In 1956, his "56 for $56" campaign, advertising that buyers could purchase a new 1956 Ford for only $56 per month, caught the attention of senior management. Robert McNamara, then vice president of Ford Division, summoned him to Detroit. Once there, Iacoccas sales savvy soon helped him lap everyone else on the executive fast track. In 1960, Ford chairman Henry Ford II promoted him to Vice President and General Manager of the Ford Division.
After a number of presentations to Ford board members, the first prototype 1962 Mustang I was produced. It was a mid-engine two-seat roadster, named after the legendary World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane. On October 7th 1962, race driver Dan Gurney drove the Mustang I prototype over the U. S. Grand Prix course at Watkins Glen, New York.
Ford also leaked information to some major publications. In early March, the Detroit Free Press received an anonymous tip that Walter Buhl Ford II, nephew of chairman Henry Ford II, was seen driving a prototype Mustang convertible to a luncheon in downtown Detroit. Photos soon appeared in the newspaper, as well as in Time and Newsweek.
Iacocca had long thought that putting a back seat in a sports car would be a great idea. He reasoned that a well-styled, fun-to-drive compact car would appeal to Americas growing number of Baby Boomers.
Ford actually previewed the showroom model Mustang to a continuous flow of automotive reporters and buff book writers beginning in January 1964. Product information and photos provided by Ford were put under an embargo, meaning reporters agreed not to reveal full details until the official public introduction.
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