Can you describe how you want your car of the future to look? Probably not? But given the chance to inspect a variety of “styling X-cars” (X for experimental), you can say pretty clearly what you like or don’t like about each design. This “pulse-taking’ is one of the purposes served by cars such as the Allegro, Cougar II and Mustang II – three of many experimental designs from the studios of the styling office of Ford Motor Company. These studies in styling are viewed by millions of persons every year, providing valuable information to stylists, engineers, product planners and other Company executives who must look ahead several years in making decisions for production. The car in your future from Ford Motor Company, as a result, might well resemble one of the styling X-cars.
Described as “a car of the future that could be built today,” the Allegro was developed by advanced stylists and engineers as a study in new design features and unique mechanical devices. The exterior is distinguished by a long hood with the grille extending forward of the headlights, a compact passenger compartment and a “fastback” roofline. Inside, the Allegro contains refinements of control features introduced on the original Mustang experimental sports car—and adds some new ones of its own. It incorporates further advances in adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, fixed seats and retractable seat belts. Most prominent of its pioneering features is an entirely new concept in driver comfort—a unique cantilevered-arm steering wheel with a memory unit. Dimensions of the Allegro are such that it could accommodate four passengers by use of rear floor space for minimal searing. The wheelbase is 99 inches; over-all length, 169.5 inches; over-all height, 49.6 inches; over-all width, 63.6 inches.
The steering wheel is mounted on a horizontal arm which pivots on the centrally-mounted steering column. Button controls allow the driver to move the wheel to the most comfortable position.
Buttons on the column arm power-adjust foot pedals forward or backward. This mechanism, which accommodates drivers of various sizes, is related to the fixed seat design, an innovation that contributes to rigidity and allows for a reduction in over-all height.
A two-passenger GT car, the Cougar II has a fastback roof, concealed “pop-up” headlamps and a businesslike, fully instrumented interior. (GT, or Gran Turismo, is a term usually applied to two-seat coupes designed for ultra-fast highway travel.) Exterior design is simple, yet unique, and intended for total performance. The Cougar II, powered by a 260 cu. in. high-performance V-8 engine, could be engineered to attain speeds in the 170 miles-an-hour range. This styling X-car has a 90-inch wheelbase. Over-all length is 167.8 inches; over-all height is 47.8 inches; over-all width is 66.6 inches; tread width is 50.5 inches in front and 52 inches in the rear. The interior of the Cougar II has an all-black color scheme with two individually adjustable bucket seats, a console-mounted four-speed gear shift lever and a straight-line array of gauges on the instrument panel. The wood and aluminum steering wheel telescopes fore and aft with three inches of adjustment.
By means of a new window-lift mechanism, occupants may raise or lower instantly the curved side glass to any position. A single handle with a spring-loaded tab can be moved up or down a ratcheted track in the door panel. When the tab is released, the window is locked.
The Cougar ll’s pop-up headlamps are operated by small individual electric motors. At the push of a button, cover plates pivot forward and down, and the headlamps swing into place. Raising or lowering the headlamps takes less than three seconds.
When interior air pressure exceeds 15 pounds per square inch, a relief panel across the rear of the passenger compartment opens automatically. This device is necessary because of possible extreme pressure against the backlight (rear window) at high speeds.
Inspired by the original Mustang experimental sports car, the Mustang II is a sporty, personal vehicle aimed at the growing “fun-to-drive” market. In auto buff lingo, Mustang ll is a two-plus-two, meaning it is designed to accommodate comfortably two front-seat passengers plus two more passengers in a minimal rear seat area. The model is capable of outstanding performance from its front-mounted, 289 cu. in. V-8 engine with a four-Venturi carburetor. The Mustang II is 186.6 inches long on a 108-inch wheelbase. Over-all width is 68.2 inches, over-all height 48.4 inches. The hardtop roof, a refinement of the Thunderbird roof design, is detachable.
The two- plus-two- interior has thin-shell bucket seats front and rear. Individual dial-shaped gauges are deeply recessed in the padded instrument panel.