The author of the design of the “first” Ford Mustang diedMay 2, 2020
Gail Halderman, the original Ford Mustang designer, passed away at the Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, Ohio, USA. According to the family, recently, 87-year-old Halderman has been fighting liver cancer.
Gail joined Ford in 1953 as a full-time designer at Lincoln-Mercury, but after a while the young specialist was transferred to Ford Design Studio, where he took part in developing the styling of cars from the main Ford line. The changes he made to the cars of 1957 turned out to be quite successful, which immediately affected sales – at the end of the year Ford came out on top and overtook the Chevrolet.
Diligence praised and appointed Gale as the design manager for Ford Design Studio, and its head, Joe Oros, took over as director. In 1962, Ford Vice President Lee Iacocca decided to release an affordable sports car. The design of the new model was commissioned to come up with three departments: Ford Design Studio, Lincoln-Mercury and Advanced Design. In August 1962, five or six sketches of Halderman, which he sketched the night before at home, lay on the table of Oros, along with proposals from other designers. And one of these sketches, showing the car from the driver’s side, became the basis for the first plasticine layout of the future Mustang.
Later, Iacocca described the dynamic and slightly Italian design of the pony car: “It looked like the layout was moving.” Twelve months later, the car from the sketch of Halderman became serial, and for the first three days of sales, dealers collected 22 thousand orders.
In the first six months of 1964, Ford sold 126,000 cars, and already in 1965 – more than 500,000. A year later, Ford reported on 607,500 sold Mustangs.
After leaving Ford in 1994, Halderman converted the barn at his farm into a museum, where he exhibited a small collection of cars and design sketches. At the same time, the creator of the Mustang allocated part of the room for the exposure of vintage cameras to his daughter Karen Koenig.
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