Gale Halderman, a man known to classic car historians as the artist who sketched the original Ford Mustang, died Wednesday in the hospital at age 87 after suffering from liver cancer.
"Sad news for Mustang fans everywhere," said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford museum. "Lee Iacocca will always be remembered as the father of the Mustang, but he was merely the driving force behind a team of talented designers, engineers, and marketers — with Mr. Halderman prominent among them."
Halderman is credited with proposing the long scoop on the Mustang's side, Anderson said. "Some 55 years later, that scoop is still a defining feature on the car. I'm glad to know that Mr. Halderman's contributions were recognized and celebrated by Mustang fans over the years. He knew how much the car meant to owners and enthusiasts."
The "iconic Mustang design sold more than 8 million units, inspired six model generations of design and has been continuously built for more than 50 years," wrote Tom Stahler for journal.classiccars.com.
"Most people consider the late Lee Iacocca as 'The Father of the Mustang.' However, Iacocca wasn’t the man who put the pencil to the paper. Gale Halderman, however, remained in the background," Stahler wrote.
Jimmy Dinsmore, author of "Mustang by Design: Gale Halderman and the Creation of Ford’s Iconic Pony Car," and spokesman for the Halderman family, described to the Dayton Daily News a humble man who "touched the heart of every Mustang enthusiast out there."
"As great of a designer as he was, he was an even better human being," Dinsmore told the Dayton Daily News.
"The most striking thing about the 40-year Ford employee was Halderman’s humility. For many years, Halderman did not receive much attention for being the Mustang’s original designer, preferring to let others take the credit," according to the Dayton Daily News.