The Ford Mustang bears one of the most iconic logos in the automotive landscape, if not any form of American branding. The galloping pony is right up there with the Apple logo in terms of universal recognition. Unlike many logos or branding, which evolve, the timeless element of the Mustang logo is something that has needed so little changed through the years, although Ford’s pony car was almost never given an equestrian name.
In the design process for the car that became the Mustang, Ford designers played around with a lot of different names. Avanti, Allegro and Torino were all in consideration. The car that would become the final design, crafted by Gale Halderman, was named Cougar until the final stages. (Note: the Cougar emblem on the Mustang prototype)
Considering that the Camaro was internally called Panther until the very end of its development, it could have been a world where the pony car was called “Puma Car,” or at least some play on jungle cats. It should also be noted, Torino was used to name a later, larger Ford, and Cougar was used to name Mercury’s Mustang counterpart.
Mustang, as a name, first showed up on the Ford Mustang I concept, a mid-engined, V4-powered sportscar that was design to compete with Chevrolet’s Corvair Monza. While the unconventional two-seater never came to fruition, the name stuck around, and so did the galloping horse, designed by Phil Clark. It’s design has changed very little through the years, and as we near the arrival of a next-generation pony car, we will be watching to see how the design of the logo, as well as the car itself, evolves with the next generation.