The Original Mustang Prototype
Hindsight: The very first Ford Mustang prototype was built in Culver City, California, by Troutman-Barnes
When Ford took aim at the younger sports-car buyer during the early ’60s, the company did it with a Mustang 1, a fully functional, hand-built prototype designed by Roy Lunn and crafted by Troutman-Barnes of Culver City, California. The engine was a rear-mounted 60-degree V-4 with four-speed transaxle taken from the FWD Taunus, a Ford of Europe product. The compact 1,498cc engine and transaxle were mounted behind the driver and produced 89hp at 6,600rpm, and was good for 0 to 60 times of 11.1 seconds and quarter-mile ETs of 17.4 at 76mph. The aluminum-bodied Mustang I made its debut in October 1962 at the U. S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Dan Gurney, in a non-competitive demonstration drive, drove the 1,200lb two-seater at speeds in excess of 100mph, though some reports say 120mph. Only the Mustang name and emblem from this prototype found their way to production vehicles.
This photo, which appeared in the November 1962 issue of Motor Trend, shows the Mustang 1 being built at Troutman-Barnes. That’s Tom Barnes (at left) and Dick Troutman (on the right), with Wayne Guyer in the background, beating out final aluminum panels for the Mustang. They also made the tube frame for the prototype. To see some more photos of the car, check out Mustang-360.com.