Art and photos courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives.
The fertile imaginations of automotive designers have produced awe-inspiring renderings of idea cars with thought-provoking innovations. The freedom to explore new horizons, without having to be overly concerned about current production viability which could stymie creativity, has fostered positive results like those shown here.
Ford designer Charlie McHose, who's also known for conceiving the body enhancements for the legendary 1967 Shelby G.T. 500, made these Mustang concept drawings of what would become the Mach 1 experimental car, as FoMoCo referred to it at the time. Because the renderings likely pushed the limits of what was feasible, even for a concept car, the actual Mach 1 built for show duty in late 1966 didn’t incorporate a number of the ideas depicted.
Nevertheless, it was still quite the attention grabber with some GT40 traits incorporated, a dramatically lowered roofline, two-seat layout, and flip-out toll windows. Mirrors were added to the fixed side windows and large quick-release gas caps were installed. The front and rear treatments were revised, but they differed somewhat from the renderings. Additionally, the Shelby-like lamps in the grille, the power dome hood, and the lower scoop shown in the lead drawing in this article weren’t used on the Mach 1. More intriguing elements presented in the renderings are discussed in the captions below.
The professional legacy of Charlie McHose endures in the remarkable designs he created at Ford. Fortunately, we can still appreciate these works of art and what their creator had envisioned in them. Just imagine blasting out of your local Ford dealer’s lot in a Mustang with the styling and equipment depicted here.
A one-piece front clip that raised via remote control using electric motors would have been a crowd pleaser on the show circuit, but the finished Mach 1 concept didn’t have it. So too, would the Weber-carbureted 427, yet the multiple press releases we’ve seen regarding the show car don’t mention the engine.
The backlite with "laminated opaque strips" to keep the sun and heat out but retain proper vision and the rear spoiler that could serve as an airbrake were pretty ambitious, yet fun to consider. Though neither made it to the show car, a ducktail rear spoiler was added as part of the 1968 revisions.
The restyled for 1968 version of the Mach 1 did receive a hatchback that could be “opened hydraulically from inside the car,” according to Ford.
First shown with the frontend design above, the Mach 1's extensive restyling for 1968 is obvious in the color photo below.
The front and rear revisions are evident in the profile as well.
The new hatchback and ducktail spoiler, as well as the revised exhaust outlets for 1968 are shown below.
Article courtesy of Hemmings, written by Thomas A. DeMauro.