Ford has done it again. Like in 1965, there is once again an all-new Mustang Convertible sitting on the observation deck of New York City's Empire State Building. This has been in the making for a little while, with the first report that Ford would recreate the sky-high publicity stunt coming out a few weeks back.

The process of getting the Mustang up there wasn't exactly easy. A Romulus, MI-based company chopped up the new droptop, a necessary evil to get the Mustang to fit in the combination of Empire State Building elevators required to get to the 86th floor observation deck. But it was slightly more involved than just taking the car apart. The company, DST, built a mockup of the ESB's elevators, and then practiced its cuts on a second pre-production Mustang Convertible (measure twice, cut once).

The result of all this work are the images you see above. Yes, sitting in the crisp, morning air of midtown Manhattan, over 1,000 feet up, is this brilliant Triple Yellow Mustang. Take a look up top for our gallery of images from today's event. You can also scroll down for videos and images of the process leading up to the ESB debut.




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DISPLAYING A 2015 FORD MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE 1,000 FEET ABOVE MANHATTAN – SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

Six weeks of preparation needed to bring a Ford Mustang convertible to the top of the Empire State Building
Ford and Empire State Building honor 50 years of Mustang with a car display 1,000 feet above the streets of Manhattan
Ford partners with longtime supplier to build the Mustang that will be displayed in New York


As the world honors 50 years of Ford Mustang, what better way to celebrate one of the most iconic car brands than putting one back on top of one of the most iconic buildings? When Ford and the Empire State Building decided to display a new 2015 Mustang convertible on the 86th floor observation deck, Ford turned to a longtime supplier for the unique expertise required to make this happen.

In a world where tiny startups are regularly swallowed up by established behemoths, Ford Motor Company and Romulus, Mich.-based DST Industries have been collaborators for nearly six decades. In 1965 – the only other time in the Empire State Building's 83-year history a car was displayed on its open-air deck – a DST crew was on hand to show off that Mustang convertible.

"This week, the band is getting back together as Ford and DST bring the all-new Mustang to the Empire State Building to honor 50 years on sale," said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. "We've taken the new Mustang to new heights of technology and refinement, so we decided to take it to new heights literally for this celebration."

The all-new Mustang may be more advanced than ever before, but sometimes physical limitations demand old-school techniques to get a job done.

"When our engineers sat down with the DST team to start plotting this out in mid-February, everyone quickly realized that some old-school craftsmanship would be needed to successfully place this car more than 1,000 feet above the crowded streets of Manhattan," said George Samulski, manager, Ford North America design fabrication. "The deck is too high to reach with a portable crane from the street, and the spire that towers more than 400 feet above that narrow deck makes helicopter delivery impossible."

The only other car display on the Empire State Building observation deck happened in October 1965, when a crew from DST, including retired technician Claude Cochran, sectioned a Mustang convertible so that it could be fit into the elevators of the building.

Following a site inspection in New York to meticulously measure all of the elevators and doors, the engineering team in Dearborn sat down with a scale model of the new Mustang and started drawing lines on it with a marker to represent where it should be cut. The Empire State Building is a historic landmark, with original art deco wood and brass trim in the elevators, so it was crucial to ensure everything have plenty of clearance.

"The only real problem we had in 1965 was the steering wheel," said Cochran. "When we tried to roll the middle section of the car with the windshield removed into the elevator, the top of the wheel stuck out a bit too far through the door, so we had to tip the cart a bit to get it in."

In preparing for the 2014 event, the team at DST worked with two early prototype Mustang convertible body shells. The car that would ultimately make the trip to New York was completely stripped down and the surface cleaned up to make sure everything looked perfect before it was sectioned and painted.

The second body was used as a donor by DST metal fabricators to determine where to make the cuts and to fit a custom-built tubular steel subframe that would hold all the sections together. The fabricators built custom rolling carts and wooden crates for each section.

