Ford might finally be done looking to the past for design inspiration and be ready to forge a new path into pony-car future.
Since its introduction as a 1964 1/2 model, the Mustang has defined the pony car and led the industry in innovation. Well, aside from a few questionable years when some might say the Mustang lost its soul. Okay, maybe 30 questionable years depending on who you ask. The 1974 through 2004 Mustangs might be best described as “polarizing,” but they still had a loyal following and sold ridiculously well.
But it wasn’t until the retro-styled 2005 Mustang debuted that the pony car was re-invented. Since then the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro have spawned modern takes of their old selves. But how long can looking into the past provide for a rewarding future? Ford thinks the answer to that question is 2014.
The completely redesigned 2014 Ford Mustang won’t be another retro job, according to Ford design chief J Mays. He explained that the next version of the Mustang will follow a different path but that its design is still in the process of being “locked down.”
The challenge or the opportunity for 2014 with a 50th-anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well.
That won’t be an easy task. In fact, what Mays has to do is create a car that does what that very first Mustang did: infuse an immediate passion among car enthusiasts and make it affordable to them. If the new design fails to capture the hearts and imaginations of the Mustang’s rabid fan base and does nothing to bring a new generation into the world of pony cars, Ford will have failed and ceded the market to Dodge and Chevy. If, on the other hand, a new-generation Mustang is embraced by car fans, Ford will have once again set the standard in innovation and will happily watch its competitors begin to imitate.
So what exactly can we expect from the 2014 Mustang? I think the new Ford Evos concept would be a good start. Some 5-spoke wheels, a corralled Mustang on the grille and a pumped-up 5.0 under the hood would work nicely. Better yet, just give designers a BMW M3 and tell them to make the next Mustang better.
Can a non-retro Ford Mustang succeed?