NEW YORK (WWJ) – Nearly fifty years after they did it the first time, Ford is preparing to return its Mustang to a place where no other car has ever been: the top of the Empire State Building.
VIDEO: Ford produced video on Empire State Building project.
The Mustang will sit perched on the 86th floor observation deck, all day Wednesday and Thursday, celebrating the vehicle’s 50th birthday on Thursday. This also repeats a stunt that Ford did with the first-generation Mustang back in 1965.
“It’s the only car to be on top of the Empire State Building,” says Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs. “To do it again, not only emphasizes our history, but the modern version of that vehicle.”
Hinrichs says while the 65 Mustang was cut into two pieces, this vehicle was cut into five.
“The vehicle that’s being used for this was actually planned to be used for that,” says Hinrichs. “It’s an early prototype convertible that’s been modified so it can be assembled and disassembled in order to be displayed on the Empire State Building.”
At 2 a.m., crates containing those pieces will be taken up toward the top in a freight elevator, then carefully transferred to a smaller, passenger elevator.
“The observation deck is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., leaving our crew of six with only a six-hour window to get everything out onto the deck and get the car assembled,” said Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak. “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.”
Ford is working with on the project with supplier DST. Crews from DST helped them with the original project back in 1965.
“When our engineers sat down with the DST team to start plotting this out in mid-February, everyone quickly realized that some old-school craftsmanship would be needed to successfully place this car more than 1,000 feet above the crowded streets of Manhattan,” said George Samulski, manager, Ford North America design fabrication. “The deck is too high to reach with a portable crane from the street, and the spire that towers more than 400 feet above that narrow deck makes helicopter delivery impossible.”
Crews for Ford and DST visited the Empire State Building earlier this year to take careful measurements. They were also assisted by people like retired technician Claude Cochran, who was involved in the 1965 Mustang project.
“The only real problem we had in 1965 was the steering wheel,” said Cochran. “When we tried to roll the middle section of the car with the windshield removed into the elevator, the top of the wheel stuck out a bit too far through the door, so we had to tip the cart a bit to get it in.”
The event coincides with the New York Auto Show, making it a great opportunity for Ford to get publicity for the all new 2015 version of the Mustang, which comes out in the fall.
“It helps recognize and celebrate this American icon–the Mustang–in ways that are unique to America.”
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