Original Ford Mustang Designer Gale Halderman Dies at Age 87

He passed away on April 29—also known as “429 Day” by Mustang enthusiasts for referencing the Boss 429.

byChris Teague|
Original Ford Mustang Designer Gale Halderman Dies at Age 87

Gale Halderman, the original creator of the design that would eventually become the very first Ford Mustang has died at the age of 87 years old. The famed designer lost his battle with cancer at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday, April 29, which is coincidentally dubbed as "429 Day" by Mustang enthusiasts for referencing the Boss 429 pony car. 

In 1962, Ford held a competition among its designers to drum up ideas for a new sports car, and it was his sketch that won the design contest that would change his life. After the inception of the Mustang, Halderman continued to be instrumental in the evolution of the car—all the way from sketching lines on paper pads to clay models to finally the production car in 1964. It goes without saying that Halderman is responsible for designing one of the biggest automotive icons the world has ever seen.

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“To have lived 87 years and to have designed something that is part of pop culture and automotive history, he had such an impact,” Jimmy Dinsmore, author of Mustang by Design: Gale Halderman and the Creation of Ford’s Iconic Pony Car, told the Dayton Daily News. 

His 40-year career at Ford is the stuff of legend. After the car's debut, he remained head of the Mustang design team through the early 1970s and made a return to the group to helm the Fox-Body team in 1979. His time with Ford Motor Company also included a stint as a design manager at the Lincoln-Mercury design studio, where he led the team that penned the Lincoln Mark VII and VIII before he retired in 1994.

After retiring, he converted a barn on his Tipp City, Ohio farm into a museum, where he held events and showed off several of the cars he worked on during his career. Halderman is survived by his three daughters, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. His wife of 60 years passed away in 2013. 

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