DESIGN: 50 Years Of Ford Mustang History

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Ford Mustang Display Front

The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic cars ever produced. It celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and Ford created a unique side-by-side display of the car to showcase its design evolution.

This split creation will be on display at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum (NIHF), which will also highlight company founder Henry Ford. The Mustang was selected to show off automotive innovation over the past 50 years.

It’s part of the Intellectual Property Power Exhibit at the museum, which is on the US Patent and Trademark Office Campus located in Alexandria, Virgina. The Mustang will be shown along with other exhibits designed to show the innovation and culture of America.

Alongside the Mustang sits an exhibit from the George Eastman Museum showing the development of the camera. Qualcomm is also featured, with a display focused on the development of smartphone technology.

Ford was specially selected to be a part of this project for its long history as an American automotive innovator. The Mustang was a natural fit for the display with its 50-year run and legions of admirers.

This isn’t the first time Ford has partnered with the NIHF. Ford and its employee volunteers have been a part of Camp Invention for 20 years. The camp runs summer programs focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) with hands-on programs designed to help kids learn.

The Ford Mustang is also a great fit, since there were no style patents when it was first built. It simply wasn’t done back in 1965.

Ford Mustang Display Hood

After the Mustang became a hit with over a million cars sold in its first 18 months, styling patents finally came under consideration. Even then it wasn’t a quick process with patents slowly applied for and issued over time. Today’s Ford Mustang is an entirely different story.

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Chris Danowski, Ford’s director of technology commercialization and intellectual property licensing said, “Now look at the current car; 2015 Mustang Convertible alone was granted 36 styling patents, which ensure the unique look stays with the car. It also has many unique functional patents for things like the airbag structures, 911 Assist and so many other technologies baked right in.”

The 1965 Mustang used over 100 existing Ford functional patents covering features like the power convertible top, rear-seat speaker, and the self-canceling turn signal, which was new at the time. The modern Mustang has decidedly modern patents like a seat cushion with relief so you can more easily sit with your phone in your pocket.

The display shows off these changes with about 60 percent of the driver’s side of each car. The left is a reproduction of a 1965 Mustang while the right is a right-hand-drive 2015 Mustang.

It’s not just for looks. Visitors will be able to take a seat, compare features, and even play with things like the original optional seat belts and today’s modern touchscreen display. Making the whole experience complete, the display also features the sounds of both the original and current Mustang engines idling.

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