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The horse on the grill was not present in the prototype Mustang I. c. 1962. However, that prototype was then called the "Mustang I." The rumor is that Ford did not want an aircraft emblem at the front & settled for the horse.
I'm looking for the relationship of the WW II P-51 Mustang aircraft & the MTG prototype Ic. 1962!
Mustang is a good marketing name for a car that takes to the wide open roads of America not unlike the horses that the Spaniards left and the Native Americans later tamed.
It is a name of Freedom, powerful and sleek made to run in the wide open spaces of America.
I think the P-51 is more akin to Rousch and his love of WWII planes and the Mustang, but the namesake of the P-51 is certainly similar in nature, which is why it was named the Mustang in WWII. Again, a truly American creature.
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Nice & interesting comments on the birth of the Mustang! The name Mustang seems to follow 2 tracks. One, with Mr. John Najjar a Ford designer c. 1962 who came up with the name Mustang after his favorite WW II aircraft the P-51 Mustang.
..and second, a guy named Phil Clark also a design engineer who 1st worked for GM and then moved to Ford c. 1960s who saw the Nevada wild horses once. His daughter Holly found some interesting data/drawings c. 1980s on the design of the prototype Mustang I & the original drawings of the horse on the grill. Plz Google Phil Clark GB for more details.
The story I heard, oh so long ago, was that Ford was looking for something to take on the Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette was named after a WWII war ship so Ford went after a WWII icon as well... the P-51 fighter plane. Much cooler than a boat.
The pony makes marketing sense as the mascot over a plane though, since they had already come up with the name.
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Unless I hear or read another story otherwise, I'll believe the original concept that the Mustang was named after the P-51 aircraft from World War II. As for the pony emblem, it is obvious to use that for the car since Ford already was using the a bird symbol for its Thunderbird.
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I know this is an older topic, but I'm actually currently reading a book called 'The Fords' about The family from William to Henry II. In it it references that Henry II was pushing for t he name "thunderbird II" but that the J. Walter Thompson agency recommended Mustang. It references that the concept did come from the fighter plane, and not the horse. Apparently the first choice was Torino, but they didn't want to use an Italian name based on Henry II's private life.
That's what the book says at least. Most things I've read in here and seen/read/heard elsewhere seem to lineup, so take that for what it's worth.
That's what it said. I also have Iaccoca's autobiography laying around (anyone guess my preferred genre?) I can go look up what he said regarding the mustang name. It's been a few years since I read it, so I really don't remember. Since he was more involved with the marketing, and the Fords really wasn't about him, I bet he goes into more detail.
Here's what Iacocca says in his autobigraphy. His story is the same up to Torino. Interestingly in the design phase they called it the Cougar, but when they got to naming they came up with the following: Monte Carlos, Monaco, Torino, and Cougar. They settled on Torino, but went looking for a completely different name when Henry II's assistant Charlie Moore alled and said it couldn't be Italian.
John Conley who worked for the J. Thompson Agency was the naming specialist who had researched bird names for the T-bird and Falcon. He was sent to the Detroit Public library to lookup names of animals.
"Johns came up with thousands of suggestions, which we narrowed down to six: Bronco, Puma, Cheetah, Colt, Mustang, and Cougar."
Here's where it gets interesting.
"Mustang had been the name of one of the car's prototypes. Curiously, it was not named for the horse but for the legendary World War II fighter plane. No matter. We all liked Mustang, and as the ad agency said: it 'had the excitement of wide-open spaces and was American as all hell.'"
So that's from Iacocca himself. The prototype was the plane, and the ad agency used animals to get there. Regardless, we have badass cars with a cool name.
Included is the prototype Ford Mustang I grill horse c. 1962. The name Mustang came from the WW II aircraft as Mr. Clucas mentions. A Ford designer named John Najjar coined the name & another Ford designer named Phil Clark came up with the prototype horse drawing! The rest is now history on this famous pony!!
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