Los Angeles, December 1, 2006.
When it was introduced to the media during the North American International Auto Show nearly three years ago, the new 2005 Ford Mustang captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans and future owners.
As it turns out, the proportions and design of Ford's first purpose-built muscle car in 30-plus years also sparked the imaginations of a pair of the world's leading coachbuilders in Italy as well.
"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 - Giugiaro S.P.A.
So in early 2005, Giugiaro pitched J Mays, Ford Motor Company's group vice president, Design, and chief creative officer, on his idea to do an Italian job on the beloved Mustang. The result: Mustang by Giugiaro - a one-of-a-kind concept powered by Ford Racing technologies, marking the Italian coachbuilder's first reveal at the inaugural November media week for the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be unveiled to the media tonight.
"It seemed only fitting," said Mays, who will introduce the concept on Wednesday at Ford's press conference for the L.A. Auto Show. "This design study reinforces the global appeal of Mustang, yet it's right at home in L.A. - America's most enthusiastic performance and muscle car market. Plus, when design icon Giorgetto Giugairo offered to work his magic on Mustang alongside his son, it underscores the timeless allure of Ford's most iconic car."
Design aficionados will remember that 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. The car, which was unmistakably Italian in its interpretation, became the first European-styled car to make its international debut in America following the end of World War II.
This time, it was Giugiaro's son, Fabrizio, who led the 2-D design process on the Mustang by Giugiaro concept, allowing him to deliver a complete exterior model from the family's studios in Turin, Italy, 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.
The vibrant orange concept is wider than the production version. The Giugiaros added 30 millimeters to the front, gradually expanding the width by a full 80 millimeters toward the rear, which is typical in Italian design. With its longer hood and the trunk barely visible, the car looks more of a fastback in side view.
The concept features a powertrain and chassis enhanced in conjunction with Ford Racing - which efforts include the development and sale of a race-prepared version of the Mustang, called the FR500C. In its first season on the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, 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.
Ford Racing improved on the already-robust 300 horsepower all-aluminum 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engine in the production Mustang GT by adding an intercooled twin-screw supercharger for the new concept. The powertrain upgrades deliver 500 horsepower, complete with a boost level of 11 psi from the Ford Racing supercharger.
A high-efficiency Ford Racing aluminum radiator provides increased cooling capability to accompany the extra 200 horsepower provided under hood. Enhancements to the appearance of the engine compartment include special Ford Racing chrome cam covers and fluid fill caps.
Under the car, the FR500C-inspired chassis includes the same brake equipment used on the race car. The changes give the car a lower stance, riding approximately 1.5 inches lower than the production Mustang GT, while sharpening handling response.
"The Mustang by Giugiaro drives as good as it looks," said Fabrizio 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."
1965 Ford Mustang by Bertone (Giugiaro). Design aficionados will remember that 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. The car, which was unmistakably Italian in its interpretation, became the first European-styled car to make its international debut in America following the end of World War II.