Cars & Racing | 25 August 2016Art of The Mustang – The 1964 1/2 Hardtop Share article facebook twitter google pinterest When you think stunning American sports car, you likely think Mustang. There’s just something about the Mustang that is both nostalgic and intriguing, and when it comes to racing, Mustang has played a vital role in manufacturing some of the greatest models. The 1964 1/2 Hardtop is always a top contender. Take a closer look at Tom Loeser’s beautiful photographs with this excerpt from Art of The Mustang – Limited Edition. To Lee Iacocca, the outline of the 1965 Mustang hardtop was art. His favorite angle was the side profile that provided what he called “the Mona Lisa look.” It was utilized over and over in Ford’s early Mustang advertising—a white hardtop against a black background to show off the new pony car’s sexy long hood and short rear deck proportions. Two men deserve much of the credit for creating the look that Iacocca pictured in his mind for a brand-new sporty car to appeal to the emerging baby-boom generation. Chief Ford stylist Joe Oros was out of town for a weeklong seminar when he learned that Iacocca had requested a design competition between Ford’s three styling departments—Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and Advanced Projects. Upon his return, Oros gathered his Ford design team, which included Gale Halderman, to discuss the design goals for Iacocca’s new car. “I asked them to give consideration to three design elements,” Oros recalls. “Number one was a Ferrari-type mouthy air intake and a Maserati-like die-cast center motif for the grille. Number two was that we give serious thought to having an air intake just forward of the rear axle that might direct air to the rear brakes. And three was to have consideration for a personal Thunderbird-like greenhouse in a sporty fourseater configuration.” Halderman was preparing to work late one night, on deadline for a redesign of the 1965 Galaxie, when Oros requested sketches of the new small car. He needed them by 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Halderman continued his Galaxie duty at the studio until 11:00 p.m., then headed home to focus on Oros’ assignment. The following morning, Oros selected Halderman’s late-night drawing as one of the designs that would be molded in clay for Iacocca’s design competition. Halderman’s styling incorporated the long hood, short rear deck profile preferred by Iacocca, who admittedly admired the look of Lincoln’s 1956 Continental Mark II. As someone else explained, “A long hood indicates there’s a lot of engine under there.” Halderman’s sketch also incorporated side sculpturing that simulated rear-brake cooling scoops and taillights with three-element lenses. Both were incorporated into the clay model that was displayed, along with five models from the other styling departments, for Iacocca’s review on August 16, 1962. “When he saw our finished car, he just rolled his cigar in his mouth,” Halderman told Jim Smart during a Mustang Monthly interview. “I could see the gleam in his eye; he was pleased as punch.” The clay model made from Halderman’s sketch was later approved by Henry Ford II, and the Mustang was on its way to production with a projected introduction at the New York World’s Fair in April 1964. Other than the optional wire wheelcovers, Paul Segura’s Wimbledon White 1964 1/2 hardtop is identical to the “Mona Lisa look” Mustang that was used in much of Ford’s promotional material. With the base 170-cubic-inch six-cylinder and three-speed automatic, Paul’s hardtop was one of thousands sold at or near “$2,368 F.O.B. Detroit,” as the advertising copy touted. The Mustang and its advertising campaign rank among the most successful in automotive history, with Ford dealers selling nearly 700,000 units during the 1965 Mustang’s extended 16-month production cycle. Mustang sales would top one million in February 1966, less than two years after its introduction. Paul’s hardtop was built on July 30, 1964, just two weeks before Ford switched to 1965 production. Although Mustangs built between March 9 and mid-August, 1964, have become identified as 1964 1/2 models, all were actually titled as 1965s. Due to the Mustang’s early introduction, some five months before the usual September new-car intros, the early Mustangs were assembled during Ford’s 1964 production cycle and therefore have a number of 1964 characteristics, primarily components related to the generator charging system, which was updated to a more efficient alternator system for 1965. Paul bought his hardtop from the original owner in 1983, paying $600 for what Paul describes as a “basket case.” Over the next two years, Paul restored the Mustang himself except for the engine rebuild. For the past 30 years, Paul has been steadily making improvements in a process that he describes as “ongoing.” Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: This limited edition of Art of the Mustang celebrates over 50 years of iconic muscle car production! The Ford Mustang is arguably America’s most iconic muscle car. With some 10 million cars built, the brand is recognized and admired worldwide. This lavishly illustrated book, full of stunning studio photography, walks the reader through more than 50 years of Mustang history, focusing on the most interesting and popular models. From the first six-cylindered Mustang of 1964 1/2 through the heavy metal Boss and Mach 1 versions to today’s all-new 2015 Mustang, Art of the Mustang is a detailed visual overview of Mustang’s greatest hits, including anniversary and pace cars, high-performance models, SVO specials, and Shelby’s high-profile offerings. Photographer Tom Loeser’s stunning “light-painted” images are given context by informative text hitting the high points of each featured car, while period ads and brochures help round out the story. It’s the closest, clearest look you can get of these ponies without seeing them in person. This collector’s edition of Art of the Mustang is limited to just 500 copies. Each copy of the book is hand numbered and features a page signed by both the author and photographer. Also inside the presentation case are four framable photographic art prints of Mustangs featured in the book. This Motorbooks’ limited edition belongs in your Mustang library. 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