As far as automotive legends go, they do not come much bigger than Lee Iacocca! He it was who saw the clout in a car which would go on to become an American icon. The Ford Mustang 1 prototype first appeared at Watkins Glen racetrack - in October '62. Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss were driving. It wowed the crowd - which included Iacocca! The young Ford product planner saw potential written all over the Mustang 1. His only concern was that it might be too extreme for the mainstream motorist. He resolved to tone down the car's shape a tad, for starters. But, that he had glimpsed the future of Ford, he was in no doubt.
The Mustang 1 Iacocca witnessed at Watkins Glen was always going to be different from that which rolled onto the roads of America. The new car's body - by Troutman and Barnes - was a low, flat slab of aluminium. Good aerodynamics were a given. Cutting edge retractable headlights smoothed the flow of the car's nose. A stylish rollover bar was perfectly in tune with its race-bred surrounds. Below it, two huge air intakes were a clear pointer to the beast that lay within!
The Mustang 1's engine was German in origin. The V4 motor was sourced from the Ford Taunus 12M. Its position was moved back - to power the Mustang 1's rear wheels. 109bhp was on tap. That gave a top speed of 115mph. Capacity was 1,498cc - or 91ci. A 4-speed 'box kept things civilised. So, while it may not have been in the same league as the P-51 fighter plane - after which it was named - the Mustang still moved along at a fair old clip! Suspension was by wishbone and coil spring. Front disc brakes were a welcome feature. Steering-wheel and pedals were fully-adjustable. It would be hard to overstate the impact that the Mustang 1 made! Iacocca was Italian-American - and his car's lines were styled with fitting finesse. Two prototypes were built. In time, Ford Mustang production cars would be some of the most coveted machines in the history of motoring!