Here’s a design proposal I hadn’t seen before stumbling onto it at glen.h’s excellent collection of such. Why not just replace McNamara’s Falcon with a line of Mustangs across the board? I can just see Lee Iaccoca’s mind at work…
Cars such as the Mustang of that era and its descendents, the “personal luxury” genre…those are “image” cars. As I (just now) commented on the T-Bird wagon…while constructing it would have been no problem and in fact an easy field kit-bash (the Bird Wagon, that is)…marketing-wise such a car loses all its appeal.
As proof, I offer the dead, departed, oh-so-brief Mercury Cougar wagon. The thing must have been an ulcer to Mercury sales managers; and while its predecessor, the Montego sold a lot of wagons…I never saw a single Cougar wagon in the flesh (in the metal?)
It’s an interesting exercise, I guess. But, while I can see a Mustang or Camaro shooting-brake/sportwagon for the bachelor with a lot of toys…I can’t see those as four-door sedans. (Or even hardtops….)
…I expect someone will toss out the Maverick’s morphing from a fastback tamed Mustang into a four-door family hauler. Fair enough…but even the Maverick had a lot of changes in transition, roof lines and rear-end styling…and even with the Falcon’s flying off to the hereafter, the family Maverick never got a lot of traction. One survey I read said less than 30 percent of all Mavericks sold were four-doors.
And THAT wasn’t even a true ponycar – only a compact trying to glean some of the image.
The market was there – the Granada later proved that – but the image was all wrong; and family-compact buyers went to the Valiant or Nova stores.
There wasn’t a GRABBER 4 door Maverick………that should say something.
A survey means what? Production numbers exist.
Maverick 2-dr 159,726
Maverick 4-dr 73,208
Maverick Grabber 38,963
Comet 2-dr 54,884
Comet 4-dr 28,116
Maverick – 2-dr 40,086
Maverick 4-dr 58,420
Comet 2-dr 9,109
Comet 4-dr 12,436
As you can see 4 door Mavi/Comets became MORE popular as a percentage of sales.
1972 349,733 12,309 0 0 0 260,215 89,518
Note the Nova 4 door vs Mavi 4 door is 89K to 73K units. Nova 2 door sold nearly 2x as many Maverick 2 doors. There wasn’t a serious performance Maverick or Comet. A GRABBER/GT with a 302 2V was tame in comparison. While a Nova could be had with several V8s: 307, 350, 396. That really hurt it’s image, but I guess Ford was saving the Mustang’s image for that.
Interesting. The stats I read was a Popular Mechanics Owner’s Survey, taken in 1974 and including 1973 models. It showed the two-door comprising 69 percent of all Maverick sales in those years.
With later years came bumpers and ever-more hideous styling; by comparison the baroque Granada looked positively inspired. So…I daresay that many Maverick buyers were attracted by price, not styling; and found the four-door the better value vis a vis other compact four-doors.
My dad bought a ’71 Comet 4-door in Feb ’72. It was a demonstrator, and the only 4-door in stock. There were about a dozen 2-doors available. He didn’t like the color (bright green), but he needed 4 doors and it was a good deal as a leftover ’71 (6k miles, $2,226).
BTW 30% of ALL Mavericks would include the first 2 years they didn’t make them at all LOL. Also it’s best selling year 1970 at over 451,000 units.
30% of the first two years that they didn’t make any cars? Wha?? You just made one of my eyes pop out!
Well, no………..if you include ALL Mavericks made between 1969 and 1977 and then subtract the 4 doors (made from 71-77), the 2 door will appear much more popular than they actually were.
You can’t get a valid percentage from 0/x = 4 door Mavericks 69-70.
I would also much prefer a three-door shooting brake if it offered lie-down space inside 😉 but a four door Mustang is not on the radar.
As someone who loves 1960s Mustangs let me just say…
As a person that likes almost all Mustangs. I must say Yes!
Thankfully, this concept was never seen through to production! Ford already had a small car 4 door with the Falcon and a family 4 door Fairlane.
Forgetting the brand dilution, just looking at the thing, I like it. As I mentioned on the recent Duster piece, they should have expanded that two-door’s look and brand into four-door and wagon forms, and spared us the Volaraspen.
