Concept Outake: How The ’61 Continental Influenced the 1964 Mustang’s Styling

Since we’re on the subject of Mustangs, and their design influence, let’s go back to 1962 or so, and see how the design development program for it changed rather abruptly after the 1961 Continental went into production and became a major influence on other Ford cars as well as the competition’s.

Here we see one of several concepts that was part of the Mustang’s design evolution. This one, the Allegro from 1962, has quite a bit of Corvair Monza influence, except for the front end. That’s hardly surprising, given how the Monza coupe’s success was the trigger that really launched the Mustang project. In a curious coincidence (or not) the Allegro is wearing Comet wheel covers, which are almost identical to those on the 1960½ Monza.

Elwood Engel’s concept for the 1961 Thunderbird was rejected, but got a second life when it was adopted for the Continental. Its slab sides with that upkick over the rear wheels, roof, rear window, and aspects of the rear fenders all found their way into the final Mustang program, in a complete about face from the Allegro.

Obviously, the Mustang’s trademark side scallop and fake air intake, a key part of the original mid-engine Mustang I, added some distinct character to the slab sides, but the influence from the Continental is unmistakable.