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Readers Respond: Was the Ford Mustang named after a horse?

Responses: 41


Was the Ford Mustang named after a horse? John Najjar, the original designer of the Mustang I Prototype, is said to have named the vehicle after the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter plane from World War II. Although this is the "official" story, many people believe the Mustang was named after the horse. In fact, Lee Iacocca is said to have stated this several times while discussing the vehicle in interviews. Tell Us What You Think

look at the grille

I think that animal running across the grille is not an aircraft of any kind. It looks like a horse to me

After a horse

Read a couple of Ford Mustang books like Mustang Genesis by Robert Fria and you will know the story behind the name. Car we know as Ford Mustang was named after a horse. Please understand that prototype Mustang I name have nothing to with the name of car that was produced later with name Mustang. It's just coincidence that the names are the same. Falcon, thunderbird, cougar animals, not airplanes. Like I said, read the book. Several different names was used before Mustang was born.
—Guest stangrider

A Free Spirit is a Free Spirit

Whether it be a horse galloping across the plains or a fighter plane flying through the skies, a free spirit is a free spirit. The name Mustang evokes that free spirit whether it was inspired by the plane or the horse. It is the spirit of both that brought about the name, but due to the political climate of the 1960s, the horse won out.
—Guest high lonesome

The Horse

As one of the salesmen & Hi Performance manager from Tasca Ford sales I attended a Sales introduction from Ford in a theater in Boston for Salesmen. They showed a bunch of horses mustang type running along a dirt road and field. Out of that cloud of dust came the mustang to which the theater went wild with everyone on there feet. What a Day to be a Ford Sales person. The next year I got my GT350R from Shelby. dean
—Guest Dean Gregson

Marilyn Clark, Phil's wife

Holly Clark video taped Marilyn Clark on YouTube few weeks ago. The Show jeopardy had just aired, and Mrs.Clark was angry over the Rumors that the Ford Mustang was named after an airplane... because she was there...and it was not!
—Guest Momof10


There is another eyewitness of record. One of the most legendary football coaches in history, Hayden Fry, who headed the SMU mustangs confirms the story of the origin of the car's name in his autobiography. i for one will not go against the word of Mr. Hayden Fry. By the way, the Mustang name for SMU athletics was brought in by Coach Fry - the original source of the Mustang moniker.
—Guest Nicol

The Mustang, plane or mane?

I'm not buying into the fighter plane theory. I feel certain, if it were true, somewhere during the long history of the car there would have been a model "P-51". Don't forget that their were several different models of the P-51 and that would have allowed for an entire line of Mustang cars. During the production life of the fighter there were changes in the appearance and engine options producing more and less horsepower. The P-51 remains, to this day, one of the most beautiful propeller driven fighter aircraft ever built. The Mustang car (some years) deserve that same claim. If Lee Iaccoca said it was named after the fighter, he may have been talking to an aviation based group. Lee is a real business man and a silver tonged devil. That remark is to be taken as a compliment. I admire the man for his guts and convictions. No matter if I am right or wrong. I like the mane over the plane when talking about the car.
—Guest peejodo

The Mustang

US out trowel beamed after the P51 mustang and the horse? because that's what my friends say
—Guest Hello


Original name was going to be Cougar but changed to another American animal - the Mustang.
—Guest Doc

Dad Named The Mustang of His Car, Horse

1962...Dad was one of the young Guns hired to work with Ford to create a new car for the young Generation..he was 27.. his background?.Engineering with Avco, Nashville, Tn. He sent his Mustang Designs, to Chrysler. The big 3 would not allow designers without a degree...so he finished at Art School, and he and his portfolio of Mustang designs were taken on by GM. He had decided on the name in 1958 after driving from Nashville to California through Nevada a seeing the Wild Mustangs. GM paid for dads last year of school and he worked in Advanced Design. There was a issue with GM but the Mustang was started. He then took his completed portfolio to Ford Advanced designs. By then he was ill and could not pass the health exams to be officially hired. Ford was working on a redesigned Falcon--again..but used dads design in 100 days and promoted the Mustang (Google GM Mustang). The name was a deal keeper for dad, also wanting a line of Body By Clark cars, and car maker to make them. The Horse!
—Guest Holly Clark

North American P-51 Mustang

For those who have no sense of history, or are not aviation experts, there were P-51 Mustangs with horses as nose art. Specs for P-51B Mustang: Packard built and high performance modified Rolls-Royce "Merlin" V-1650 water cooled V-12 powerpant that gave the Mustang B version a speed of 428 MPH. It outperformed any thing Germany had, including long range. Ford's Mustang has the same qualities and it outperformed anything the other auto manufacturers had at the time. Oh, and by the way, it was the British that gave the P-51 its name, otherwise it would have been named the Apache. Note that the horse, the plane, and the car are trim and sleek. By the way, the Pinto came after the Mustang. Study your history, everyone, otherwise, don't respond with inaccuracies, geez!
—Guest Guest Mike Valdez

Have You Ever Seen?

Anyone who has ever seen a P51 Mustang in flight or on the ground would have to agree that the car was named after the high power aircraft.
—Guest Mr D

Definitely named after the Horse

It's definitely named after the Horse as mentioned in Raes comment above. Why would Phil Clark design a horse for the grille emblem? Just ask his daughter Holly Clark and also read her book on her Dad. Or ask some one of authority who was there at the time like Lee Iaccoca. Goes with saying it was the horse so whats all this nonsense about an airplane?
—Guest norma


The horse has been around for hundreds of years,The plane almost 70 years. The plane,named after the horse,beautiful,fast,nimble,sturdy,& long ranged like the horse. The car was named after the plane because of the simularities, but because of the war in Viet Nam, Ford toned down the relations between agressive Waqrbird, and a car designed more as a secretary's vehicle, thus the pony car/horse. Now we've come full circle. But, no matter how you look at them, they're all Beautiful,Strong,Fast,Nimble, and we love them all because they're Ours, they're American, and there will never be anything else like them. Long Live the Mustang, no matter which one you own.
—Guest P51Markstang

Mr. Mustang

Obviously it was named after the Wild Mustang Horse from the plains of the USA. Why else would Phil Clark, the designer of the Mustang Grill Emblem, design a horse? Just ask his daughter, or Lee Icocca, from his article in Mustang Monthly Magazine a few months back.
—Guest mrmustang

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