The year was 2006, nearly 22 months after the debut of the fifth generation Ford Mustang, that Italdesign’s interpretation took to the stage of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Ford’s all-new muscle car had sparked the imaginations of the then independent coachbuilder, run by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio, and the Italians had set out to give a stock GT model some new clothes.
“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,” Fabrizio Giugiaro, then Italdesign’s styling director, said at the unveiling. “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.”
Giugiaro had pitched J Mays, Ford then Design VP and CCO, in 2005. His idea was to create a one-of-a-kind concept powered by Ford Racing technologies to mark the Italian coachbuilder’s first ever reveal at the Los Angeles auto show. After getting the green light, Giugiaro led the 2D design process and delivered a complete exterior model from the family studio in Turin in just four months.
“It seemed only fitting,” Mays said at the time. “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.”
Visually, the Mustang by Giugiaro appeared 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. But the vibrant orange concept was actually 30mm wider at the front and 80mm wider at the rear, gradually expanding over the length of the car.
With its longer hood and barely visible decklid, the car looked like a fastback in profile. Details throughout reinforced the freedom and rebellion synonymous with the Mustang, while Fabrizio’s fascination with American automotive icons shown through on the visible curl that swept into the crest of the concept’s carbon fiber fenders, hinting at tail fins of the 1950s.