"It's still a very important car for us after 50 years," said Moray Callum, Ford executive design director, in an interview. "It still epitomizes what Ford does well, high performance as a sports car, available to the man in the street." The first Mustang was introduced April 17, 1964.
The design team in Dearborn, Mich., began its work in 2009 in the usual manner, surveying potential customers about what a vehicle means to them. Some, of course, recalled Steve McQueen, who drove a Mustang in the enduring 1968 movie Bullitt. Others envisioned a puma ready to pounce and an image of a fist breaking through a sheet of glass.
"There is nothing subtle about Mustang," Callum said. "It needs to be a fist, something bold and raw about being American. It's about giving the customer some freedom, and the open road."
The new Mustang will offer at least 300 horsepower and will be available in fall 2014. It will feature a lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height, and wider rear fenders and track. The Mustang fastback has returned, with a sleeker profile, a steeply sloped windshield and rear glass. "The things we tried to do with design were to be sleeker, wider, a little bit less heavy with an element of agility," Callum said.
Larry Printz, automotive editor for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, called Mustang "a halo car," despite its low sales.