Filed under: History
Like any self-respecting 3-year old, my son has a passion for Hot Wheels. He likes to line them all up in a big line, give them names, race them, etc… He’s also pretty good at labeling each with their genre. Anything without fenders or with flames is a hot rod. Anything with a chopped top is a custom. And, anything low and red is a Ferrari.
Of course, this labeling system isn’t 100% accurate. Just a few weeks ago, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I replied with my standard answer.
“Son, I want a Ferrari.”
So, the big day comes and he hands me a wad of wrapping paper secured by loops of scotch tape. I open it up (as he smiles uncontrollably) to find a bright red wedge with wheels. I have to admit, it did look like something Pininfarina would pen up… But it was actually Hot Wheel’s rendition of the 1962 Mustang concept car… In red.
The 1962 Mustang concept was never meant for production. Essentially, it was spawned from Lee Iacocca’s idea that Ford needed a way to reach a younger generation of drivers with an affordable sports car. This concept would be his way to test market interest. He setup a design contest within his design house and let everyone take a crack at penning Ford’s newest concept car. After two weeks of sculpting, a young Joe Oros’s design was chosen as the winner and the car was quickly produced and put on the show circuit. And it was market excitement over the concept idea that eventually lead to the first production mustang.
Typical concept car story I guess… But, what interests me is the absolute difference between the concept and the final production car. How Ford started with a light mid-engine/4-cyl sports car and ended with a front-engine V8 is beyond me. But, I guess it worked for them…