Before the Ford Mustang arrived in the 1960s to create an iconic model, the American carmaker had to examine a few potential prototypes. Oddly enough, three design studios submitted potential options, including Ford Studios, Lincoln-Mercury Studios, and Advanced Products Studio.
Since Ford evaluated most of these prototypes secretly, they’ve mostly been kept away from the public eye. Thankfully, the American carmaker just released these in-depth images so we could see exactly what could’ve been. While they say, hindsight is 20/20, one of these prototypes remains the undisputed champion.
Various design studios cooked up Ford Mustang prototypes
Let’s start this look at these Ford Mustang prototypes with this Lincoln-Mercury Studios designed example. While we’re looking at just one prototype, Lincoln-Mercury designed several different versions of this iconic sports car, even including a fastback model.
One thing that is important to note about all of these Ford Mustang prototypes is that they are all made out of clay with no powertrain under the hood. Additionally, all of these design houses competed back to back on the same day.
While Lincoln-Mercury featured a few different variations, Ford executives didn’t choose to go with any of them. If we had to guess, these prototypes look very much of the time period, not revolutionary. Regardless, the availability of various body styles might’ve planted the seed for the production model.
Advanced Products Studio’s design remains sleek and sharp
Next up in this look at older Ford Mustang prototypes comes one of the submissions from Advanced Products Studio. As far as these prototypes go, the one embedded above is easily the sharpest. Aside from a pronounced front grille and a massive hood bulge, this prototype has a significant presence.
Additionally, out of all of these prototypes, this example seems to take heavy inspiration from some European vehicles of the time. It’s anyone’s guess why this design didn’t make the cut. Regardless Ford chose one of Advanced Products Studio’s other designs to create the Allegro concept car of the 1960s.
Like with Lincoln-Mercury, Advanced Products Studio presented various prototypes ranging from fastbacks to long-hooded grand tourers. While the winning design is undoubtedly an icon, it is definitely interesting to get a peek at what could’ve been.
Here is the winning Ford Mustang prototype
The Ford Mustang prototype embedded above should look quite familiar given that it won the design competition. Unlike the other competing design studios, Ford Studio submitted this one clay model. Instead of creating various body styles, the design studio opted to showcase different door styles on each side.
While this Ford Mustang prototype might look quite similar to the car that made it into production, there are some notable changes. For starters, we’ve got a slightly shorter front bumper with a more pronounced license plate holder. Additionally, the car’s headlights aren’t quite as rounded as the production spec.
Most importantly, the iconic Mustang logo didn’t exist at this point, featuring an entirely different design. Regardless of which is design is technically the best, the winning prototype was good enough to become an icon.