Getting from the loading dock to the observation deck requires riding a freight elevator and two separate passenger elevators. A wood mockup of the smallest elevator was built in the DST shop in Romulus to verify everything would fit. Each of the loaded carts was then weighed to ensure everything stayed within the weight limits of the elevator and the observation deck.

"The observation deck is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., leaving our crew of six with only a six-hour window to get everything out onto the deck and get the car assembled," said Pericak. "Before we shipped the crates to New York, the crew spent several days practicing the entire assembly process – timing everything down to the minute – much like a NASCAR or Formula One pit crew."

With several weeks of fabricating and practice behind them, and the crates on a truck and headed to New York, the DST crew is resting up ahead of some long nights this week assembling and disassembling the Mustang.

The Triple Yellow 2015 Mustang convertible will be on display for visitors to the Empire State Building observation deck April 16-17. When the deck closes to the public at 2 a.m. April 18, the crew will descend on the display car to reverse the entire process and remove it before visitors return at 8 a.m.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've owned three Mustangs, two of which were convertibles. Really like the new one- Happy B day Mustang!
      Dump
      • 8 Months Ago
      OK...was about to say....what kind of aerial crane magic was done to get the whole car up there? Crane? Helicopter? Hey, just slice it up and puzzle-it back together on the roof. Cool.
      malgu
      • 8 Months Ago
      DST represent the hometown Troy! Happy birthday Mustang!
      LilCe003
      • 8 Months Ago
      Pretty interesting. Yes its a marketing gimmick, but its still an interesting way to get the public to see the car. Its not everyday you get to take a picture in a car parked on the empire state building. If nothing else I'm sure it'll bring some joy, and some pretty neat pictures, to whomever gets to see it up there.
      a5245859
      • 8 Months Ago
      i know that these cars are generally marketed to retirees. Old people generally have poor taste in what is "actually cool". but still, did we have to make it yellow? yellow sports cars make me want to puke. i know it is a personal preference, but i know I'm not the only one who feels this way. not knockin' on the car though. Ford has been hitting the mark for a while now.
        Chris
        • 8 Months Ago
        @a5245859
        Apparently you know* wrong as these cars are marketed to everyone, and appeal to practically every demographic out there. Mustangs have always attracted a very broad range of customers. If you don't believe me then you might want to put down the video games and step outside the cold, dark confines of your mom's basement and see for yourself.
      CybrRaider
      • 8 Months Ago
      Silly marketing gimmick
      RetrogradE
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why the gimmick (now or then)? Let the car speak for itself.
      PiCASSO
      • 8 Months Ago
      Interesting...
      BipDBo
      • 8 Months Ago
      So is it now just held together with some well hidden duct tape and bondo? Or did they bother to do a little welding up there?
      davebo357
      • 8 Months Ago
      If all they needed were some photos for marketing they could have just photoshopped it up there a lot easier. What'd really impress me is if Ford came out with a RWD car anywhere close to the size of the 1964 original. I realize you couldn't make something that light with today's safety requirements but it boggles my mind when I see 30+ miatas at an autocross event and wonder why no American companies want to bother competing in that market.
        montoym
        • 8 Months Ago
        @davebo357
        2013 US sales Mazda MX-5 Miata - 5780 Ford Mustang - 77,186 Chevrolet Camaro - 80,567 That's why. 30 Miatas at an autocross does not a business case make.
          davebo357
          • 8 Months Ago
          @montoym
          Yeah I guess you're right, if you're not sharing platforms it's just not worth the development. Unless they could just give me a backwards Fiesta frame. Rear-engine RWD two seater with the Focus ST's engine on it. Screw safety standards lets get some street-legal go-karts made.
      Brodz
      • 7 Months Ago
      Falcon would have been 60 years old in 2020
      ed_rc
      • 8 Months Ago
      How'd they put the hood together again without a seam? The pics show that they cut it straight down the middle. Without welding, a lot of body filler and a repaint or wrap I don't see how it was done.
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