Giugiaro has revised the Ford Mustang for the LA Auto Show -- and it doesn't look too bad. What's more, the supercharged concept is 200bhp up on the basic car.
“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. “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.”
In early 2005, Giugiaro pitched Ford's design VP, J Mays, his idea to do an Italian job on the beloved Mustang. The result: Mustang by Giugiaro – a one-off 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 LA – 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 iconic car.”
Giugiaro led the 2D design process on the 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.
That said, the vibrant orange concept is wider than the production version. It's 30mm wider at the front, gradually expanding the width by a full 80mm toward the rear. And according to Ford, with its longer bonnet and the minimal boot, the car looks more of a fastback in side view.
Fabrizio Giugiaro’s favourite details 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 horse hides.
- 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 all UVA rays while providing 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 louvre 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 tyres on the front and larger 315/35 tyres on the rear.
The concept features a powertrain and chassis enhanced in conjunction with Ford Racing, which is responsible for Ford's 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-aluminium 4.6-litre 3-valve V8 engine in the production Mustang GT by adding an inter-cooled 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 exhausts and an X-pipe.
The powertrain upgrades deliver an estimated 500bhp -- some 200bhp more -- complete with a boost level of 11 psi from the Ford Racing supercharger. A high-efficiency Ford Racing aluminium radiator provides increased cooling capability.
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 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.”
The senior Giugiaro – who last year celebrated his 50th anniversary in the business by designing a custom-made Ferrari, the GG50 – created the 1965 Bertone Mustang, which 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 carmaker 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 American metal.