Ford's New Mustang Inspired by Fox Body Design

Ford has been using the tagline, "Everyone has a Mustang story" since the reveal of the sixth-generation muscle car and adjoining documentary in 2015. As its successor dawns for the 2024 model year the company is still using the phrase, but also evoking that nostalgic feeling through Easter eggs in style and substance, nodding to past ponycar models.

"The people who work on the Mustang team are enthusiasts. So, we have people who are passionate about the Mustang itself, that have their own Mustang stories, because everybody has a Mustang story," Jim Owens, Ford Mustang marketing manager said at a press event before the Detroit auto show.

"But it's not just the team that works on the Mustang. It's the leadership. It's the Ford family. You know, Bill Ford has had almost every single Mustang out there, he's a graduate of the Ford Performance Racing School. Jim Farley's racing a Mustang on the weekends," Owens said.

The retro nods start with the tri-bar taillight design, a hallmark of the nameplate, that has now transferred to the headlights. The new rear design keeps the three illuminated sections with sequential turn signals, but designer Chris Walter (whose Mustang story includes a 2010 GT with lowering springs and a racing exhaust) canted them outward to add width to the vehicle and creased them back into the body for a three-dimensional visual effect.

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"Some guys came up to me and asked if we made the new one wider," Walter said. "The corners are pulled out just a touch, but we didn't increase the track. Visually this angle makes the back of the car look wider, and then from the long distance if you're going down the road it gives you nice taillamps to follow. They're just kind of bold and in your face."

The third-generation Ford Mustang was one of the classics with a story, running from 1978 to 1993. It rode on Ford's Fox platform, leading to its Fox Body nickname. It was featured in movies like Back to the Future II and Goonies, TV shows like 21 Jump Street and in Vanilla Ice's rap videos.

As part of the large, customizable digital instrument cluster 2024 Mustang owners will be able to digitally duplicate the analog gauges of the third-generation vehicle. In the daytime it looks like white numbers and hashes on a black background. At night it flips to green indications, as it was in the 1980s.

2024 Ford Mustang gauges
The digital gauges on the 2024 Ford Mustang are made to look like the old Fox Body generation. Ford Motor Company

"We're introducing a Fox Body thing, because growing up when I was in high school, everybody wanted a Fox Body," Ricardo Garcia, Ford Mustang interior designer said.

"We also not only captured the daytime appearance, but also the nighttime appearance. It was exclusive at the time, but now you're not having any of the issues that we would have had back then."

Even people who aren't car enthusiasts have Mustang stories. It could be a parent's special project, a cousin's car, a sister's boyfriend's prized possession.

There are almost 60 years to draw from. With the seventh generation, still-gasoline-powered, there will be at least a few stories more in the coming years.