- Year: 1962
- Exterior Color: White with Blue Stripes
- Marque: Ford
- Scale: 1:24
- Availability: The Henry Ford Museum
- Limited Edition: 499 built to celebrate Mustang 50 Years
It was the summer of 1962. Henry Ford II had just rescinded the ban on factory racing support, and the company leaders were anxious to inject some excitement into the Ford brand, whose image had grown a bit stodgy in the previous few years. On the race track, fresh Ford-powered efforts were poised to assault NASCAR, NHRA, Indy and European sports car courses. But newly appointed Ford Chief Lee Iacocca wanted something targeted directly at consumers as well, so he commissioned a sporty concept car to be debuted at the US Grand Prix event at Watkins Glen in October. Time was short and the pressure was high, but a cadre of young engineers with experience in Europe envisioned a svelte, mid-engine, 2-seat sports car to draw in the youth market. It would be built using all the latest technology: a unitized tubular space frame, fully independent suspension at all four corners, and brand-new 1500cc V-4 engine and 4-speed transaxle out of Ford's European Taunus.
Engineers were inspired by the P-51 Mustang's aggressive image and decided to borrow the name for their new creation. The Mustang was a concept car, so more than anything it had to look the part. California custom car builder Troutman & Barnes was tapped to craft the hand-hammered aluminum body. It featured flip-up headlamps to streamline airflow and racy looks; an integrated roll-hoop also blended style and function. The Mustang I Concept was tiny, riding on a 90-inch wheelbase and weighing just 1148 pounds, giving it an excellent power-to-weight ratio with the street-spec 89hp, and eye-opening performance with the extra 20hp of the race configuration. At the car's debut at Watkins Glen, American F1 ace Dan Gurney laid down demonstration laps fast enough to make the field of the sports car support race that weekend. This from a car that 100 days earlier was nothing more than a sketch on a designer's pad!
The Mustang was an instant hit with the public - 20,000 brochures were given away on the Watkins Glen weekend alone, as well as with the automotive press. It made the cover of the December 1962 issue of Car and Driver among other publications, and it was universally lauded for its beauty and technical achievement. It accomplished exactly what Iacocca and the rest of the Ford brass intended - sparking renewed interest in Ford as a performance brand.
Automodello brings this hallmark moment in Ford history - and the beginning of the Mustang legend. The sleek lines and finely crafted details are perfectly recreated, showcasing just what a tour de force this machine was. Officially licensed by Ford while the Tribute Edition is signed by Dan Gurney as a fitting tribute to Mustang 50 Years, sure to be a prized collectible for years to come!
Automodello is a manufacturer specializing in overlooked, neglected and interesting models from British, European, North American and other marques. Automodello's inaugural model was the 1964 Griffith Series 200 followed by the 1974 to 1976 Bricklin SV1, the 1966 Fitch Phoenix, the 1966 Griffith Series 600, and the 1938 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria. Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance, The Desert Classic, The Milwaukee Masterpiece, and the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles have all selected Automodello as the Official Model for their events, and, the Packard in Berkshire Green Metallic was selected as the Official Model for the 46th Packard Automobile Classics 2011 National Meet.