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Ford designers fought for Mustang gig

Horse on the menu: Ford’s Mustang chief designer, Kemal Curic sketched GoAuto an impression of his first concepts, but could they point to the future, too?

Ford's Mustang designer beat stiff competition and 350 entries to pen the iconic car

Ford logo1 Oct 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER in LOS ANGELES

THE designer responsible for styling Ford’s first global Mustang, fought off competition from 350 other hopeful contenders in a fierce worldwide internal competition.

Designers at Ford’s design houses around the world were invited to submit concepts for the fifth-generation Mustang more than two years ago, and the subsequent entries were put though a rigorous appraisal process.

Of the 350 initial 2D sketches, just nine were selected to be brought to life in small-scale clay models, and from the handful of finalists just four were created in full-scale life-size models.

The winning styling would have to appeal to both native US markets and a new worldwide audience, making the 2015 Mustang design possibly the most challenging in the car’s 50-year history.

Speaking at the global launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang, creator of the winning design, Kemal Curic told GoAuto that heading up the exterior design team of such an iconic and beloved car was both an honour and a challenge.

Mr Curic explained that the task of working with so many pony-car enthusiasts was “easy” but at times the passion of his colleagues could result in loggerheads.

“The best thing about working on the Mustang project is that everyone knows about Mustang. The worst thing about working on the Mustang project is that everyone knows about Mustang,” he said.

The process to get the 2015 Mustang off the drawing board and onto its wheels took two years, but it was only after the final full-scale model that the design team knew their design would work.

27 center imageLeft: Ford Mustang design manager Kemal Curic.

One of the final stages was to coat the clay model in ‘dyno’ film and a first coat of paint, which finally brought the newest ’Stang to life, enabling the final finishing and perfecting touches.

“You see all of the lines for the first time,” he said. “Even the ones I screwed up.”

The Bosnian-born designer said for the Mustang he drew inspiration from human forms and the famous Coca-Cola bottle profile, and accompanied his explanation with the sketch seen here.

“The Coke bottle is the absolute perfect shape – it’s like the woman’s body, but the Coke bottle is more politically correct,” he said.

“I'm obsessed with shoulders.”

But the design of the Mustang wasn’t just a creative endeavour, and technological advances were necessary to make the final shape a reality.

To enable the Mustang’s muscular rear arch and side-panel, Ford’s body experts had to develop the deepest panel press ever used by the Blue Oval.

With the 2015 design now long into production, the Mustang team is not lying idle, and Mr Curic said he is already working on the next-generation Mustang.

Perhaps there could be a few clues in his sketches shown here.

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