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A selection of well-known design schools from around the world that offer Courses in Transportation Design. A document on the prototypes and concepts developed during the first 30 years of Ford Mustang’s history and that never made it to production.
As part of the celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the iconic Mustang, Ford has recently started to publish an extensive history of the model along with images sourced from its archives. From late 1961 into mid-1962, Ford designers tried out a wide range of themes for a sporty coupe based on the platform of the new Falcon compact. One fastback design actually went through at least three different names starting with Avventura before moving on to Avanti and finally Allegro. The fastback design was originally sketched with a hatchback and rear-facing second row seat.
As Avventura moved from sketch to physical design model, the hatch was replaced with a trunk and the rear seat was switched to a more conventional forward-facing orientation. Originally shown internally as Avanti, the name was eventually changed to Allegro, likely because Studebaker had introduced its own production Avanti coupe around the same time. Early in the gestation of the original Mustang, Ford designers also considered a number of two-seater studies. The idea of a two-seat Mustang was something designers returned to frequently in the period between the original Mustang 1 concept and the 1992 Mach III.
In 1962, the design team, led by Gene Bordinat, worked on several iterations of another design called Allegro. Although it was probably never seriously considered for production as a Mustang, this hard-top variation of the Mustang 1 concept from 1962 did provide some inspiration for the GT40 MK I that would race at Le Mans and elsewhere beginning in 1964. When you have a product as enormously successful as Mustang, you invariably have to consider how to capitalize on the idea. While Mustang used the platform of the compact Falcon as its starting point, the four-door Mustang could have brought the idea full circle by adding two doors to the pony car. In the mid-1960s, Ford designers considered at least a couple of different concepts for a Mustang station wagon, with at least one running prototype based on a 1966 coupe getting built.
Another design study included elements for refreshed models that were coming later that decade. As the first-generation Mustang transitioned from a pony car to a larger and heavier big-block muscle car, the Mach 1 concept was created as a preview of the 1968 model. The original nose of the concept drew inspiration from the 1963 Mustang II concept with its covered headlights and chrome rimmed protruding grille. In late 1966, Ford designers prepared a Mustang concept to preview some of the design updates coming for the 1969 model. The front bodywork formed a single piece hinged at the front to expose the engine compartment. The two-position hatchback was intended to accommodate longer objects in a near horizontal position or open wider for cargo loading. Each of the rear pillars featured a flip-open racing-style gas cap while larger than normal air-scoops dominated the flanks.
The production 1969 Mach 1 had a rear window louver as one of its distinguishing visual features. The sloped rear end included a hatchback, a feature that wouldn’t appear on a production model until the 1974 Mustang II. With the Mustang having already set sales records following its launch in 1964, Ford design chief Gene Bordinat and the Special Vehicles Group decided to try rearranging the pieces for the Mach 2 concept.
The 289 Hi-Po V8 was shifted from the front to behind the two seats to evaluate the layout as a possible successor to the Shelby Cobra.
Despite its mid-engine layout, the Mach 2 retained the long-hood, short-deck proportions of a Mustang. In 1967, Ford designers decided to reprise one of the original Mustang design concepts from 1962 with a new form and repurposed name.


