The winning design was originally called Cougar and was developed by the Ford Division design studio. The above exterior design by Dave Ash assistant to the Ford studio head Joe Oros, was a clear winner among the six designs competing for management's approval.

Chief designer Joe Oros and his team (Dave Ash, Gale Halderman, and John Foster) were rushing to complete a design that would become in the prototype for the 1965 Ford Mustang. This is how Oros remembers it:

I then called a meeting with all the Ford studio designers. We talked about the sporty car for most of that afternoon, setting parameters for what it should look like -- and what it should not look like -- by making lists on a large pad, a technique I adapted from the management seminar. We taped the lists up all around the studio to keep ourselves on track. We also had photographs of all the previous sporty cars that had been done in the Corporate Advanced studio as a guide to themes or ideas that were tired or not acceptable to management.

Within a week we had hammered out a new design. We cut templates and fitted them to the clay model that had been started. We cut right into it, adding or deleting clay to accommodate our new theme, so it wasn't like starting all over. But we knew Lincoln-Mercury would have two models. And Advanced would have five, some they had previously shown and modified, plus a couple extras. But we would only have one model because Ford studio had a production schedule for a good many facelifts and other projects. We couldn't afford the manpower, but we made up for lost time by working around the clock so our model would be ready for the management review.

It took us another two weeks or so to finish it. Lee Iacocca first saw it when it was about three-quarters complete. I met him at the studio door and talked with him about what we were trying to accomplish. I could tell he was really pleased with the concept we were on, but he was noncommittal. Still, our car won hands-down. And we did it in under three weeks' time.


The Cougar design was the car that jumped out of the design proposal group. Some designs were sheer and some were soft, but this one seemed to have great distinction. It was the one selected by Ford management and the one that went into production in 1964 and went on to make automotive history.

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