Design

A unique challenge: How Ford's design team updated the Mustang Mach 1 logo for 2021

Ford has redesigned the Mach 1 logo for the 2021 Mustang.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic vehicles ever made. It's 100-percent American muscle with design lines that are instantly recognizable even as the car evolves from generation to generation. The logo of the Mustang Mach 1 is in keeping with that theme. Generations of Americans know that branding as the model that gave them hours of pleasure behind the wheel.

When Ford decided to bring back the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year, Dave Mahoney, Ford design manager, and his team of graphic designers were tasked with modernizing the classic Mach 1 logo.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 logo

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

They didn't stare at photos of track days or the mountains or cityscapes or history to find inspiration for the change. They went down the hallway.

Mahoney and his team visited the designers working on the interior and exterior of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. These designers were writing a new chapter while balancing the expectations of the past with the possibilities of the future.

"From a brand standpoint, that vintage Mach 1 logo has such a classic look, there was a lot that we didn't want to lose," said Mahoney. "The unique letters, the outline – it was important to keep those features. What we did do is make it more modern, which really suits the new car."

The logo was changed to include an updated, bolder sans-serif font in order to achieve a more modern look. According to Ford, "The nod to the past comes largely in the form of the playful letter styling, which includes the easily identifiable down-sized lowercase 'h'."

"When a nameplate like a Mach 1 comes back, you need to play up the heritage, but we didn't want this to be a retro badge," said Dean Carbis, Ford chief designer. "We wanted it to be modern, while still calling back to the original. I think the team nailed it."

You can see the updated logo throughout the exterior and interior of the new car including on the hood stripe, front fenders and rear appliqué, on the strut tower brace under the hood, as well as inside on the door sills, digital instrument cluster and center stack touch screen during vehicle startup. An etched dash badge shows the new logo along with every vehicle's unique identification number.

The limited-edition 2021 Mustang Mach 1 will arrive in U.S. and Canadian Ford dealerships next spring.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Ford Ranger is the company's midsize truck option.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Before there was the modern midsize Ford Ranger, there was the Ford F-100 and F-250 Ranger. It debuted as an option name on the fourth-generation F-Series. That first variant, a name given to models with bucket seats in 1965 and 1966, featured a curtain over the gas tank, which was located behind the seats in the cab. Fancy!

Before Ford even know if the bucket seats were a success, they already had bigger ideas for the Ranger name. In 1965, Ranger received its own place in a larger document requesting approval for the name of the a new member of the Bronco family. In the brief, prepared for members of the Ford Engineering and Product Planning Committee on August 9, 1965, Ford executives learned of the proposed details for the 1967 F-Series Ranger - details that would make it an upgraded version rather than just a bucket seat model.

In its archives, Ford has a copy of the memo that approved the Ranger name for use and shows the other options the company considered.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

It was proposed that the '67 F-Series Ranger would have a chrome front bumper, bright grille, bright headlamp doors, and bright reveal moulding. On the sides there would be bright rocker and wheel opening moulding, bright hub caps, bright ornament, and bright drop moulding. Details at the rear would continue the trend. There, Ford put bright backlite moulding, bright taillight moulding and tailgate handle, and bright tail light bezels.

Pleated vinyl seat trim, matching door trim panels, bright headlining moulding, custom instrument cluster, cigar lighter, horn ring, instrument panel moulding and plaque, and carpet would be unique in the cabin.

The nomenclature and trim level were approved for the fifth-generation F-100/F-250 and the rest, they say, is history.

The 1975 Ford F-150 Ranger XLT trim level added a level of refinement to the workman's truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Before you get too hung up on thinking about how far Ford has come since then, think about what might have been. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker considered 10 other names for the Ranger as part the trim level's development process, which is documented in the brief. Scroll down to see the full list, including one name that currently is taken by a different Ford vehicle.

Centurian

Ford didn't use Centurian but Buick did, albeit for a brief period. From 1971 to 1973, the Buick Centurian sat between the LeSabre and Electra in the lineup. Before that, Buick used the name on a concept car that was presented at the 1956 General Motors Motorama. That model now resides at the Sloan Museum, which is part of the Flint Cultural Center in Flint, Michigan.

Explorer

2020 Ford Explorer Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford passed on the Explorer name for its truck, but the Explorer would still become a part of the Ford family. The Ford Explorer debuted in 1991 as a replacement for the two-door Bronco II. It's currently one of the best-selling SUVs in the country.

Constellation

So far, no automaker has used the word constellation on a car, truck, van, or SUV. The closest may be the word subaru, which is the Japanese word for Pleiades, the name of a small cluster of stars northwest of the constellation Taurus. The Subaru brand logo has six stars in it - one for each of the stars in the Pleiades cluster.

