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Ford & Mercury Muscle Car Art Prints
11" x 17" Parchment Paper Prints.
Vintage tour of Ford's Car Kraft
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1957 Ford Thunderbird - The 1955 - 1957 Ford Thunderbird is arguably "the" classic car of the '50s. What's hard to believe is that right from the beginning in '55, Ford intended to make the T-Bird into a 4-seater luxury car. They really didn't know what they had. The thinking back then was to always get the customer to "move up" to a bigger and better car. Instead of honing the Thunderbird into a kick-ass sports car, the way that Duntov did over at Chevrolet, the Ford product planners just followed their old, standard model of car design - Bigger is better and more is best.
This wasn't a uniquely Ford model for design. In late '62 before the new '63 Sting Ray Corvette came out, Chevy product planners actually tried a 4-seater Corvette coupe. It was... ahhh... AWFULL! - KST - KST
1963 Ford Galaxie 500 XL - Ford and Chevy were at each others throats in the ‘60s. The BIG cars duked it out with big-block engines and “police” or “towing” performance enhancement packages that made these cars the big dogs of their day. NASCAR racers were amazingly close to actual production cars back then, so much so that if a 427 Ford Galaxie 500 won a race, it was a close cousin to Ford Galaxie cars in the track’s parking lot. - KST
1964-1/2 Ford Mustang - The automotive world has never seen anything like Mustang Mania. In April of 1964 Ford used the stunning backdrop of the 1964-65 New York World’s fair to present the new Ford Mustang. People went WILD!
There was so much hype over the new car that buyers arrived at Ford dealerships before they opened to get a look at the new Mustang. It was really the perfect car for the times. It was sporty, fun to look at and fun to drive. In less than half of a production year, Ford sold 303,408 Mustangs. In ‘65, they sold 580,187. The ‘65 model was a carry over from the 64-1/4 car. Then in ‘66 Ford sold even more Mustangs hitting an all-time sales high for the car of 580,767 units.
Ford was literally mopping up their Detroit rivals. It took Chevy over 2-1/2 years to catch up to the Mustang with their Nova based Camaro. The Mustang had captured the heart and soul of American motorists. Since that amazing beginning we have seen many versions of the Mustang - some better than others. It’s heartwarming to see the new ‘05 Mustang taking it’s character lines from the early days.
A GREAT tribute to a great car. - KST
1969 Ford Mach I Mustang - Ford had something for almost every Mustang buyer in 1969. There were 6 versions of the Mustang:
Ford / DeTomaso Pantara - TIn the early ‘60 Detroit movers and shakers were mostly from the old school of car design and marketing. The sports car market was growing, but from a big-business view point, there was no money in sports cars because the volumes are so low.
Even though Ford dabbled in the sports car arena with the ‘55, ‘56, and ‘57 2-seater Thunderbird, they were selling more T-Birds as 4-seater sport-luxury cars and making more money.(that IS what it’s all about). And although Chevy was getting mixed praise for the Corvette, the Ford executives needed convincing.
The Mustang I Prototype was a small, mid-engine, 4-cylinder 2-seater with an aluminum body. It wasn’t much more than a kit car really, weighing in at only 1,200 pounds! Dan Gurney debuted the car at the Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Gurney, in a non-competitive demonstration drive, drove the 1,200 lb two-seater at speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Gurney really liked the car and the Ford brass was impressed with the business plan to build a “sporty” car. Obviously the real Mustang was FAR removed from the Mustang I. But it served its purpose in convincing a bunch of stodgy old corporate executives to let their hair down and have some FUN!
In hindsight, the Mustang I Prototype seems closer to the Pontiac Fiero from the ‘80s. - KST
1965 Ford Mustang Coupe - It was 1965 and Mustang Mania was gathering steam. Ford dealers couldn’t get Mustangs fast enough and some buyers paid extra to get closer to the top of the new Mustang waiting list. The ‘65 model was a complete carryover from the initial Mustang launching in April of ‘64. By the end of the year, Ford sold 580,187 Mustangs. The following year Ford would sell even MORE Mustangs, hitting an all-time sales high of 580,767 units! For several years it seemed that there were Mustangs everywhere.
