How one car grabbed the imagination of many

Design in many guises played a role to put the iconic Ford Mustang on the map. When this icon was introduced 50 years ago this April, it was first in a class that would come to be known as pony cars. Designed with a long hood and a short rear deck, the Mustang had a slick devil-may-care look. It grabbed Americans’ imagination and 22 000 cars were ordered by April 196 when it strutted onto the market. Communication design, as we know it today, also came into play when naming car for a horse. Mustangs are free-roaming, wild horses found in western USA and are thought to be descendant from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The Mustang conjures up ideas of freedom and ruggedness. As Paul Stenquist says in the New York Times, “The drama that imagery invoked was supported by the car’s fresh style and a galloping steed on the grille.” Ford had projected first-year sales of about 100,000 Mustangs but instead, it sold 418,812, setting a single-year sales record. Any bets that design played a substantial role in these figures?