Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
May 4, 2016
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

In Alexandria, Virginia, the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum (NIHF) will reveal a unique Ford Mustang. The specially built Ford combines a 1965 convertible to a 2015 convertible in a unique side-by-side display that features operating interiors. At the May 4 unveiling ceremony, Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford will also be highlighted at the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

According to Ford, the split-personality Mustang is part of a new, permanent Intellectual Property Power™ Exhibit at the National Inventors Hall of Fame museum on the United States Patent and Trademark Office Campus in Alexandria, Virginia. The paired convertibles will celebrate the history of Ford Mustang, along with the innovation and technology that has continued for over 50 years. “The intellectual property and illuminates its significance to progress, innovation, and culture in America, as well as how trademarks, patents, and other forms of intellectual property make modern amenities possible,” says Chris Danowski, Ford director of technology commercialization and intellectual property licensing. “The interactive display is designed to highlight the importance of patents and the tremendous march of technology over the decades. It calls out various patents in the current vehicle, as well as those in the original pony car.”

Along with the Mustang, Ford has a rich history in America and has been a leader and innovator in regards to manufacturing, safety and performance. “Ford and its employee volunteers have also been involved for the past 20 years with Camp Invention, a program of NIHF,” added Danowski. “Camp Invention is one of the nation’s premier summer enrichment programs and leverages hands-on activities to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and builds 21st century skills.

“Everything moved so fast in the design and run-up to production of the original Mustang that there were no styling patents issued back then,” Danowski stated. “Now look at the current car; 2015 Mustang Convertible alone was granted 36 styling patents, which ensure the unique look stays with the car. It also has many unique functional patents for things like the airbag structures, 911 Assist and so many other technologies baked right in.” Amazingly, no styling patents existed when the first model was introduced. But by 1965, Mustang over 100 of Ford’s functional patents existed. “Those patents reflect some of the touches customers loved back then, including a rear-seat speaker and a power convertible top. Normal conveniences we now take for granted were also involved, like Patent 3,271,540 – the origin of Ford’s self-canceling turn signal,” says Danowski.

Enthusiasts are the real beneficiaries of the popular design, performance and engineering that’s built into every Ford Mustang. Mustang was actually the very first passenger to have knee airbag system packaged inside the glove box door, with 15 patents granted. Mustang owners also enjoy features such as the electronic line-lock and launch control for drag racing. And here’s something you may not know, Mustang incorporates a patented relief in the seat cushion to allow a wallet or phone in an occupant’s back pocket to protrude further into the seat for more comfort.

The display features 60 percent of each car’s driver compartment in order to showcase the gauge package, center stack and center console. “The left side consists of a reproduction 1965 left-hand-drive Mustang licensed for modern production by Ford and built to the same specifications as the original car—in itself an example of the licensing benefits of intellectual property. The other side is a right-hand-drive 2015 Mustang that is sold in several of the 150 countries where the car is now available,” explained Danowski.

Ford stated that museum visitors are encouraged to sit in either side of the car in order to compare features and styling details. It will be easy to see all the innovation, but the museum added accompanying monitors and over speakers to provide additional information. Visitors to the display will also be able to hear the sounds of the original 1965 Mustang V8 engine and a 2015 Mustang V8 engine at idle.