1968 Ford Cobra Jet Torino - All three of the big Detroit car makers were into the muscle car game big-time. Ford and Chrysler had official racing efforts while Chevrolet and Pontiac had their back-door racing programs. The Ford Torino was considered a “mid-size” car, on par with GM’s Chevelle (SS-396), Tempest (GTO), and Skylark (GS-400). They took the 428 Cobra jet engine package from their near Super Stock Cobra Jet Mustang and dropped it into the mid-size Torino. What’a package.
1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang - This was one of the most unusual performance Mustangs ever made. Ford was in fierce competition with Chrysler in NASCAR racing. The Hemi-powered Mopars had a slight advantage on the speedways due to the better flow of the hemi-heads on the 426 engines. So Ford decided to build their own hemi engine and came out with the Boss 429 engine in ‘69.
1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator - This was to be the final year for the really hot Mercury Cougars. The Eliminator package had all the right parts that were becoming standard on all muscle cars. Big engine or small high output smaller engine, heavy duty everything, a Hurst Shifter, dual exhausts, sport mirrors, stripes and a cool name.
But the car went out with a splash. You could get as much performance as you could pay for or could stand. There were several 351 engines and 428 engines to choose from. Even though the Cougar was built on a Mustang platform, it never had the following the Mustang had. But the good news now is, if you’re into collectability, that there are fewer Eliminator Cobras than there are Mach I Mustangs. - KST
1989 5.0 Mustang GT - The Ford Mustang is the ultimate muscle car survivor. Introduced in 1964, Mustangs have been in production every year since then. The original pony car even outlasted it’s arch rival, the Chevy Camaro.
After ploding through the mid-to-late ‘70s with the Pinto-based Mustang II, the car was once again given a total platform make over. The ‘79 Mustang (why didn’t they call it the “Mustang III”?) had a long 13 year run until 1991. During that time there were all sorts of interesting Mustangs - a turbocharged 4-cylinder modes, a V6 model, but the most popular version was the 5.0 Mustang GT.
Since a 5.0 liter engine is really a 302 cubic-inch, it was shades of the Boss 302 era. The 5.0 Ford engine had tremendous potential. The late Super Stock & Drag Illustrated editor, Steve Collison had a 5.0 Mustang GT project car in the 1989. The goal was to see if he could get a 5.0 Mustang into the 12’s WITHOUT taking the top of the engine apart and using ONLY bolt-on aftermarket parts throughout the car. Interesting challenge.
Steve used all the classic ‘60s hot rodder tricks - headers, slicks, small front tires, ignition overhaul, small K&N air filters, 4.56:1 gears, a fiberglass hood, a Hurst Shifter, and a host of other little tricks.
How did he do? Wheel spin was a real problem, even with the slicks. The 5.0 engine was making plenty of power. After several practice runs to get his launch right, the car finally ran a 12.97 et. (sorry, I don’t recall the speed).
Back in the day, you needed a Hemi-something or a big-block-whatever to run times like that. That’s pretty damn amazing! - KST
1962 Mustang I - In the early ‘60 Detroit movers and shakers were mostly from the old school of car design and marketing. The sports car market was growing, but from a big-business view point, there was no money in sports cars because the volumes are so low.
1963 Mustang II Show Car - By mid-'63 the details of the upcoming Mustang were all but worked out. The '62 Mustang I Prototype had received such good reviews that Ford decided to create a real teaser-car for the show car circuit. The '63 Mustang II Show Car was a smash success. With a slightly chopped top and bumperless front and rear styling, the car REALLY stoked the Ford fans. It's no wonder that when the Mustang was finally released in April '64, it was the biggest new car success in Detroit history. Overnight, it seemed that everyone wanted to drive a Mustang. - KST
Sunbeam Tiger - This could have been the Shelby Cobra for the average guy, but I think Maxwell Smart killed that idea. Not really, but millions of Americans first saw the Sunbeam Tiger at the beginning of the TV sit-com, “Get Smart.” Secret agent Maxwell Smart pulled up to the headquarters in his zippy little topless sports car.
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