SN95 styling came down to three full-size fiberglass mockups examined in fall 1990 by Ford sales, marketing, product development, and  management.  The "Bruce Jenner" (shown here) was rejected as too tame.

1994 Ford Mustang Prototypes

For the design team working on the 1994 Ford Mustang, funding was limited and time was tight. Recalling earlier Mustangs, initial SN95 styling concepts did not "clinic" well, being "too smooth, too clean and friendly, too nice," according to project design manager Bud Magaldi.

After much further work, the choice came down to three proposals presented for executive review in the autumn of 1990. All carried the desired "retro" signatures: a running steed in the grille, simulated side scoops ahead of the rear wheels, triple-element taillamps, and, of course, long-hood/short-deck proportions.

They also shared a new shape: muscular, slightly wedgy, but also "aero" slick in Ford's now-established idiom. The differences were mainly of degree.

The tamest was the "Bruce Jenner," described as a "trim, athletic" design that nevertheless scored low as looking too "soft." At the other extreme was "Rambo," an aggressive, exaggerated interpretation that struck most people as looking too mean. This left the in-between "Arnold Schwarzenegger" to win the day. Only minor changes were made before production.

The aggressive "Rambo" was another of the three full-size fiberglass mockups evaluated in fall 1990, but it too was ultimately rejected.

Like the '79 Mustang, SN95 finalists were modeled as notchback coupes. While a new convertible was never in doubt, engineers and marketers decided against producing a new hatchback body style, despite its past sales importance. Ford's stated reason was the greater difficulty of achieving acceptable rigidity in a structure with such a large opening at the rear, but the decision more likely reflected the fact that Americans no longer cared much for hatchbacks.

Regardless, the coupe ended up with a conventional trunklid and a compromise slantback roof profile faintly reminiscent of the 1965-66 semi-fastback 2+2.Regardless, the coupe ended up with a conventional trunklid and a compromise slantback roof profile faintly reminiscent of the 1965-66 semi-fastback 2+2.

The middle-of-the-road "Arnold Schwarzenegger" mockup ran about even with the aggressive "Rambo" in consumer clinics, but the Arnold was OKed for production with relatively few changes.

Interior designers also strove for a "classic Mustang" feel while incorporating 30 years of government safety mandates, including new requirements for dual airbags and anti-intrusion door beams. The result was a traditional Mustang cockpit with a heavily sculpted new "twin-cowl" instrument panel flowing smoothly into the doors, a faint homage to early models.

While the '94 Mustang styling was taking shape, engineers were faced with the job of developing the rest of the car and making it fit within the new exterior. Keep reading to learn how they accomplished their task.

Want to find out even more about the Mustang legacy? Follow these links to learn all about the original pony car:
  • Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
  • The Fox generation of Mustangs got a new lease on life with a 1987 restyle and further refinements into the early Nineties. Learn all about it in 1987-1993 Ford Mustang.
  • Ford's ageless pony car was rejuvenated one more time for 1999 with "New Edge" styling, more power, and many key refinements. Read 1999-2004 Ford Mustang to learn about the fastest, most roadable Mustangs yet.
  • Ford muscle cars were among the top performers of the muscle car era. Check out profiles, photos, and specifications of some tough Ford muscle cars.