As we all know by now, next week the 2015 Ford Mustang will be revealed, and while we all think we have a pretty good idea what it'll look like, we're still excited. Some visibly so. There's been lots of takes on the Mustang theme in the past, but I think these two from Giugiaro, separated by 40 years, are some of the best.
Most of us don't associate Giugiaro or the company he founded, Italdesign, with Mustangs, and that's sensible — no serially-produced Mustangs have been designed by Italdesign. And when you look at these two one-off Mustangs, you may not even, at least at first, associate them with what you think of when you think of Giugiaro.
Personally, my mind always leaps to the crisp, hard-edged period of Giugiaro designs: the original Golf/Rabbit, the DeLorean, the Lotus Esprit. These Mustangs show different sides of what Giugiaro could produce. They may not be the iconic style we think of first, but they're both clearly from the G-man and both quite striking.
The first is a concept Mustang created back in 1965, when Giugiaro was working for Bertone. The Bertone Mustang is, as you can see, a deeply, wrenchingly handsome car. It looks a lot like Giugiaro's Iso Rivolta, especially in profile, and looking at it is likely to cause involuntary groans of deep desire. Just try to ignore them.
The Bertone Mustang was born when Automobile Quarterly founder L.Scott Bailey realized that the Europeans just weren't getting what made the Mustang so delightful to Americans, and, unlike most of us who'd just comment on that with a facepalm GIF or something like that, Bailey actually decided to do something about it.
That something was getting Ford and Bertone together, a meeting which resulted in a Mustang chassis being delivered to the Italian design house. On that chassis a young Giugiaro designed a stunning body that captured European style but retained a certain American athleticism and presence.
There's an awful lot of Iso Grifo in the design, which shouldn't be shocking, as Giugiaro designed the Grifo for Bertone in 1963. Having a lot of Iso Grifo in anything is not a bad thing at all, and along with a general sense of proportion, greenhouse design, and overall aesthetic, the two cars seem to share front indicators as well.
The Bertone Mustang hides its quad headlamps behind the grille for a very clean, purposeful look, and really emphasizes that familiar running horse. The whole car has a tailored, elegant look to it, which makes it all the more sad that nobody seems to know where the hell it is today.
After it was shown at the New York auto show in 1965, it was allegedly sold to a European collector, and from there nothing more is known about the car's fate. If that's not a reason to raid every barn across Europe, I don't know what is.
There are some who claim to know where the car is. Ex-Jalop writer Justin Hyde reported on a forum post that read
"The car in question, and it's [sic] location are known by a select few. The current owner does not care to speak with anyone about it (as of January 2010) as it is his/hers."
An owner has the right to do what they please with their car, but for something like this, I'd really hope its existence would be made public. It seems only right to do so.
About 40 years later, Giugiaro/Italdesign decided to take another stab at the Mustang, and the result, a 2006 concept usually just called the Ford Mustang Giugiaro, still looks modern and plausible enough to be the next Mustang.
Of course, it was never actually any next Mustang, but the look certainly meshed well with the fifth generation Mustang released in 2005. Giugiaro's revised take on the Mustang keeps all the usual Mustang traits — classic long hood/short deck proportions, triple-bar taillights, fastback roof and central (likely dummy) rear fuel filler — but manages to make them feel fresh and modern.
The 2006 concept had its share of show-car gimmickry as well: scissor doors, full glass roof that flows unbroken from windshield to rear window, and, maybe most shockingly, lots and lots of horse fur in the interior.
I think the rear is the most dramatic part, with the traditional Mustang three-bar taillights tapering into the concave rear fascia, and the rear quarter side windows are an interesting halfway point between glass window and louvers.
It's a car with a great look and stance, and I'm sure many people would be quite happy to see the next Mustang look a hell of a lot like this. Especially with the way it looks in that engine bay. Sure, bewildering to try and work on, but it sure does look cool.
And who knows? Maybe it will. I'm personally secretly hoping for something like the 1966 one, but my attorney councils a policy devoid of breath-holding.