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Mustang Could Have Been Called Torino, Used ‘Imported from Detroit’ Tagline

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Ford 1964 1/2 Mustang orange red exterior

Ford 1964 1/2 Mustang exterior
Photo:Wikimedia Commons

Ford hasn’t ever really needed a memorable tag-line to affix to its Mustang: it’s been a legend since its debut in 1964 atop the Empire State Building, so it’s always just kind of sold itself. Look no further than the new 2015 Mustang, which has been selling like gangbusters without so much as a catchy jingle.

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However, Automotive News reports that things could have been drastically different. According to David Maraniss, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, the Ford Mustang was almost originally marketed with a familiar refrain: “Imported from Detroit.” Yes, the same tagline that Chrysler wound up using more than 45 years later.

It’s also revealed in Maraniss’ book that the Mustang was very nearly called the Torino. The idea, apparently was that an Italian name paired with the tagline would suggest that the vehicle was an Italian road car manufactured in the United States. It was apparently dropped because, of all things, Henry Ford II was rumored to be dating an Italian divorcee named Cristina Vettore Austin. This would have created something like bad publicity, so the Torino became the Mustang, and the rest is history.

One has to wonder though: if the Mustang had been called the Torino, would the Mustang GT be the Grand Torino? And, if so, would its advertisements have eventually featured Clint Eastwood telling other sports cars to get off his lawn?

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News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)