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How Ford Put a 1966 Mustang Atop the World’s Tallest Building

Two icons of modern America will come together again when the latest generation of Ford’s famous Pony car goes on display on the building’s 86th floor observatory in April.

The display, which will replicate a similar feat when Ford unveiled the 1965 prototype convertible model in the same location, will coincide with the car’s 50th anniversary. On April 16, 1964, the original Ford Mustang set pulses racing for the first time when it was revealed at the new York World’s fair and kickstarted a motoring revolution.

“New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, and it’s the place where the Ford Mustang story began 50 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford chief operating officer. “We’re thrilled to be visiting the architectural landmark that has been the heart of the Manhattan skyline for 83 years with the newest generation of the car that is the soul of Ford Motor Company.”

Thanks to the Empire State Building’s phenomenal height of 1,454 feet (443 meters) there isn’t a portable crane in the world capable of lifting a car onto the 86th floor. Likewise, because of the building’s spire, a delivery by helicopter is similarly impossible, meaning that the only way to get a car to the top of the building is to use the elevators.

And because the average car, never mind a Mustang, is much bigger than the average elevator, some careful cutting will be required.

“Like all good craftsmen, our team is measuring twice and cutting once to make sure we can get this Mustang up in the elevators,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “Like the team that did this in 1965, the current crew visited the Empire State Building before starting and took careful measurements of its new elevators and doors before cutting up the car.”

And even though Ford has managed this once before, the 1965 car was seven inches (18cm) shorter and four inches (10cm) narrower than the new model. And even if everything goes to plan, Ford’s technicians will only have six hours to put the car back together again before it goes on public display.

Visitors to the Empire State Building observation deck can see the new Mustang convertible for 54 hours from 8 AM to 2 AM, April 16-17.

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