Cars

50 Years of the Ford Mustang

epa04168914 A fully assembled 2015 Mustang convertible is seen on display after a unveiling to honor 50 years of the Ford Mustang at a press event on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building as part of the New York International Auto Show in New York City, New York, USA, 16 April 2014. The New York International Auto Show runs from 18 April to 27 April 2014. EPA/JASON SZENES
A fully assembled 2015 Mustang convertible is seen on display after an unveiling to honor 50 years of the Ford Mustang at a press event on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building.Jason Szenes/EPA

When one of America’s most iconic cars turned 50 this week, the Ford Motor Company decided to celebrate the milestone King Kong-style.

Ford honored five decades of the Mustang by bringing a Triple Yellow 2015 Ford Mustang convertible to the top of the Empire State Building. A team of engineers spent six weeks preparing to assemble the convertible on the New York landmark’s 86th floor observation deck.

This isn’t the first time a Ford Mustang has reached the top of the Empire State Building (eat your heart out, Kong!) In 1965, a crew from longtime Ford supplier DST Industries helped assemble a Mustang convertible. Ford partnered with DST again to re-create the 1965 event.

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Timing is everything in a publicity event like this one, and the Ford and DST teams had very limited windows to assemble the car. The Empire State Building’s observation deck operates from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., which left the crew a six-hour window while the deck was vacant to re-build the car.

Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak said in a press release, “Before we shipped the crates to New York, the crew spent several days practicing the entire assembly process – timing everything down to the minute – much like a NASCAR or Formula One pit crew.”

Like the project wasn’t complicated enough, the crew had to consider the fact that the Mustang’s dimensions have expanded since 1965, while the elevator doors at the Empire State Building remained the same. The DST team worked with two early prototype Mustang convertible body shells, one to make determine where to cut the car, and the other that ultimately made the journey to New York. Ford released a time-lapse video of the complicated assembly process.

Today is the last day the public will get to see the 2015 Mustang convertible on the Empire State Building’s observation deck. After the public goes home, the crews will once again take the car apart before the crowds return at 8 a.m.

In addition to taking the Mustang to new heights in New York, Ford will also release a 50 Year Limited Edition model later in the fall. Only 1,964 limited edition Mustangs – a tribute to the car’s first year – will be built.

The limited edition is based on the 2015 Mustang GT, and will come in two color choices, Wimbledon White or Kona Blue. It will also be available in either six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

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