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|74 Mustang - Young Car With a Tradition and a Future|
DESIGNING THE '74 MUSTANG
The Ford Design Center received the 1974 Mustang assignment in August of 1971. "Package" engineers at the Center gave the designers a sheaf of papers with various "hard points" to work from. These dimensions included headroom, reach distances, seating position of the driver, the lines of visibility for the driver and passenger, the position of the steering wheel column and wheel, etc.
With a car's package determined, just as in baseball, after the baselines are drawn, the game is on. Designers begin forming their concepts of the shape and appearance of the car that will surround this package.
Ford designers aren't restricted to desiging a particular car line, or to a car of their particular division. Nor is an exterior designer limited to working on the "skin" of the car, or an interior man to instrument panels and door panels.
Especially at the time of designing the all-new Mustang, the big event was thrown open to competition. Designers from Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, Advanced and Interior Sutdios all went at it.
"The enthusiasm of the troops was tremendous," recalled A. L. Mueller, director of the Lincoln-Mercury Design Office. "You could tell it was a labor of love, not just a job. Some designers would come in on their own time to work," he recalled.
The L-M designers were turned loose with the questions, "What should a Mustang look like?"
The original program called for only one body style. Designers were free to pick the one which seemed the most appropriate to them. Some studios turned to a notchback or semi-notchback. The L-M Studio thought Mustang meant fastback - sporty, smooth, fun to drive.
The design sketches began rolling in - at least 150 from all four studios. Some were really far out; some were more practical, while still presenting new design approaches for a small car.
The L-M Studio picked a favorite sketch, done by one of its designers. It was a sporty fastback. Designers translated it into a car-size, two dimensional "drawing" of the exterior features, done in black tape on a white background. (In this process, mistakes aren't erased. The tape merely is picked up and moved. It's a very fast process.)
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