First shown publicly at the February 1970 Chicago Auto Show, the Mustang Milano concept previewed the nearly horizontal rear deck and sharp, extended nose that would be seen on the production 1971 model. However, aside from those two elements, the Milano didn’t really bear much resemblance to any production Mustang. Created at the Italian Ghia design studio, the RSX was conceived as a rally special based on the new Fox-body third-generation Mustang that debuted for the 1979 model year. With a one-inch-wider track and 5.6-inch-shorter wheelbase than the road-going Mustang, the RSX had extra ride height that would be needed for dealing with the off-tarmac stages of European rallies. In 1990, Ford designers evaluated a number of themes for a replacement for the long-running third-generation Mustang.
The notchback and hatchback bodystyles would be replaced with a single fastback coupe format. The studies were named Jenner after Bruce Jenner, Schwartzeneggar after actor Arnold Schwartzeneggar, and Rambo after Sylvester Stallone’s character.
The softer concept, called “Bruce Jenner” (above) wasn’t considered aggressive enough to be a Mustang.
The Mach III provided the first public hints of the new design direction that was coming for the fourth-generation Mustang.
While classic elements like the grille pony badge, side scoops and tri-bar taillamps were included on the 1994 Mustang, the two-seater layout and the low-cut speedster windshield have never been part of a regular production Mustang. It is interesting that the crease panel surfacing technique (on the 1970 Mustang Milano Concept) is not something new.
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The Swallow Sidecar Company is founded by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley in Blackpool, England to build sidecars for motorcycles. The company begins automobile body manufacturing, making attractive and luxurious coachword for popular makes including the Austin Seven, Morris, Standard, Fiat, Swift, and Cowley. Lyons decided to build a more stylish body for the Austin chassis and the Austin-7 was introduced. Jaguar entered a team of three factory SS Jaguar in the prestigious RAC Rally of 1937, unfortunately, someone driving an SS100 won the race. Jaguar introduced the Jaguar MK I to broaden its market at home and the XK140 roadster is introduced.
Jaguar and Daimler seperate from the declining government consortium BL Ltd., forming a private company. Ford Motor Company forms a new division under the name Premier Automotive Group to include the brands Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar, Daimler, Aston Martin, and in 2000, Land Rover.
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February of 1953, just one month after Chevrolet debuted their Corvette dream car at the GM Motorama in New York. But similarities ended there - Ford's answer to the Corvette was not a bare-bones sports car, but rather a stylish and practical personal luxury car.
Ford had hoped to sell 10,000 T-birds the first year, but instead found itself unable to keep up with demand. A restyle for 1957 included a larger, reshaped front bumper and grille, larger tail-lamps, and sharper-edged tail fins in the rear. One of two high-performance engine options was the 312ci "E-code" with two four-barrel carburetors, rated at 270-horsepower.
The "F-code" option was the 312ci with a Paxton-built McCulloch centrifugal supercharger mounted to a single four-barrel carburetor.


Complaints of the additional weight of the Continental spare causing steering issues led to a trunk lid redesign, allowing the spare to be moved back inside. Since its inception, Ford company executives felt that a two-seat car had restricted sales potential. While this car never made it to production, a variation of the fastback profile was eventually adopted as the third bodystyle for Mustang.
These were seen as a more affordable return to the roots of Thunderbird, which by this time had grown into a much larger four-seater. Aside from some track-oriented Mustangs that had the rear seats removed to save weight, there has never been a strictly two-seat production Mustang.
While the production 1965 Mustang was a very different car in almost every visual detail from Allegro, the design study established the basic proportions that would define most Mustangs for the next five decades.
All of the known Mustang wagons were three-doors that were closer to a European “shooting brake” than a traditional American family station wagon.
The Mustang Mach I was a two-seat fastback with a very aggressive looking chopped roof profile.
The concept was intended to use a laminated rear window with the louvers embedded within but that idea never even made it onto the concept. In fact, the car that probably drew most heavily on the Milano profile was the Australian-market Falcon XB coupe of the mid-1970s.
After departing from many of the original design cues on the third-generation models, the upcoming fourth-generation would return elements like the galloping pony in the grille, the side scoops and the tri-bar taillamps. All in all, Ford did well by being conservative, judging from most of the concepts, but they missed on this one.
The car had a top speed of 120 mph and became renown for its superb road holding and styling plus a smooth ride. The car was in huge demand from 1961-75, to begin with the company struggled to meet orders. The Corvette would likely have been discontinued, but the success of the Thunderbird prompted Chevrolet to continue production. He noticed sports cars with external spare-tires mounted on their rear bumpers, done so to allow more trunk space.
Ford conservatively rated the F-code motor at 300 horsepower, but historians believe the figure was more in the 340-360 horsepower range, depending on the camshaft installed. Although no longer available from Ford, aftermarket companies continued to sell Continental kits for those who liked the appearance of the external spare.
The success of the 1957 Thunderbird, with 21,380 sold, encouraged Ford to market a four-seat Thunderbird for 1958.
The notchback coupe had the same long-hood, short-deck layout with a compact greenhouse that would roll out of the Rouge factory two years later. The Thunderbird's body was made of steel and featured roll-up windows, unlike the Corvette's fiberglass body and side curtains. Upon returning to the States, he asked Lincoln's chief stylist to incorporate this design into the new Lincoln Continentals. Some say the best Jag ever made, and the old XK engine now 13 years old, was still used in the early E-Types. A telescoping steering column, dual exhaust, and a 292-cid OHV V8 were all standard equipment. Ford stylists designed a similar "Continental style" spare tire kit for the 1956 Thunderbird.



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