April 30

Ford Mustang Name

Categories: Just For Fun,

Though the Mustang uses a mustang pony as its logo, the original prototype car was actually originally named after something entirely different.

The Ford Mustang was brought out five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year.  The earliest versions are often referred to as 1964 1/2 models, but VIN coded by Ford and titled as 1965 models, though minor design updates for fall 1965 contribute to tracking 1964 1/2 production data separately.  The car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World's Fair.

Ford Executive Stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name.  Najjar co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I in 1961, working jointly with fellow Ford stylist Philip T. Clark.  The Mustang I made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York on October 7, 1962, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration using the second "race" prototype.  His lap times were only slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars.

An alternative view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Market Research Manager, first suggested the Mustang name.  Eggert, a breeder of quarter horses, received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960.  Later, the book's title gave him the idea of adding the "Mustang" name for Ford's new concept car.  The designer preferred Cougar or Torino (and an advertising sampaign using the Torino name was actually prepared), while Henry Ford II wanted T-bird II.  As the person responsible for Ford's research on potential names, Eggert added "Mustang" to the list to be tested by focus groups;  "Mustang", by a wide margin, came out on top under the heading: "Suitability as Name for the Special Car". 

So, while the Mustang logo has always been a pony, the car's original designer had something completely different in mind.

Source:  Wikipedia

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