Throwback Thursday! 64-1/2 Ford Mustang!
Going WWAAAAY back to the beginning, this is another awesome archived article from Car and Driver! Read what they had to say about the NEW Mustang!
It's easily the best thing to come out of Dearborn since the 1932 V-8 Model B roadster. But for all Ford's talk of Total Performance, it's still clear that the Mustang has been designed and built to a price. The necessity of meeting cost goals meant that it had to share a maximum number of components with other models in the Ford line. Out of this situation sprang the advantage of an extremely wide availability of options for the Mustang, selected from the Falcon, Fairlane and Galaxie series. Briefly, it gives the customer a choice of four engines, three clutches, seven transmissions, two driveshafts, four brake systems, four wheel types and three wheel sizes, three suspension systems, and three steering systems. This seems slightly overwhelming until one remembers that only certain combinations are authorized, for either technical or commercial reasons. But it's still very impressive and approaches the Tempest's profusion of power team options. In two departments Ford even has the lead on Pontiac. Disc brakes are optional on the Mustang, and an independent rear end will be homologated and made available in small series for racing purposes.
Lee Anthony Iacocca, vice president and general manager of Ford Division, sees the Mustang first of all as a family car, which meant that it had to have four seats, with better rear seat accommodation than is offered in the "two-plus-two" category. It's also aimed at a not-clearly-defined market consisting of customers looking for a not-clearly-defined combination of luxury and status. In addition to all this, the Mustang is intended as a sports car (or sporty car).
The project was initiated in 1961 following the increased acceptance of sports car features in family cars, such as stick shifts and bucket seats, and after strong indications of an undiminished public demand for the pre-1958 two-seater Thunderbird. The basic specification of the Mustang was laid down after extensive market research, just as in the case of the Edsel some years ago, but in contrast with the Edsel the Mustang is hitting the showrooms at the right time—while the GT (and pseudo-GT) craze is still in high gear. While the term Gran Turismo really sums up everything that Ford wanted this car to be, they are to be congratulated for not sticking those initials on the Mustang, in the manner of models which served only to render them meaningless, such as the defunct Studebaker Avanti and the popular Dodge Dart GT.
The Mustang design was entrusted to Jack Prendergast as executive engineer under the direction of Hans Matthias, chief engineer of the Ford Division. The Mustang was built up on a basic platform steel frame with galvanized structural members and torque boxes. The frame was designed to carry all the mechanical elements on the under-side and all the body components on top. Structural rigidity was assured by a strong propeller shaft tunnel stretching from the toeboard to the rear axle kick-up, plus cross-ribs and reinforcements. The platform is so stiff that the chassis can be driven without a body.
The body panels are welded to the platform, forming an integral all-steel structure of light weight (during the entire design stage, weight control was held to strict tolerances). The engine compartment is formed by full-depth side members welded to the front side rails at the bottom and to the cowl at the rear. Across the front, the box is completed by a one-piece stamping with a deep rectangular channel-section at the top. The front fenders are simply bolted on to this structure. The frame design is the same for both hard-tops and convertibles, but certain underbody members use heavier-gauge steel on convertibles to compensate for the absence of a roof.
Front suspension has been lifted directly from the Falcon, and consists of an upper wishbone, a single lower control arm with a stay extending to the front, an anti-roll bar, and a coil spring enclosing a telescopic shock absorber located on top of the upper wishbone. The top spring mounting is part of the engine compartment, and a rubber bump stop is mounted on a separate bracket attached to the frame side member.
As can be expected, the front suspension in its stock form is pretty flabby, but fortunately a "handling package" is available. It comprises such helpful items as heavy-duty coil springs, special shock absorbers, a larger-diameter anti-roll bar, 6.50 x 14 tires (instead of 6.50 x 13) on 5-1/2-inch wide rims, and a quicker steering box (with a ratio of 16 to one instead of 20 to one). Actually, the handling package becomes indispensable for anything but the most uninspired driving and ought to have been made standard in the first place. This is especially true of the steering, as the "quick" ratio feels slow and the slow one is far and away too slow. The 16-to-one ratio will alarm no one by the rapidity of its response, but there will no doubt be a demand for an ultra-quick steering box, as the standard one demands 4-1/2 turns lock to lock, the quick steering takes 3-1/2, and the sports car driver will want about 2-1/2 (with the Mustang's 38-ft turning circle).
The best part of the article is the end. I don't think anyone at Car and Driver would have imagined what the Mustang would become...
"The Mustang constitutes an entirely new and separate line of Ford cars (bringing the total up to five, not counting the products of the Lincoln-Mercury Division). It will be produced exclusively in a factory within the River Rouge plant. Its production capacity is not stated, but Ford aims to sell about a quarter-of-a-million Mustangs in its first 12-month period on the market. With the versatility of this design and the plentiful options, the demand might even exceed that figure."