• Oct 15, 2010
We don't need to tell you that automakers are constantly searching for the next iconic design. It's why we continue to see a rash of retro looks despite manufacturers having an army of incredibly talented artists on their staff. But what makes a car strike a chord with the public that continues to resonate through time? Robert Cumberford over at Automobile has set about an in-depth design analysis of the 1964 ½ Ford Mustang. While you may know that the original design for the car came from a General Motors employee, did you know that there are design elements borrowed from the likes of Lincoln, Pontiac and MG worked into the finished product?

Yeah, neither did we.

Cumberford's look at the pony leaves no stone unturned and helps explain why, even now, nearly 50 years after the car hit the scene, it's still one of the most beloved designs of the American automotive industry. Head over to Automobile to read the full piece and check out the point-by-point illustrations.


[Source: Automobile]


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  • 19 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would love for Ford to revisit this most classic of all mustangs.
      Something fun and sporty with a reasonable engine.

      I cannot believe that the recent years boom of retro-inspired rides did not stop at this compelling destination.

      This would have far more appeal to me than the weekly releases of supersport modern mustangs with a new paint job and some new screw on accessories and another 10, 20, or 100 pointless HP tweaked out of the engine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uhm........Hasn't Ford come out and officially stated that by their own internal paperwork, there was never a 1964.5 Mustang?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you saying that it was a hoax? Like people say of the moon landings?

        Ford officially considered them all 1965 models. The '64.5 designation is more of an enthusiast term, however, there apparently are enough minor production variations between the early models and the "proper" 1965 models to give them a unique designation, even if its an unofficial one. The funny thing is, even though Ford claims them to be 1965 models, their anniversary editions had typically followed the 'X4 year. The '84 GT350 20th package, the '04 40th car, the '94 SN95 launch, etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There was a promotional postcard produced that showed the "1964 Mustang". Since production didn't begin until March 9, 1964 the cars were serialized as '65s with the no. 5 as the first digit. Ford had a habit of introducing 1/2 year models in '62 with the Galaxie XL and in '63 with the Falcon Sprint, Futura "Fastback" and convertible and the Galaxie and Mercury Marauder "Fastbacks"

        The "64.5s" have a number of differences that set them apart from the cars produced after mid August '64. Most notable is the use of a generator on the 64.5s and the 260 V-8 and D-Code 210 hp 289 4bbl. Other changes such as carpet style, hood edges and headlight buckets were phased in as the original style parts were exhausted and the updated styles were substituted.

        I own a '64 1/2 convertible 289 D-Code with a May 7 1964 build date.
        • 4 Years Ago
        From the article:
        "
        9 V-8 cars got these badges, although sometimes they were left off. Production details were chaotic in the first eighteen months, when nearly 700,000 Mustangs -- all listed as 1965 models -- were made and sold to an eager clientele.
        "
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, kind of. Only VIN numbers will show if a car was made in 64, but they are all titled as 65
      • 4 Years Ago
      Weekly Mustang article on Autoblog.

      Check!
      • 4 Years Ago
      On the subject of good automotive design and critique I am a long time reader of Motor Trend which I enjoy but I feel it lacks in detailed design critiques.
      I want to find a magazine that does extensive automotive design review as I love to read more about design influence, methods and information about the designer. Is Automobile a good way to go or are other options that you all would recommend?

      Thanks in advance!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Every other mag lacks this kind of analysis, not just Motor Trend - it's basically the reason why I buy Automobile: the rest is a bonus. His stuff is also the more opinionated / interesting than most stuff in 'Auto & Design' (which he also contributes to) and 'Car Styling'

        'By Design' used to be a normal column on the subject of design, with occasional critiques but some years back the format changed so it's essentially one of these analyses every month - and if there's a major feature on new launch there's sometime a 'bonus' analysis as a sidebar.

        Check out their website for more, though finding other by design columns online used to be a major b@]]ache.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What amazes me is how small the original Mustang looks compared to the current model. It must have truly looked like a sports car to the generation that was used to tail fins and huge chrome bumpers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        well the mustang grew in the late 60s and early 70s and got quite large, when the mustang 2 came it was extremly small!

        then look at the fox body mustangs they are also very small

        the size of the mustang really has been all over the place
        • 4 Years Ago
        Original idea from GM....puhleeeez. Someone invented a chair once, does that mean every chair after it was designed by the original? Do not poison my beloved mustangs with the label of GM.

        They are beautiful aren't they? Yeah Yeah, I own one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jesscott I graphed those data points and you see upswing just before the fuel crisis of the 70's. Again we have the same upswing to the current bloated Mustang. Considering fuel prices and tough upcoming EPA standards looks like we're due for another downsizing of the Mustang. And you folks who think the recent size increase of our muscle cars is due to safety are wrong. The Mustang is doing what most companies have done the last 10 years....widen and lengthen so we can slide our fat azzes behind the steering wheel and throw our fat kids in the back (look at Honda's Accord and practically every SUV ever made...). Need to put these American cars on a diet, period.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's very common these days, and it's completely due to safety regulations that the OEMs must deal with.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreeing with D (LOL!).
      • 4 Years Ago
      The original Mustang was such a well-balanced design. It looks and feels right. The current generation... I think that sometimes the rear wheels look a bit small compared to the overall shape, even on the Shelby. I am eager to see the Mustang's design evolve in the future. A more modern design would be welcome, of course, with plenty of original Mustang cues!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is perhaps my all time favorite design. I have loved it from the moment I saw it, to this day.

      It manages to be both clean and stylish. A feat that few pull off.
      • 4 Years Ago
      for more insight google---1962 budd xr400
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