still fresh. Ford Forever !
1 year(s) ago via
Charles Carlson I recall seeing this prototype around the streets of Dearborn in the early '60s.....along with the Chrysler Turbine car
1 year(s) ago via
DW Garrett Personally, I'm glad the only four things they kept from the original were the name, the badge, the steering wheel and the front turn lights!!!
1 year(s) ago via
Kyle What happened to the prototypes? It seems like it would actually make a decent car today if it got some modern safety upgrades.
1 year(s) ago via
Dennis T Yes, bring some of the stiling cues to the next Mustang! Love the tail lights, pod instruments, and nobody does hidden headlights anymore!
1 year(s) ago via
Geowhiziker It would have been very cool in 1964 but looks pretty dated for 2014.
1 year(s) ago via
Rick Ugh! Glad that didn't make it into full production!
1 year(s) ago via
98StangGT I have always liked the prototype of the Mustang. It reminds me of Speed Racer's Mach 5.
1 year(s) ago via
Jeff I Ugly in my opinion!
1 year(s) ago via
Wayne Over the years ALL of these pictures have been published at one time or another. The original had independent rear suspension. In the transition to production the IRS was dropped and kept the leaf springs of the Falcon. The worst thing FORD ever did was fail to put IRS in the Mustang and disc brakes all around. Today the design is dated and out of sync with current design trends. What REALLY needs to be done is use the next Mustang platform (RWD) and expand it into a new iteration of the Thunderbird and a companion version in the Lincoln. The expanding the platform to add a true Town Car Replacement.
1 year(s) ago via
I love the studio shots - the clay models and mock ups.
1 year(s) ago via
Francisco Alvarado efinitely! the next generation should be retro mustang as it is an American icon and is recognized worldwide for its forms and features, the car has a lot of history and should not waste it. I'm from South America and here we love the design current Mustang
1 year(s) ago via
m.d. The Mustang is still the Mustang. Over the years its been tweaked here and there but you know what it is when you see it. The concept vehicle is like so many others we see at car shows where we say "If they sold that right now the way it is Ill be the 1st in line to buy one" Wouldnt it be great if they had a limited line of concept vehicles for the public to buy? but alas, that will never happen, to bad.
1 year(s) ago via
R P The concept car was a fabulous concept, especially since it lead into the production Mustang design, even though dramatically different from the original concept. However, the propotype design, interiro, exterio and evnd even engine, is reminiscent of a "Ford Corvette". Let's face it; Ford has been its own vehicle, in design, function, engineering, etc. & should remain so, especially at a time whn almost all other manufacturers are producing vehicles that look like all of the other brands. Ford looked to its roots in the new verions of the Mustang & they have all been winners in a big way. That true to the original but with modern engineering enhancing performance and efficiency and even more so, driveability, will continue to create dna produce winners! What about something mid-way between a V-6 mustang and a Cobra; maybe something on a 351 Cleveland platfrom but updated for greater efficiency as well as performance - an option of a 6 speed auto or 6 speed manaual, a tiny bit more room with a full bench back seat, for family appplications, functional hood scoop(s) and some really spectacular, definitely ford paint-graphics?
1 year(s) ago via
Lana I second that motion!
1 year(s) ago via
Robert E. S The way cars were "put together" back then, there may have been a good reason not to build it. Today........go for it........BUT to me a "stang" will always be just what was produced by Ford. I still think about the day I took delivery of my brand new 68 stang.
1 year(s) ago via
Rob E Kind of looks like a cross between a Corvair and a Fiero...
1 year(s) ago via
PJ I've seen it....it is at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
1 year(s) ago via
Chris B Maybe NOW is the time for this concept design Mustang, coupled with Ford's Technology, Quality and a scaled version of the Energi drivetrain !!
1 year(s) ago via
Dean V Wow, what an terrible design. Good thing they did not go with this concept.
1 year(s) ago via
Jim L Great article on the origins of the Mustang. Message for the 2014/2015 Mustang product creation team: Be sure to develop a version (probably a Shelby version) that will be capable of going wheel-to-wheel with the Corvette and Viper in the ALMS racing series and the GTE-Pro category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
1 year(s) ago via
Jim M It would have been a little Chevy the first mustang I saw I made into a funny car but was not allowed to run it. I did get some of the money back selling the lower parts they were never used.
1 year(s) ago via
Bert C I'm glad things happened the way they did! And the way they are going now! LOVE FO. MO. CO.
1 year(s) ago via
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