In our era, I think the Scion coupe should have been a pillarless suicide-door four door, with the rear wheels pushed as far back as possible. There’s no reason to choose a small FWD coupe over a “hot hatch,” but if you could at least get some use out of the back seat? The Veloster is one take on this idea, this could be another.
A few years ago before the Interceptor show car came out, some referred to it as a 4 door Mustang. Obviously it wasn’t.
That old clay model has been trotted out many times ………..whenever a 4 door Mustang idea is broached. And it still looks just as ugly as the first time!
The thing is a freaking abomination, it’s neither fish nor fowl.Stretching the greenhouse
and the added length to the body for the rear passenger compartment throws the proportions off completely. I do remember seeing pictures of a Mustang wagon which was by comparison a very handsome vehicle.
Taking a leak all over the Mona Lisa comes to mind.
It’s not that it’s unattractive…and I’m sure it would have sold.
Actually…the extra wheelbase defeats the purpose of the side sculpturing…as now it looks too long. Just my 2 cents.
Dan, +100 for you!
Such a move would have undermined the very reason for the Mustang’s existence. Reminds me of the Studebaker sedans based on Loewy’s Starliner coupe.
They weren’t based on the coupes, but on the previous sedan bodies. They just were facelifted to look more like the coupes and hardtops.
Why? The whole point of a pony car was a low, sporty coupe look. The classic long hood, short deck. What you gave up was a usable trunk and back seat. Add back those elements and you get . . . the head of a horse attached to the body of a cow.
Of the pony cars, the 1967-69 Barracuda would have worked best as a four door because it didn’t get a longer wheelbase ahead of the cowl and a shortened trunk. Indeed, the proportions were such that the Barracuda’s ideal body style might well have been a sedan coupe of sorts (a four-door hardtop akin to the second-generation Corvair).
AMC did clays of a four-door sedan and wagon version of the Javelin. They worked much better than the above Mustang design. Indeed, the proposed Javelin wagon predicted the basic look of the Hornet Sportabout.
The ’66-’70 Falcon did seem to be trying to look awfully Mustang-like, though. It was bigger (yes, I know it was Fairlane-based) and only available in pillared form, but within those parameters looked very much like a big, pillared Mustang.
That was my first thought too: inspiration for the 1966 Falcon four door.
It seems wrong when you look at it now, not ever having had a 4 door Mustang in the line up, but I can see why they were considering one, after all, their cross-town rival, the Corvair had a sport sedan comming out for 1965, a looker at that too.
No berries means you win no blue chips. Could have trotted one out and see who bought it. Doubt that it would have been me. Drove a 4 door falcon for the military. The mustang had a completely different intent.
It looked like an early design infusion of the Ford Falcon along with the Ford Maverick and even more so the Ford Granada 4 Door Sedans. Just remember that all Ford Falcon based cars from the Maverick, the later redesign and updates of the Mustang through 1973 and then the Granada from 1975-80 were ALL based from that same archaic Falcon chassis.
Ford has always had a four-door Mustang.
It’s gone under various names like Falcon, Maverick, Fairmont, LTD…
Remember also that Ford was still reeling from the Edsel sting, there were alot of people within the company that had doubts, I imagine that this was cooked up also as some sort of “in case of emergency” situation were the car was a dud.
Good point. What I wonder is why it wasn’t a four-door hardtop with a lower roofline. A pillared sedan looks pretty silly.
Probably woud have been in production, all the other Mustangs had frameless doors, you can see in the pic its a one sided model, the left side seems to be a coupe. Looks like they had to raise the roof a little to make it more comfortable?
The fact that its not a “hardtop” is what bothers me about this proposal. As a sedan it doesn’t fit in with the sporty appeal that the coupe and fastback posses. My guess is that it was a choice between a 4 door T-Bird, or a 4 door Mustang and Ford saw more of a future in the up coming brougham tsunami.
Agreeing with Chas108’s earlier comment, the design is not terrible in itself, but this four door’s shape completely loses the “it” factor that made the first Mustang such a hit. The long hood/medium middle/short rear deck proportions of the 64.5-66 and 67-68 Mustangs struck the sweet spot that makes a car instantly look sporty. Front-engined Ferraris of the 1960s (remember the one that substituted for the 67-68 Mustang in Vanilla Sky?) and even the much larger 1966 Toronado followed the same formula. This sedan shape completely loses that formula, and ends up looking like a late 60s Falcon with Mustang front and rear clips.
