When Ford displayed the first Mustang 50 years ago on top of the Empire State Building, it tapped the services of longtime supplier DST Industries to make the feat possible. Back in October 1965, a crew from DST, including retired technician Claude Cochran, sectioned a Mustang convertible to be able to be fit into the elevators of the building.
Around 50 years to the future, Ford eyeed to replicate the same stunt, this time displaying a new 2015 Mustang convertible on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building.
To achieve the feat, Ford once again turned to DST for assistance. Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer, remarked that as they have taken the new Mustang to new heights of technology and refinement, they also took it to new heights literally for its 50th anniversary celebration.
He remarked that while the all-new Mustang is more advanced than ever before, physical limitations demand old-school techniques to get a job done, referring to the task of taking the vehicle to the deck.
George Samulski, a manager at Ford North America design fabrication, said that when engineers met with the DST team to plot the feat in mid-February, they realized that some old-school craftsmanship would be needed to bring this car “more than 1,000 feet above the crowded streets of Manhattan.”
He noted that the deck is too high for a portable crane and the building’s spire makes helicopter delivery impossible. The carmaker’s engineering team went to New York to measure all of the elevators and doors, and then created a scale model of the new Mustang and started drawing lines to represent where the car should be cut.
Cochran remarked that back in 1965, their only real problem was the steering wheel. To prepare for the 2014 event, the team from DST worked on two early prototype Mustang convertible body shells.
The 2015 Ford Mustang that was displayed on the deck has already been stripped down and the surface cleaned up before it was sectioned and painted.
DST’s metal fabricators used the second body to determine where to make the cuts and to fit a custom-built tubular steel sub-frame to hold all the sections together. Custom rolling carts and wooden crates have been made for each section.