Highlander

2020 Toyota Highlander

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Well, we all know who ended up with the Highlander name. The popular Toyota Highlander three-row SUV is one of the best-selling SUVs currently available for sale. It's been a top choice for decades now, with a long list of family-friendly features. Toyota completely redesigned the model for the 2020 model year.

Coronado

The Coronado name sure gets around. Well, it used to. These days, most of the brands it was linked to in the early and mid-1900s are defunct. Chrysler used to use the term to describe mid-year cars that came out in the spring with refinements to drive sales, halfway through a model year.

The Plymouth Coronado was a run of extended wheelbase eight-passenger sedans made in Belgium. They were built using the body of the Plymouth Belvedere with the middle cut open and extended to seat eight.

DeSote used the Coronado name to denote a trim level on its 1954 Firedome and 1955 Fireflite cars.

Plymouth Valiant cars were sold with Coronado branding for years in South America and Australia.

Diplomat

1978 Dodge Diplomat

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Dodge originally employed it on a two-door hardtop model from 1950 to 1954. From 1946 to 1961, DeSoto used the name on models it exported. In the mid 70s, the Royal Monaco was available in a Diplomat trim level.

From 1977 to 1989 the Dodge Diplomat used the name that was rejected by the Ford team. It was a rebadged version of the Plymouth Gran Fury. The Gran Fury became popular as a police car while the Diplomat preferred to live as an upmarket alternative to the Dodge Aspen.

Gran Luxe

Gran luxe roughly translates to big luxury. Perhaps somewhat shockingly, with all the Gran Sport, Gran Turismo, and Gran Coupe models that have come and gone over the years, Gran Luxe has never made it onto a vehicle. It does feel a bit like Maserati would be the natural choice for its home now through.

Sovereign

The Sovereign name was used by Daimler for rebadged Jaguars from 1966 to 1983. Daimler Sovereigns were built from various generations of the Jaguar XJ and was available in a variety of body styles.

Regal

2018 Buick Regal

Photo courtesy of Buick

Ah yes, the Buick Regal. The Regal was recently discontinued by Buick in North America but up until the late 2010s it was a formidable choice for Baby Boomers looking for a comfortable ride. The Regal nameplate was first introduced by Buick in 1973. The Regal lives on in China where it recently underwent a mid-cycle update.

Westerner

Over the years, the Westerner name has been given to a few models. The Nash Metropolitan Westerner was displayed at auto shows across the western U.S. in 1961 and 1962 as a show car. It features a Palomino Beige Pearlescent paint job and California saddle leather upholstery.

For the 1967 model year, AMC sold a number of specialty wagons that were designed to appeal to specific parts of the country where they were sold. The limited edition luxury AMC Rambler Rebel Westerner featured a Frost White paint job, wood plank body side inserts and tailgate, a "Pony Express" medallion, and Stallion Brown and White Antelope vinyl upholstery that was paired with "richly tooled" leather on the seats and door panels. Buyers could only purchase theirs from dealerships west of the Mississippi River.

F-100/250 Ranger Nomenclature Alternatives

Exhibit II of the document shown at the top of this article reveals a list of the alternate names considered for the Ranger.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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Canoosa Events is organizing luxury multi-day road rallies.

Photo by leekris/Getty Images

Canossa Events, a European luxury automotive touring provider, expanded to North America last year. This year, the company is launching several private, small group excursions on the East and West Coast of the U.S.

Beginning this autumn, guests of the tours will indulge in picturesque drives, one-of-a-kind gastronomy experiences, and luxury accommodations all curated with an eye toward beauty, elegance, taste and personalized service.

Highway 1 near Big Sur California's Highway 1 is a world famous grand touring destination. Photo by Getty Images

"We have longed to bring Canossa's version of la dolce vita to North America," says Canossa's Founder, Luigi Orlandini. "And in this current climate, we have the opportunity to deliver our experiences to our fans who are unable to leave North America. With Canossa Events North America, we will safely celebrate the freedom to drive, indulge in culinary delights, and soak in the beautiful sceneries among old and new friends."

The white glove service extends to the entire event and includes strict safety and social distancing guileless to "deliver a carefree and pleasant experience for guests".

Canossa Events North America is currently accepting reservations for its Fall Rallye New England, and will soon announce additional excursions, including:

  • Grand Tour of California - This excursion will highlight the coastal byways, wine country and farm-to-fork culture of California's Central Coast.
  • Rallye of Enchantment - Attendees will xplore some of America's most iconic landscapes of New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona and Utah.

The Fall Rallye lasts four days and three nights. It's limited to 25 cars and comes with a $9,900 price tag that is based on double occupancy. The event includes nights at New England's heralded Cliff House Maine hotel.

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