History of the Mustang’s true independent rear suspension

By: Duane Carling


In 1962 Lee Iacocca wanted a car that would appeal to the new demographic known as The Baby boomers.  A 2 seat sports car was produced in record the, and Lee named it Mustang.  As part of that effort a group headed by Klaus Arning developed a first of its kind computer program that could plot the movement of a car’s suspension in 3 dimensions and used it to give the Mustang concept a true independent rear suspension (I.R.S.), a first for Ford.

Known as Program 1493, it was next used on a car Henry Ford II brought over from England, specifically to beat Ferrari at Le Mans.  First known as the Lola GT, it became the Ford GT and beat Ferrari 4 years in a row.

d-shelbyIacocca turned the 2 seat concept into a sporty 4 seat 2+2, kept the Mustang name, and it became the best selling new car in history.  Program 1493 developed a bolt in IRS for the new car.  It was tested at Shelby American by Ken Miles, assisted by a teen aged Jim Marietta, but never put into production.

When I heard Jim Marietta and some of the original Shelby guys, known as THE ORIGINAL VENICE CREW, or O.V.C., were going to build a race car, I asked if they would like to use some of the ORIGINAL I.R.S. parts, which I had spent 20 or so years tracking down. Everything came together, we were guests of Ford on the front row at Monterey (98-I) and we won our first race at the Shelby & Ford Nationals last summer in Tulsa.


You can now buy a perfected IRS for your early model Mustang, 64 to 73, at our web site www.mustangirs.com. Check the link below for the full story.