Mustang MonthlyNews & Views
Best Quotes and Comments from Ford Executives and Designers
Over past decades, many of the Ford executives and designers who worked on the early Mustangs have granted interviews to discuss their involvement with the iconic ponycar. Here’s a collection of some of their best comments and recollections.
George ShumakerManager, Mustang/Falcon Studio (starting July 1964) for design of the ’67-’69 Mustangs
The ’67 had more money spent on it than the ’65, especially the interior. A good example is the individual taillights on the ’67; they cost more than in ’65 and looked it.
A bigger, stronger platform was needed for bigger engines, which was another very practical reason for the ’67 redesign. Many corporate people had harbored doubts about the ’65 Mustang, but when it did become a money-maker, it suddenly got viability. Everybody wanted on the bandwagon, then more money was allocated for a ‘”total” Mustang program. Therefore, a total redesign from a marketing point of view was necessary.
For ’67, they tried once again to cool the rear brakes (with functional side scoops), but it failed because there wasn’t room to install the ducting. Plus, the cost guys came in and claimed that it was going to add a lot of money to production. I remember Joe Oros, director of the Ford studio, getting in heated arguments with the body and assembly people as to why he couldn’t have his scoops. (Mustang Monthly interview, June 1983)
Larry ShinodaDesigner, ’69 Boss 302
There was going to be a performance Mustang. But they were going to call it the “SR-2,” which stood for Sports Racing or Sedan Racing Group II, which I thought was a dumb name. So I suggested they call it “Boss.” The 302 got the name first, then they relegated it to the 429. That was something (Bunkie) Knudsen wanted to do.
I drove one that was sort of a pseudo Boss Mustang. It had the stripes, sports slats, and the scoops were taken off the (rear) fenders. It had all the wrappings of a Boss Mustang but it was a 428. I sold it to a tailor in Birmingham, Michigan, then he sold it to someone else. I kind of wish I still had it.
Initially, they (Ford) were saying that any kind of bolt-on aerodynamic stuff was bull, that you didn’t need it. In fact, they fought the rear wing because they said (the Mustang SportsRoof) had a spoiler already. And the front air dam? They argued about that too. (Mustang Monthly interview, August 1981)
Richard NesbittDesigner, ’74 Mustang II hardtop
From the indications we had from product planning, it was actually pretty exciting that it (Mustang II) was going to be an American version of the Capri. But when Iacocca decided to go with more of the Thunderbird flavor, it seemed to lose a lot from the enthusiast point of view. And we missed the idea of a performance car. There were some really great cars in the parking lot – Boss 351s and cars like that - and it was hard to believe that they were going to disappear.
Iacocca had come down with an edict that nobody over 30 years old was supposed to be working on the boards or submitting proposals. I was 25 at the time so I was good with that.
We put together hundreds of proposals, and Iacocca and design director Al Mueller came by to review the work. They selected a fastback design by one of our studio designers, Howard “Buck” Mook. At that point, Mook was directed to follow up with a clay model for presentation and competition with the other studios. I believe there were four or five clay proposals and they selected our design. (Mustang Monthly interview, February 2014)