Split personality: Ford fuses ’65 and ’15 Mustangs

Mustang display shows 50 years of history
1965 and 2015 units twinned lengthwise
Symbol of auto innovation over half-century

1965 and 2015 Mustangs melded Image: Ford / Newspress
NOT HARD TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE: Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, has sliced an original 1965 and a 2015 Mustang and melded them for comparison. Image: Ford / Newspress

DEARBORN, Michigan – Ford and the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame Museum have unveiled a unique Mustang – a melding of the first 1965 model with a latest (2015) model in a unique side-by-side display.

The split-personality Mustang is part of a new but permanent display to celebrate the story of intellectual property and illuminate its significance to progress, innovation and culture in America, as well as how trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property make modern amenities possible.

1965 and 2015 Mustangs melded Image: Ford / Newspress
   TIME MACHINES: 1965 and 2015 Mustangs melded Image: Ford / Newspress

The interactive display was designed to highlight the importance of patents and the tremendous march of technology over the decades. It points out patents in the current vehicle as well as those in the original Pony Car.

The NIHF sought Ford as a project partner because the company had played such an important part in the long history of American innovation with the Mustang standing as an icon for a half-century.

Ford and some volunteer employees have also been involved for 20 years with Camp Invention, an NIHF programme and one of the nation’s premier summer enrichment programmes that use hands-on activity to promote science, technology, engineering and maths and builds 21st century skills.

No specific styling patents were granted when the original Mustang was launched . Only when the car became such a huge success – selling more than a million in its first 18 months – were such patents even considered and applied for.

1965 and 2015 Mustangs melded Image: Ford / Newspress
             BACKLESS AND STRAPLESS: The boot and (in the later model) the seat belts had to go for this comparison of 1965 and 2015 Mustangs. Image: Ford / Newspress

Chris Danowski, Ford’s director of technology commercialisation and intellectual property licensing, told The Corner in a media release the day before May 4’s unveiling: “Everthing moved so fast in the design and run-up to production of the original Mustang that no styling patents were issued.

“The 2015 Mustang Convertible was granted 36 styling patents. It also has unique patents for such as the crash-bag structures and emergency assistant calls.”

The 1965 Mustang used more than 100 of Ford’s then functional patents. They reflect, Ford says, some of the touches customers loved back then, among them a rear-seat speaker and a powered convertible top. Conveniences now taken for granted were also involved, such as Patent 3 271 540 – Ford’s self-cancelling turn signal.


Today’s Mustang, with 15 patents granted, is said by Ford to be “a wellspring of creative design and engineering”, including the first knee crash-bag for the front passenger packaged in the glove box hatch.

It debuted launch-control to help drag-racers to achieve consistent performances. There’s also a feature to allow a wallet or phone in an occupant’s back pocket to sink more comfortably into the seat cushion.

1965 and 2015 Mustangs melded Image: Ford / Newspress
DOWN TO THE DETAILS: The 1965 Mustang (left) was built for simplicty and cost; its grand-daughter has all the latest fittings. Image: Ford / Newspress

Many of these patents are used in the display, crafted by Classic Design Concepts, which combines about 60% each of the original and latest Mustangs though each has included the instrument console by using an original left-hand drive unit and a new (after all this time) right-hand drive as availa le in South Africa..

Visitors can sit in either side of the car and directly compare features and styling details, among them the AM radio, wind-up windows, quarter-light window and optional retractable colour-keyed seat belts of the original to the touchscreen display in the 2015 model.

Some patents and other intellectual property will be displayed on accompanying monitors or described over audo speakers. Visitors will also be able to compare the idling engine beat of the original 1965 Mustang V8 and that of the latest car.


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