A sporty four-door sedan certainly is possible; the Corvair mentioned earlier, and the BMW 3-series since the 1990s, are proof of that. Today’s Dodge Charger attempts to do the same, using the name of another 1960s muscle car icon. Perhaps a fastback roofline and suicide doors would have done the trick for a 1960s Mustang sedan!
My first thought was, oh just shoot me now. But the more I look at it, sort of grows on me. I like it!
Yeah Nah dumb idea
It is easy to look back from today’s vantage point and take potshots at this styling study. But in 1963, I can think of exactly four mainstream American vehicles that were coupe-only – Thunderbird, Riviera, Hawk and Avanti. (I am excepting obvious sports cars like Corvette). The Studes were creatures of compromise and necessity (and were rehashes of the failed 1953 vision), and the Riviera was brand new.
I think that conventional wisdom at the time would have expected a 4 door to be a necessary complement to a sporty 4 place coupe, in order to see sufficient volumes for production. GM, the industry 800 pound gorilla, was plainly planning a new Corvair line with a 4 door.
The actual Mustang was the car that shattered conventional wisdom and turned a single 2 door model (albeit with convertible and fastback variations) into a sales blockbuster. Neither Chrysler nor GM saw this possiblity – the Barracuda was vanilla Valiant from the doors forward, and the Camaro project begat a car three years after the Mustang started setting sales records. The actual Chevy product plan in place in 1963 had been the Corvair, which included a 4 door model.
All that said, I am glad Ford did not build this one.
And of course GM did create a clay of a four-door Riviera (although at that point it wasn’t yet a Riviera; it was when Bill Mitchell envisioned the car as a new La Salle line for Cadillac). If Cadillac had gone for the original La Salle II idea, it’s likely the four-door would have been built.
The reason why it wouldn’t have worked is that with the long hood, short trunk form of the sporty mustang, interior space compromises would have to have been made that would be unacceptable in a 4 door family car. Compromises that the Falcon and the Maverick didn’t need to make.
Ah… nothing like the rose-tinted memories of the past and the image a car has cultivated over half a decade to cloud people’s judgement. Yeah- today a four-door Mustang seems like a bad idea, but back then, when they were flying off the lots? Probably seemed like a natural addition to the lineup.
And yes, Raceway, Ford already had a small four-door with the Falcon. But they already had a small two-door with the Falcon as well, so what’s your point, exactly?
You could do that…but it would be wrong. The Mustang would never have been regarded as the legend it was (largely because of its focus on styling), and it would be known today as the car that came between the Falcon and the Maverick.
“It is easy to look back from today’s vantage point and take potshots at this styling study…”
Agree! This proposal is long before ‘Muscle Car mania’ and its ‘coupes only’ purism. Ford may have been thinking of amortizing Stang tooling for the Falcon sedans, having no idea the coupe break sales records and define car history. It was originally a halo car to get buyers in showrooms.
Late to this party but anticipating a repeat…
Four doors and a pillared body make the greenhouse look too close-coupled despite a wheelbase stretch that would’ve pushed the result into the midsize bracket.
IMO the fix would’ve been to carry over the dash-to-axle dimension from the Falcon unchanged, slim down the C-pillar and carry the rear door cuts further up the rear fender. Those changes would of course carry over to the notchback coupe which itself would become a pillared design with a slim, Italianate C-pillar in place of the fat Thunderbird one. The convertible would get such of those changes as could apply to one (shorter dash-to-axle in the lead) and the fastback put on hold until at least 1974 when it could justify itself with a hatchback.
The American mass-market would thus be denied the long-hood/short-deck look that ended up applied to everything leading into the ’73 gas crisis with a generation of cars that had truly piss-poor space utilization.
This is the sort of thing that might’ve happened if McNamara had stayed on at Ford in collaborative tension with Iacocca (the former of which became the poster child for the non-transferability of “business experience” to government, which is probably what led the latter to wisely stay out of politics).
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