Skip to comments.Donald N. Frey, Designer of the Mustang, Dies at 86
Posted on 03/29/2010 4:06:06 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy
Donald N. Frey, the engineer who spearheaded the design and development of the Mustang, the spunky, stylish, affordably priced pony car that the Ford Motor Company rolled out in the mid-1960s in one of the most successful car introductions in automotive history, died March 5 in Evanston, Ill., where he lived. He was 86.
Though much of the Mustang was borrowed from other Ford vehicles, including a Falcon chassis, the car developed an identity all its own for a younger generation in search of new looks and experiences. It was designed to appeal to both men and women, had a dash of elegance copied from European sports cars, and featured a galloping steed in the middle of its grille that buyers thought was, well, really cool.
Steve McQueen was almost upstaged by the souped-up Mustang he drove in the movie Bullitt.
Mr. Frey and his team created the car from approval by top management to the showroom in just 18 months, and expectations were modest when it was introduced on April 17, 1964, at the New York Worlds Fair. Ford figured it would sell 80,000 Mustangs in its first year. It sold more than a million in its first two years.
Mr. Frey (pronounced fry) would go on to other achievements. He was chairman and chief executive of the Bell & Howell Company, recipient of the National Medal of Technology and a member of the executive board of the World Bank. He was proudest, he said, of helping to introduce safety improvements like disc brakes and radial tires to Ford cars.
But to automotive cognoscenti and just plain car lovers, the Mustang was his defining accomplishment. At gatherings of Mustang enthusiasts, Mr. Frey was often besieged by autograph hunters in the manner of a rock star.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Ooops, it’s NYT, not WSJ, obviously...
A beautiful car. I hope there will be pictures (hint, hint). RIP Mr. Frey.
My Mom bought me the first year as my first car. I think it was 1965. I was 15 1/2.
The first Mustang....the prototype
RIP, Don the Predator Frey.
WOW, never would have guessed that was the first Mustang. Thanks for the post.
Greatest car ever.
You're a cheap date...
Looks like the Corvair, or that Fiat thingy, doesn’t it?
A whole lot of bets were made on how many hubcaps the Charger lost and how many times they passed that Volkswagen.
No seat belts or head restraints?
I wonder if Dear leader knows about this....
Here's the greatest Mustang commerical ever!
LOL....beat me to it!
Whats my wife doing in you Garage ?
Same thing happened to Harley Earl. The Oldsmobile F88 is one example, but the official Harley Earl site, that I believe is run by his son, http://www.carofthecentury.com is a rundown of how GM ousted Earl to take the company in the direction that eventually led to the problems today.
Hahahaha...Field of Dreams...
“is this Heaven?”
No, it’s Iowa!”
I notice we think alike, too. We used almost the exact same words to describe it.
Kind of interesting, I saw an interview with Lee Iacocca where one of the networks was trying to create a controversy about the original Mustangs not being safe, and Iacocca fired back that he wasn’t going to sit there and let them insult the original designers for not including safety concepts that wouldn’t be invented for twenty years.
Same color as my 1966 GT convertible. Pony interior identical to yours except no a/c in mine. Changed out the 289 for a 302 engine. Great toy—when I was still driving it to the office it got far more attention than my BMW.
I will never forget the first time I saw that commercial. It is one of those monuments in life.
I thought about putting (Ford Mustang) at the end of the title, but forgot.
At age 86 now, Mr Frey would have been ~16 years old when the P-51 first flew. Perhaps Sheldon Cooper could have designed it in his teens, but no other. ;>)
Thanks for all the miles of smiles, Mr. Frey. You done good.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Frey, and thank you for your wonderful gift.
Nice ‘Stang there, CM! I’m with ya — the first-gen fastbacks were the pinnacle of their design history. The GT version with the K-code 289 motor is the one to have. I had a ‘65 convertible with the detuned 289 back in the day.
Now, if I could just have the Firebird (not too happy about the white color though), and the GOAT also shown in the chase scene, I’d be a happy camper.
I'll take the old one in the back. :)
That was a cool commercial and I love Mustangs as much as any red blooded American but I still had to laugh when I saw the CURVES he put in that track. Typical Mustangs, even those built today, do NOT handle like sports cars.
(I shall now don my Nomex underwear)
That's okay, a classic is still a classic!!!
Might as well post a P-51 pic, eh?
What a pity that the ad agency wasted the Bullitt footage on that damned Puma ad. Yeah, it's cool when the car backs into the garage next to the '68 Mustang and the WWII-period motorcycle, but it *should* have been a Mustang ad.
I would also love an old GOAT!
Here's a particularly nice one I wouldn't mind. I was seven when the made her.
That is so true. People will follow you and hang halfway out of their car window to shout purchase offers at you. When I trailered the car during a move, I had people pace me for dozens of miles at a time, just so they could stare at the car.
Awesome commercial! Have you ever seen a commercial for an American car that had the driver speeding toward a bridge and they showed the shocks of the car automatically lower a couple of inches and not hit the bridge? I cant remember the make or model of car but remember it being American and that the shocks had a technology to them that would lower the car the faster the car went.
Rest in great peace sir!
Our 04 Cobra Terminator was so badass... and the last of the SVT Cobras.....
My first car was a 65 Mustang I bought from my father.
It had a manual transmission and I used to sit in the driveway practicing shifting in preparation for learning how to drive.
I adored that car.
Until a drunk driver turned in front of me on the way to school one morning and my sister went through the windshield.
It did one heck of a number on the front end and went to the scrap heap. Damn.
Once, I was on the way home and casually noticed someone a moderate distance behind me most of the way. Once I get to the bottom of our foothills, I usually goose it a bit just to wring it out a little. I went through our "windys" and got to my street and pulled up into my driveway and garage. As I got out of the car, I looked back down the driveway to see a car had just pulled up--a woman got out and said to me: "I've been trying to flag you down from the time you turned toward the foothills but you were going so fast I couldn't catch up". Turns out she was a mom helping plan and organize the senior prom at our high school. She said the theme of the prom was the 60s and asked me if she could take a photo of the Mustang to work up into an oversized poster for the prom. I told her to go ahead and that I was honored to have my own personal stalker.
My dad bought me a 1967 Mustang when I was 17. It had a horrible paint job but it ran pretty good. Loved that car...but it would have been nice to have had some air conditioning in it. With the windows down, I always got my hair messed up. lol
OK....we know about the car. What about your sister?