Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The 2015 Mustang...is the 50th too European?

When most folks turn 50 years old it’s celebrated with black balloons and gloomy tombstone markers, but the Ford Mustang is still alive and running free as it always has.  To celebrate the Golden years of this pony car, Ford has decided it is such a big occasion that they needed to have two simultaneous events.  Beginning on Thursday April 17th, Mustang fans from all over the country will flood into Charlotte, NC and Las Vegas, NV to participate in four days of nothing but Mustang pandemonium!  If you drive a Mustang or are just a fan, you do not want to miss these once in a lifetime events.

(Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company)

Now that the 2015 Ford Mustang has been revealed and the photos are everywhere, I wanted to address the styling/design and some of the negative feedback that is all over Facebook and the forums.  Some fans out there are totally not interested in this all new look that the Mustang is sporting.  To those folks, I say…….wait a minute!

Let’s go back a few years and reflect for a moment.  I was reading one of my numerous Mustang coffee table books the other night and I read some intriguing quotes I had never heard before.......John J. Telnack who was a designer with Ford from the 60's thru the 80's.  (He also had a successful career with Ford lasting some 39 years).  He tells a story of how he helped design the all-new European influenced 1979 Fox Mustang.  When he showed a "sneak peek" of the design to Henry Ford, He did not like the direction they were proposing.  John asked him to just think about it and they would do a few variations.....and the 2nd time he showed it to Henry he said "Boy.....I've got to tell you, it really works.....let's go with it".

What's very interesting is that the other design they were more strongly considering from the other competing design team was "Very-Very American and very boxy"  He goes on to recount how they decided to go with the design that was more European and how successful it became and still is today!!  It’s neat to hear those behind the scenes talks that go on to make history with good and bad design decisions.  I’m just glad that Henry Ford decided to let Lee Iaccoca act on his vision and proceed with production of the Mustang.

(Here is a custom version of the 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car Edition)

I personally don't have any issues with a European designed 2015 as long as it keeps the American look with a slight European twist- like an Aston Martin-Vanquish look!

The Ford Mustang having a European influence is nothing new and it’s been a part of the car for a large portion of its history.  I think there were some classic Mustangs with some European design influence (maybe one-offs), and more recently there was the Giugiaro Mustang Concept from 2006.
This car did give us a few hints at what the 50th Mustang might look like, but it was a one-off custom built concept car to stir the interest of Mustang fans worldwide.
Speaking of worldwide, Ford has made no excuses for the worldwide market they are trying to reach with this all new Mustang.  They are pushing the car into some of the Asian markets that have always been off the radar until now.

There will always be those Mustang purists who just will not warm up to this new 2015 design, but I feel like I need to share my experience to bring out an interesting perspective.  I am president of a very active Mustang car club in my local community and most of my friends know that I am Mustang Crazy!  In the months and days leading up to the “Official” reveal of this all new Mustang, many of my car club buddies and close friends kept asking me what I thought it was going to look like and did I think it would be too European and not “American looking”.  I continued to tell each one of them that Ford would deliver on this one and we would all love it.

Now after the photos of the car were posted and all the major news networks covered the big reveals, it was amazing to me to hear the feedback from my friends.   Of my friends who were “car guys” and Mustang fans, there were only about 50% who liked the new 2015 design, but of my friends who are not into cars or Mustangs at all, the numbers were almost 90% who loved it and even said, “WOW, I think I want one of those when it comes out!”  Now I’m not a numbers or marketing guy, but I would say that Ford has hit another homerun if they can get folks who had not previously even looked twice at buying a Mustang to now say they are seriously considering purchasing one. 

When the fanfare is over, the 50th Mustang Celebration is finished, and the car has hit the dealerships, we will truly get a feel for how the public has responded to this worldwide Mustang.  Personally I feel most will be quick to fall in love all over again with this new Pony car just as they did back in 1964 when it was released.  The only question that will remain is…..”What color do I want to order it in”? 

Don’t forget you heard it here first-when Ford releases the next wave of special edition Mustangs (which rumor has it will include an all-new 2016 Mach I that will blow your socks off)…Ford will fill every order and might have to consider building even more to meet demands! 

Happy 50th Birthday to the Ford Mustang…….keep running strong for another 50 years!!