2005 Ford Mustang captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans
and future owners when the all-new model debuted. But the proportions
and design of Ford’s first purpose-built muscle car in 30-plus
years caught the eyes and sparked the imaginations of a pair of the
world’s leading coachbuilders in Italy as well.
“When we saw the new Mustang, we knew
two things: It was the best we’d seen since the original,
and we had to get our hands on one,” said Fabrizio Giugiaro,
styling director of Italdesign – Giugiaro S.P.A. “We
still believe it’s important to show the automotive world
pure exercises in style that interpret key models reflecting the
history and image of important brands.”
So in early 2005, Giugiaro pitched J Mays, Ford
Motor Company’s group vice president, Design and chief creative
officer, on his idea to do an Italian job on the beloved Mustang.
The result: Mustang by Giugiaro – a one-of-a-kind concept
powered by Ford Racing technologies, marking the Italian coachbuilder’s
first reveal at the inaugural November Los Angeles Auto Show.
“It seemed only fitting,” said Mays.
“This design study reinforces the global appeal of Mustang,
yet it’s right at home in L.A. – America’s most
enthusiastic performance and muscle car market. Plus, design icon
Giorgetto Giugairo’s offer to work his magic on Mustang alongside
his son underscores the timelessness allure of Ford’s most
Design aficionados will remember that the senior
Giugiaro – who last year celebrated his 50 th anniversary
in the business by designing a custom-made Ferrari, the GG50 –
created the 1965 Bertone Mustang. The car, which was unmistakably
Italian in its interpretation, became the first European-styled
car to make its international debut in America following the end
of World War II.
The senior Giugiaro’s portfolio includes
concept and production designs for nearly every automaker in the
world – from Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen to Mazda, Lotus
and Bugatti. Since joining ItalDesign, the family firm, in 1990,
Fabrizio Giugiaro has helped deliver key global designs as well,
but American automotive icons have long captured his attention.
He designed the Chevrolet Corvette Moray, unveiled
in early 2003, and was eager to expand the collection of Giugiaro-interpreted
Fabrizio Giugiaro led the 2-D design process
on the Mustang by Giugiaro concept, allowing him to deliver a complete
exterior model from the family’s Turin, Italy, studios in
just four months.
Visually, the Mustang by Giugiaro appears more
compact than the production car, thanks to a reduction of the rear
overhang and a signature Giugiaro “trick” of tapering
the angles on the car to the limit of its mechanical outlines.
Still, the Italian version of America’s
most popular muscle car hasn’t lost any of its swagger.
The vibrant orange concept is wider than the
production version. The Giugiaros added 30 millimeters to the front,
gradually expanding the width by a full 80 millimeters toward the
rear, which is typical in Italian design.
With its longer hood and the trunk barely visible,
the car looks more of a fastback in side view. But details throughout
reinforce the freedom and rebellion synonymous with Mustang. Fabrizio
Giugiaro’s favorites include:
- The interior – featuring a
dramatic instrument panel that sweeps the width of the car; circular
gauges that project from behind the steering wheel; dark brown
horsehide-covered headrests with horse logo accents; and seat
cushions and backrests elaborately upholstered in dark brown mottled
- The single curved glass panel that
bridges the windshield and rear window, serving as the concept’s
roof. Produced by Solutia of Detroit, the panel is made from a
special type of crystal that filters out 100 percent of UVA rays
while providing unfettered vista views.
- Its dramatic doors, which are hinged
at the base of the upright A-pillar and open vertically at the
touch of a button.
- Bespoke taillights, which are three
separate elements as found on the 1964 Mustang – but reinterpreted
into a more dramatic arrow shape that links to the louver panels
that replace the rear side windows.
- The visible curl that sweeps into
the crest of the concept’s carbon fiber fenders, hinting
at tail fins that defined American cars of the ‘50s.
- The sporting-but-elegant unique
20-inch rims, fitted with 275/40 tires on the front and larger
315/35 tires on the rear.
As its wheels and tires suggest, the
Mustang by Giugiaro is more than just a tribute to Mustang design.
It also is an exclamation of the car’s heritage of performance.
The concept features a powertrain and
chassis enhanced in conjunction with Ford Racing – which is
responsible for Ford Motor Company motorsports development and operations.
Ford Racing’s efforts include
the development and sale of a race-prepared version of the Mustang,
called the FR500C, for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series. In its
first season alone, the FR500C scored five wins in the 2005 GS Class,
including the manufacturers’ championship, in which Mustang
bested other production-based sports cars, including the BMW M3
and Porsche 911.
This Mustang, a turn-key race car sold
to privateers, provided the inspiration for the Mustang by Giugiaro
concept’s performance and handling attributes.
Ford Racing improved on the already-robust
300 horsepower all-aluminum 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engine in the
production Mustang GT by adding an intercooled twin-screw supercharger
for the new concept. Additional improvements include fuel injectors
from the Ford GT and a unique engine calibration. Engine air intake
is increased with a larger 95 mm mass air meter and a conical air
filter. Exhaust performance is enhanced with new Ford Racing mufflers
and an X-pipe.
The powertrain upgrades deliver an
estimated 500 horsepower, complete with a boost level of 11 psi
from the Ford Racing supercharger. A high-efficiency Ford Racing
aluminum radiator provides increased cooling capability to accompany
the extra 200 horsepower provided under hood.
Under the car, the FR500C-inspired
chassis tuning is accomplished with a tailored Ford Racing Handling
Pack. This package, available through Ford Racing for the Mustang
GT, adds new Dynamic-tuned dampers, lowering springs and anti-sway
bars. The changes give the car a lower stance while sharpening handling
response. The car rides approximately 1.5 inches lower than the
production Mustang GT.
“The Mustang by Giugiaro drives
as good as it looks,” said Fabrizio Giugiaro. “After
taking it to the limits on streets outside of Turin, I can honestly
say this car was well worth the 30,000 hours of blood, sweat and
tears that we invested to create a modern performance classic.”