Taking the All-New Ford Mustang from Sketch to Production
- The design of the 2015 Mustang
is all-new yet unmistakably Mustang
- Design process for all-new
Mustang started in 2009
- Once a design was selected,
exterior and interior designers worked to perfect the lines throughout the
all-new Mustang, resulting in the car first revealed in December 2013
PRETORIA, South Africa, 23 September 2014 - For a
car designer, the chance to re-imagine an icon like Ford Mustang is always
exciting. Doing this for the famous Ford performance car's 50th anniversary, is
the opportunity of a lifetime.
By mid-2009, with the substantially updated fifth-generation
Ford Mustang in production, Ford designers, engineers and marketers turned
their collective attention to what would come next: the design that would mark
more than five decades of continuous Mustang development and
"To the people inside Ford, Mustang is considered the heart
and soul of the company," said Moray Callum, Ford Vice President of global
design. "We spent a lot of time amongst the team and with customers
discussing the history of Mustang and what it meant to people and concluded
that we needed to move forward with a modern design that retained the essence
of the brand."
What makes a Mustang?
As Ford's performance leader, the basic parameters of Mustang
were obvious: rear-wheel drive combined with the sound and performance of a V8
engine to create the visceral experience that Mustang drivers expect.
Part of the appeal of Mustang over the years has been the way it
combines style, performance and everyday usability thanks to its four-seat
cabin and sizable trunk. These attributes had to be part of the new design.
With these basic parameters, Ford designers established a footprint to work
with roughly the same as the fifth generation model.
From a design standpoint, the challenge was how to design a car
that was contemporary, but unmistakably Mustang. The goal was to create a
Mustang with a bold, aggressive face, with chiselled detailing on the body and
a more athletic stance on its tires.
The process kicks off
A typical new car program kicks off with a design brief that
lays out the needs and wants for the upcoming vehicle. However, with 50 years
of continuous development and production, every designer knew what to sketch
and how a Mustang needs to look.
Several hundred sketches were submitted in early 2010
incorporating many of the primary Mustang DNA cues to varying degrees. The long
bonnet, short deck, bold grille, shark-front nose, fastback profile, side
hockey stick contour and rear tri-bar tail lamps were reinterpreted in dozens
of different ways.
Similarly, sketches of the interior featured the distinctive
symmetrical instrument panel with a double brow design and large analogue
"There are a few key elements that make Mustang a Mustang.
As designers, we need to edit those cues deciding which ones to retain, how to
interpret them in a modern way and how to combine them to create a car that is
immediately identifiable as Mustang," added Callum. "Looking at all
of the different Mustangs over the past five decades, those cues have appeared
in some years and not in others, but the end result was still a Mustang."
Perhaps the most prominent of those cues that did not make the
final cut was the scoop, or "hockey stick" profile, on the flanks of
the car. Many of the early proposals included some form of this visual feature,
but ultimately it was not included in the final production model.
Throughout 2011, hundreds of initial sketches were narrowed down
to a handful of proposals that would be transformed into an initial batch of
clay models for evaluation in three dimensions. After further development,
three themes went into the final selection phase in early 2012.
The 2015 Mustang theme is selected
By the summer of 2012 - as with all previous generations - the
main Dearborn, Michigan, studio took the lead on developing the Mustang into a
Designers, clay sculptors and digital modellers spent countless
hours refining the lines and surfaces that create the three dimensional body
side and the powerful hunches as well as the long-sculpted hood with a forward
leaning nose that give the 2015 Mustang its unique look and personality.
Details such as the shape and size of the grille and headlamps
were refined and the rear track was widened by 70 millimetres, giving the new
car an even more aggressive stance.
The elimination of the front and rear bumper shelves and the use
of unified side glass with the B-pillar hidden behind the rear quarter windows
contribute to the new Mustang's more contemporary shape.
On the interior, the team paid close attention to the
relationships of the various elements, and designed them in a way to achieve
optimum fit and finish. The final theme was inspired by the wing of an airplane,
with the double brow carved out of the wing. All the gauges, registers, toggle
switches and other design elements are placed into the wing. Everything is
where it needs to be for usability, just like the cockpit of an airplane. The
toggle switches are a highlight of the modern centre stack.
The designers have also taken advantage of modern lighting
technology at both ends of the car. Indirect LEDs illuminate the blade style
tri-bar tail lamps with a uniform glow. LEDs are also used for the three gills
mounted inboard of the high-intensity discharge headlamps, recalling the gills
moulded into the headlamp buckets of the original 1965 Mustang.
Along the way, the shape of the new Mustang underwent twice as
much aerodynamic testing as any previous generation.
The convertible is clearly part of the same product family as
the fastback and yet much of the bodywork is actually unique to the open-top
car. Subtle but important differences in the shape of the rear bodywork give
the convertible a cohesive shape of its own.
From the raised and straightened muscle line on the rear
haunches to the re-contoured boot lid, the new Mustang convertible has a more
linear quality whether the top is up or down, giving the car its own distinct
presence on the road.
The final production design of the all-new sixth-generation Ford
Mustang was revealed to the world on December 5, 2013 and it will be go on sale
in the US later this year. This is also the first generation of the Mustang
that will be sold across the world, including South Africa, Australia, and the
UK. The all-new Mustang, with V8 and EcoBoost® engines will go on sale in South
Africa late 2015.