Somebody call out the Air Force. Oh, wait, that’s not King Kong but a Ford Mustang scaling the heights of the Empire State Building.
Repeating a stunt first tried a full 50 years ago to celebrate the launch of the original ’64-1/2 Mustang, Ford plans to put one of the new 2015 Mustangs on display on the 86th floor observation deck of the city’s iconic skyscraper next month.
But as with King Kong, the Mustang will have to be sliced down to size to get up there – with or without Fay Wray in the driver’s seat.
Seems that unlike today’s high-rise towers which seem to make provisions for all sorts of marketing opportunities, the architects didn’t think to offer a way to bring something as big as a car up to the top of the Empire State Building. And while the 1,454-foot spire atop the skyscraper was original intended to allow dirigible passengers to disembark in Midtown Manhattan, it makes it impossible to carry a car up by helicopter.
So, the 2015 Mustang will have to get up to the 86th floor the same way the original pony car did 50 years ago – being carved up into three separate pieces small enough to squeeze inside the express elevator to the Observation Deck.
“Like all good craftsmen, our team is measuring twice and cutting once to make sure we can get this Mustang up in the elevators,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “Like the team that did this in 1965, the current crew visited the Empire State Building before starting and took careful measurements of its new elevators and doors before cutting up the car.”
Complicating the task is the fact that the new Mustang is a full seven inches longer and four inches wider than the original.
Making it even more of a challenge, the display team will have to uncrate and load up fast, with just six hours to reassemble the three pieces into a complete car before the Mustang convertible goes on display at 8 a.m. on the morning of April 16. It will be up there barely two days, the publicity stunt wrapping up at 2 a.m. on the 18th.
(Mustang v the world. Click Hereto check out how the 2015 pony car is going global.)
Ford has a lot riding on the new 2015 Mustang, which has to regain momentum lost by its aging predecessor. For the first time in decades, the Ford pony car has been lagging behind its Chevrolet Camaro rival.
The Detroit maker has been working hard to ensure a high-profile launch. The 2015 makeover – the first mainstream Mustang to get an independent rear suspension – was unveiled during a global, multi-city launch late last year and has had a series of follow-up events to keep it in the public eye since then. Ford has been partnering up to increase visibility, even unveiling a line-up of new Mustang pinball machines during the recent Chicago Auto Show.
(Click Here to check out the new Stern Mustang pinball machines.)
The new Empire State Building stunt overlaps the debut of the original Mustang which got a splashy TV ad campaign send-off on April 16, 1964, followed by its public debut the next day at the New York World’s Fair.
But Ford can only dream of repeating the original car’s success. A unique offering at a time when Detroit metal was offered in big, bigger and biggest flavors, the ’64-1/2 Mustang was a refreshing alternative that generated 22,000 sales on its very first day on the market and 418,000 sales that first year.
Last year, Ford sold just 77,186 of its pony cars, down 7% from 2012 and about 4% behind Camaro at 80,567 – which also saw a 4.5% year-over-year decline. The one domestic model to gain ground in 2013 was the Dodge Challenger, up 19.3%, at 51,462.
(Muscling up in Motown. Click Hereto check out the later pony cars and other performance machines.)