Ford has used the slogan “Everyone has a Mustang story” since revealing the sixth-generation muscle car and accompanying documentary in 2015. As its successor rolls around for the 2024 model year, the company is still using the expression, but also evokes that nostalgic feeling through Easter Eggs in style and substance, nodding to old ponycar designs.
“People who work on the Mustang team are enthusiasts. So we have people who are passionate about the Mustang itself, who have their own Mustang stories, because everyone has a Mustang story,” said Ford Mustang Marketing Director Jim Owens at a press event ahead of the Detroit Auto Show.
“But it’s not just the team that works on the Mustang. It’s the leadership. It’s the Ford family. You know, Bill Ford had almost every Mustang, he graduated from Ford Performance Racing School. Jim Farley drives a Mustang on the weekends,” Owens said.
The retro nods begin with the three-bar taillight design, a nameplate feature, which has now been transferred to the headlights. The new rear design retains the three lighted sections with sequential turn signals, but designer Chris Walter (whose Mustang story includes a 2010 GT with lowering springs and a racing exhaust) angled them outward to added width to the vehicle and tucked them into the body for a three-dimensional visual effect.
“Some guys came up to me and asked if we were doing the new wider one,” Walter said. “The corners are pulled in just a bit, but we haven’t increased the track. Visually that angle makes the rear of the car look wider, then at long distance, if you’re driving on the road, it gives you some nice taillights to follow. They’re just a little bit bold and in your face.”
The third generation Ford Mustang was one of the classics with a history, spanning from 1978 to 1993. It rode on Ford’s Fox platform, earning it its Fox Body moniker. It’s been featured in movies like Back to the Future II and Goonies, TV shows like 21 Jump Street, and Vanilla Ice’s rap videos.
As part of the large, customizable digital instrument panel, 2024 Mustang owners will be able to digitally duplicate the third-generation vehicle’s analog gauges. In daytime, it looks like white numbers and hashes on a black background. At night, it switches to green indications, as it was in the 1980s.
“We’re introducing a Fox Body thing, because when I was in high school, everyone wanted a Fox Body,” said Ford Mustang interior designer Ricardo Garcia. “We not only captured the daytime appearance, but also the nighttime appearance. It was exclusive back then, but now you don’t have any of the issues that we would have had back then.”
Even people who aren’t car enthusiasts have Mustang stories. It could be a parent’s special project, a cousin’s car, a sister’s boyfriend’s most prized possession. Nearly 60 years ago to tap. With the seventh generation, still gasoline-powered, there will be at least a few more stories in the years to come.